Friday, 17 March 2017

Getting Back into Blogging: The Power Of Influence

I guess I should reintroduce myself. I started Simple Sophie way back in 2011. In my first post I write

I've just got loads of things to say and write about that probably none of you will find vaguely interesting, but idc I just want to channel all the things buzzing round in my head into one place.”

And for the most part, this is still true. I worked on it for 3 years, developing into your average fashion and lifestyle blog which I cringeingly and regrettably acclaimed was “my little place on the internet”. A few things have changed though; I’ve now completed my Undergrad and Master’s degree, I’m now a veggie and living in Australia. I loved blogging and I loved the creative outlet it provided, which is what I said when people asked why I blogged. But then this persistent asking became a thing. People I knew started calling me Simple Sophie and reading into the title so far that they’d ask why I was Simple and if this was a reflection of my mentality (??!!?). But really I just enjoyed the alliteration. With all bloggers, there’s the awkward period where friends realise you’re doing well and doing something interesting but I felt there was also jealousy and people making a joke of me. During this I was coming into my second year at University and was really finding my feet in the whole coming of age period of my life. Therefore, I stopped, and told myself this was to focus on my studies.

Little did I know there was a multitude of reasons why my blog came to a halt. I was running out of ways to style a smock dress, I couldn’t afford to constantly be updating my wardrobe, I felt immense pressure to suck up to bloggers on line and felt the constant requirement of blog and self-promotion degraded the content and commitment I was putting in. I didn’t feel I could compete with those that were getting brand deals or consistently producing high quality photos. I didn’t have a photographer and I didn’t understand how orchestrated and meticulously planned so many of the bloggers I aspired to were. What I would come to learn is that a lot of bloggers are deceiving to succeed. Individuals in the fashion and lifestyle blogging industry are repeatedly and intrinsically falsifying their lives in order to curate their own brand and to increase and maintain customer and follower loyalty. We are constantly updated with consistent content that illustrates the image they wish to represent, whether this bares any similarities to their realities or not.  As Katie Oldham put it – these are people making a living off of making others envious.

I have seen a few click-baited titles acclaim  ~revealing the truth behind social media~. But in actual fact they were only affirming it. Affirming the lack of connection to reality and to the real world. This reality of social media we were told is that they choose the best photo of themselves on Instagram. And yes I agree this is still an issue we need to remind ourselves when comparing to others online; that person has spent months if not years perfecting that exact angle of pose so that her waist looks small and their smile is as natural as possible. But let’s not patronise ourselves here – we ALL choose our favourite photo of ourselves to expose to the public. This has been happening for hundreds of years. People of the 19th century would wear their best clothes and surround themselves with all their belongings and tell the artist to paint them favourably. So really, this great reveal is something we knew, but we clicked anyway at a chance of finding out what their secret was and perhaps how we could emulate it.

We are surrounded by so many hard working women who only use their voice to give updates on their favourite lipstick (they got paid to say this from a high end brand that you can’t afford unless you save up 4 months wages and they’ve got 500 that colour but that particular shade is great). Thus, coercing viewers to become mass consumers of needless products. As someone commented on a blogger’s new launch “I already have 50 highlighter palettes so I don’t need another one from you”..????

The movement of female voices I’m seeing and regrettably only just discovering, act as a direct reaction to the over exposure and saturation of the fashion blogging industry. These women have opinions and beliefs and experiences and have failed at things and have learnt things they want to share. The only thing they’re pushing us to buy into is their books and their articles and their values to educate and increase our awareness of certain issues. This rise of education sharing pushed me to accept how na├»ve and ignorant I had been to major issues that I really should have a say in. I knew I was a feminist but didn’t understand the true importance of what that meant. I distinctively remember a guy on my Master’s course using “feminist” as an insult and a way to wind me up; “you’re such a feminist”. He would tell me that feminism is just equality so I should say I believe in equality not feminism and I didn’t know enough or have the confidence to explain so I’d nod in agreement. Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie has spoken of this too, of the countless times men have asked her to "prove" situations she deemed sexist. (I'd recommend this article - it had me nodding with agreement and realising my own thoughts were others too)

I admit I have been ignorant to many of the issues that I see women of my age online speaking and campaigning about. I didn’t really know much about Trump before the women’s marches, and I didn’t realise how little I knew about black history before I watched 13th. In school I learnt about Henry the VIII, The Beatles and Christianity. I googled what POC meant the other day for goodness sake and am binge-ing on podcasts and The Pool articles to try and educate myself. Bjarke Ingles said in the Abstract design series on Netflix that “Naivety changes overtime and you start doing something else, you start seizing the moment”. And Bridget Minamore spoke of the importance to reflect and that we need to have a process where it’s okay for people to change their minds. These are points I wish to continue throughout the resurrection of this blog. I want to write about things I am learning and what Kylie famously said ~realising~. I want to add substance and to continue my love for writing, whether anyone reads this or not.

(Well done for getting this far; hopefully my tactic of illustrating this post with pictures of me in Australia has kept you going) 

I have been influenced by hundreds of people in my 22 years and most were a catalyst for chapters of change. I have been wanting to get back into writing and creating but felt like I had been away from my blog too long to reignite it. But my boyfriend turned to me the other day and said “Just do it”. So I’m pairing the topics of conversation I’m passionate about, as well as my growing digital design portfolio into one space (hopefully). Expect articles on topics that are shaping our millennial generation and things I am learning a long the way. I have spent the last couple of years studying social media and how we engage with these platforms and use them to self-brand so you can expect some of that too. I’ve also just sent my dissertation off for publication approval so you might be able to one day reference me in your University assignments lolss. Taking things back to the beginning, I want to use this space to write about things that are “buzzing round in my head” and that will hopefully resonate with some of you too, whether you're wanting to learn or be pointed in the direction of important influencers that are shaping our society for good. I'm also building this as a portfolio to journal my designs and work I have done freelancing. 

Okay that's it for now, but expect more rambles and Australia photos.

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