Bloggers challenge and democratise conventional forms of communication: ‘in a democracy everybody is a journalist’ according to Ian Hargreaves of Cardiff University. (McKay, 2010) The blogosphere is a undeniably the most progressive form of autonomous production (McKay, 2010) subsequently resulting in bloggers who are becoming exceedingly extrusive within the business of fashion. Their influence is so potent and respected by some that people are beginning to question the significance of fashion editors. When considering this debate several elements must be taken into account: ‘investments, accessibility; frequency of blog posts, magazine issues and the personal touch.’ (Hoffmann and Coste-Mani??r, n.d)
As a result of the development of the internet, bloggers are considered the more accessible option when it comes down to the receptiveness of each given media channel. A blog relies on the presence of an internet connection which provides us with the ability to access any blog for free, at any time of day, in contrast to printed magazines which are remain quite limited in respect of the fact magazines are usually published monthly, quarterly or bi-annually.
”It’s difficult because magazines are a kind of one-size-fits-all product, and the audience is larger, with differing interests. You have to write something that tries to satisfy all of [your readers] or many of them, whereas a blog is very self-selecting.” A quote from Chris Anderson editor and chief of Wired magazine. (Banks, 2008) Magazines provide a varying array of professional content but lose status in conjunction with a lack of impartial opinion on topics. This consequence derives from a magazines dependence on the companies they advertise. (Hoffmann and Coste-Mani??r, n.d) A disparity in terms of content can be established with reference to the blogoshere; according to social media guru Sascha from (ATF- http://instagram.com/allthingsfiery_atf) blogs encompass different ramifications of life: ‘I believe it’s because the page encompasses different ramifications of life. From fashion, humour, quotes, spirituality, celebrity gossip to interior decor.’
Rocamora (n.d) states in Fashion Media Past and Present: ‘editorial pages have to feature the brands that have earned titles of income by advertising in their pages.’ Although the content of most fashion blogs is completely unique; there are still an abundance of independent bloggers generate income through advertising; this varies in form although banner ads are usually the advertising source that becomes adopted by the masses. Such advertisements remain in a state of infancy, leaving bloggers with more control over the content of their websites however; Holtz and Demopoulos (2006) argue that advertisements contribute to the diminishment of a bloggers worth, especially within corporate blogs. Despite this deeming unprofessional to some; it could be argued that advertisements professionalize the look of a blog as it reflects the characteristics of a trusted newspaper or periodical. (Holtz and Demopoulos, 2006)
Whilst magazine editors remain reserved, providing readers with a brief insight into their busy, captivating lifestyles within the editors letter; bloggers deliver every day providing readers with personal opinion in relation to fashion, personal experiences and user-generated recommendations. Blogs provide ‘valuable experience for the modern-day consumer’, (Hoffmann and Coste-Mani??r, n.d) which is a supplementary part in allowing the reader to forge a personal connection that cannot be obtained with someone as highly ranked as an editor.
However, it is not to say that magazines aren’t influencing people online. In a literature review that discusses the role of social media in contemporary marketing, Isman Tanuri (2009) presents a inventive, well-proposed argument, referring to the recent advancement of social media. Tanuri concludes. that traditional ways of doing business are no longer fitting to reflect the development and influence of individuals with regards to social media. As the influence of the consumer is heightened, compelled by their opinionated views on brands and products, businesses are obligated to restructure their marketing and communication strategies. This is furthered by the development of digital magazines. Social media is described by Solis (2007 cited in Tanuri, 2009) as the ‘shift in how people discover, read and share news, information and content’. Upon realising this change, magazines are forced to actively invest in their websites, rather than using them as digital subscription forms. ‘Glamour created their own blogger network; Elle hired the editor of an influential blog and the former online home to Vogue and W was a big part of propelling the reigning influential fashion blog the Sartorialist to where it is now.’ (Anon, 2013) While offline and online worlds begin to merge with the magazine industry, the fact that one blogger, ‘no matter what their credentials, age or status can influence as many people as the entire online staff for a global magazine such as VOGUE can’t be ignored.’ (Anon, (2013)
Whilst magazines remain tied by the constraints of copywriters or editors of the magazines, (Hoffmann and Coste-Mani??r, n.d) fashion bloggers are considered the more independent option, in terms of content. ‘The blogosphere is a hypertextual space’ allowing readers to comment on articles thus encouraging the author to comment which help establish a personal connection. ‘Hypertextuality has come to commonly refer to the electronic linking of a wide range of written texts and images, bought together in a constantly shifting configuration of networks’ (Bartlett, Cole and Rocamora, n.d) Fashion magazines are independent publications who refrain from involving other publications within their network ‘clearly implying their independence from the rest of print publications and status as one authorative fashion source’. (Hanusch, 2013) In contrast to this, the content of a fashion blog encourages a two-way communication channel between bloggers and readers and ‘can be measured by the presence of e.g trackback and comment functions.’ (Bargiela-Chiappini, Nickerson and Planken, 2007) The use of the blogroll feature helps to broaden a bloggers social network whilst hyperlinks and hypertext, act as a filter to other blogs and mainstream media. ‘A reader links to this post and references it; increasing the visibility of your blog in search engines allowing for random discovery.’ (Bargiela-Chiappini, Nickerson and Planken, 2007) This ‘multilayered’ text challenges ‘traditional, modes of engagement with the printed text, for hypertext is non-linear’.
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