Thursday 27 February 2014

The Future of Blogging, The Future of Us

As featured in some of my previous posts, the one thing which seems to terrify me to my depths and excite me simultaneously, is the future.

2014 has already been full of the most insane ups and downs, and in these past few weeks I've found that my trepidation has actually been pushed aside, and I have been more excited about things that I have been since it all began.

After blogging for just over a year, in the past month alone, my readership has increased by 82% since January. I feel like I have finally found my 'thing', and the unbelievably wonderful feedback I have been receiving has been humbling and awe-inspiring in equal measure.

I've become impassioned, motivated and constantly inspired by this rapidly-evolving industry and the networking, creating and progress is honestly addictive.

But still, I can't shake this little niggling fear.

Although things seem to be going pretty well, it feels as I'm almost stumbling blindly through this cyber wilderness, and by sheer chance happen to keep finding the gravel footpath beneath my feet.

In essence - I don't really know how I'm doing this or what I'm expected to do next, but I somehow seem to be kinda stumbling in the right direction.

And it wasn't until I attended a Social Careers talk at London Fashion Weekend, that I was inspired and enlightened, and suddenly all that I was so uncertain of before, came clear to me at last.


The talk was held in the Vodafone Lounge at Somerset House, and Charli and I had only come across it by chance. We took a seat in the front row, and as more and more people began to trickle in, we quickly realised that we'd secured pretty decent seats for one of the most highly anticipated talks of the day.

The talk was hosted by Abisola Omole, blogger at Abimarvel and founder of creative hub The Apartment. The guest speakers were Serena Guen, Editor-in-Chief of Suitcase Magazine and Shini Park, blogger at Park & Cube.

Once the talk began, I instantly wish I'd bought a notepad and pen, and in an attempt to share the inspiring words said, began to live-tweet as many quotes as I could.

Very quickly, Shini touched upon a subject that has always frustrated me about the blogging world.

Which I think was one of the most important things said all day.

The blogging world has become so massively popular, with millions of users creating their first blogs daily, and sometimes it seems that some of the more recent joiners are perhaps doing it for the wrong reasons. 

I know there's no such thing as 'right' and 'wrong' reasons to blog... but I find there is nothing more painfully obvious when you first read a blog, than a lack of heart. 

Regardless of the type of blog, it's instantly noticeable when a person is just kind of throwing words at a page without any real thought or opinion, and it just makes me wonder, if they don't care, why are they doing it?

And the unfortunate answer is mostly because people are starting to see becoming a blogger as a quick route to fame and fortune, attempting to emulate the success of established and recognised bloggers who have got to where they are now from years of hard work. I can unfortunately think of a few in particular that are absolutely shameless in their ploys for free gifts and invites and it's kinda disheartening to see. 

In my opinion, the purpose for anyone to start any type of blog should be an outlet for your passion, a space to speak freely and express your personality about things you want to say, your own little space to entirely mold and form your own little world.

Not to get a few freebies and some ill-attained bragging rights.

And I think with true heart comes personality, and with personality comes originality.

A little later on after the talk, I was entering Covent Garden Tube Station when I saw written on the board 'Today you are you, that is truer than true, there is no-one on earth, who is youer than you. - Dr Seuss'
And it just seemed so wonderfully, beautifully apt. 

In a world absolutely crammed full of blogs and bloggers, true originality can be hard to find, and sometimes not immediately obvious.

I've spent way too long in my time trying to figure out what are the distinguishing features of Scarphelia, if any, what makes me supposedly stand out against the next blog, or even what category this all fits under. But I've never really come to any conclusions.

And for me, then, it suddenly hit home.

Maybe that's where my sense of individuality comes from - the fact that you can't quite really sort of put what I do into a box.

I've tried my hand at beauty and fashion blogging, I've tried to narrow down my focus in an attempt to remain consistent, or conform to what other bloggers are doing, but I've never really felt like it's my 'thing' y'know.

Although my future is totally ambiguous to me now, I do know what I want to achieve.

I want to make changes, I want to make people think, to inspire people. I want to open minds, to be someone who to which others say: 'Because of you, I didn't give up'.

 And most importantly of all, I just want to write.

And the truly magical thing is that I do not appear to be alone in this. After passing to 100,000 hits mark and getting through to the finals of the UK Blog Awards, it seems that there are so many other wonderful people who relate and understand with exactly what I write about.

Things are changing.

Blogging is such a young, diverse and rapidly-evolving industry, that we as creators have the power to shape the future of it, through our own creations.

There are no boundaries or limits on where blogging might take us, and who knows what role in society a blogger will have in future generations. For now, still in the honeymoon stages of its inception, we are granted boundless creative freedom with our blogs, each of us to explore where we can take our own little worlds, and where these worlds will subsequently take us.

I always seemed to have it so stuck in my head that I was only going to be a 'successful' if I was a fashion or beauty blogger, because that is all that has happened so far, the only examples to seek guidance from.

But as the fashion and beauty blog market ever-expands and ever-saturates, with newbies facing a real struggle for recognition, it feels like the time could not be more perfect for something entirely different to emerge, something to make us reconsider this preconceived idea we have of the 'blogger'.

If there's one overarching truth that I took from the Social Careers class, is that the possibilities in blogging are truly endless. And to be successful at this point, you need to really push the boundaries on how creative you can get with that.

Today, female bloggers have become something of a positive role model for young girls, but I think in the not so distant future, it would be incredible to see multi-content bloggers, not only the tall pretty girls and the in-depth product reviewers, but those who can think and write and create, spreading positive and powerful messages, standing up there regarded with the same esteem and recognition as the others.

And my goal is to make that happen.

So, I might not not know exactly where I'm going, or how exactly I'm going to get there, but I know what I want to do.

I want to make a difference, to create a little world that makes people think. I want to seek out the unexpected extraordiniaries of the world, and share their tales for all to hear and learn from. I want to travel and discover, adventure and excite, to illuminate a whole new perspective on life and to make the most of every day spent alive. And I want to try and fill others with this same passion and enthusiasm that I sometimes feel is on the brim of overflowing from my very bones.

The world is changing.

And I for one, want to be a part of that change.


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