“Whether it’s Google or Apple or free software, we’ve got some fantastic competitors and it keeps us on our toes.” – Bill Gates
Bloggers are not unlike a small business or a start-up company, it's a career field that requires a leap of faith and belief in your own ideas. But what sets blogging apart is that, while yes, we are all small publications hoping to gain notoriety, it can be (and is most often times is) done one hundred percent alone — and leaping alone is scary.
Furthermore, in an industry that currently feels over saturated and marginalized, (where everyone and their mother is a blogger, but yet few are taken seriously), it can still feel isolating. Blogging is very much a singular practice, done behind a laptop screen from home — and while you may be speaking to thousands of readers, the act of creating and maintaining a blog can sometimes feel uneasy and sequestered.
So, while you should be analyzing the blogosphere competition to better yourself, you should also be using one another as friends, as confidants, as advisors, as photographers, as business partners, as social media acquaintances, as tech support, as digital designers, and most importantly, as a team. Other bloggers know the same feelings you may feel, after all.
Furthermore, in order for blogging to move forward as an industry (and not just as individual top-tier stars), the community needs to come together, whether you live in Maine, Nebraska, North Carolina, or New York, to maintain standards of practice and ethics, as other industries, such as journalism, do.
One industry that might be an interesting comparison to blogging is the beginnings of the film industry in the 1920s. Originally made up of a rag tag group of operators, actors, directors, etc. the separate groups came together in the budding industry to work together, eventually unionized, and discovered that the movie business is actually a lucrative, job-creating one. While I'm not saying bloggers should unionize (at this moment or in the future), I think the method of joining as a collective force as a sisterhood or brotherhood is an interesting way of looking at the fashion blogging industry.
Another reason why bloggers need each other has to do with, as the Bill Gates quote noted, the idea that better competition pushes you to better yourself. As others push the limits, you should constantly be trying to elaborate and improve upon those limits, and create your own identity within the field. Progress is progress, even if it's from someone else in your industry. We should be applauding the stand outs and using them as examples that yes, this can be a career.
And finally, bloggers strive for a sense of openness, as a democratic approach to being in fashion and being “real,” so constructive criticism should play a part in it all. Sending an email doesn't take much time, but opening analytical conversations about topics within the fashion blogging realm is crucial to moving up and on.
Remember, confidence is overrated. It's ok not to know what's going to happen next with fashion blogging. But sometimes having a community with you can make it just that much better.
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