March 25, 2014

YouWatch I'll Tube

With the help of the internet, in our society not only are you able to read up on any possible topic but you can also watch a video on anything imaginable. Since the creation of YouTube, there is a mainstream and simple way to watch and upload videos that requires no technological background. There are little to no limits set on what you can and cannot upload which makes it universally popular. YouTube is used by many people for a wide variety of things and because of this, it could be seen as an extension of social media for a company. 

Leading fashion brands are making use of this video hosting site as a media distribution platform to further advertise their brand inexpensively. They are able to post ad campaigns, behind-the-scenes shoots or even clips they created for their website and in-store collections. Fashion companies are also using this type of media as a way to showcase celebrity endorsement and implement campaigns that will help promote their product. 

In our culture YouTube can be seen as a "core business" strategy. Video is an interactive way to get in touch with a large scale audience without the restrictions and limitations of television. A company has the ability to post as many videos as they want without having to stay inside the lines of a "commercial" like format. 

Celebrity and fashion designer, Victoria Beckham uses YouTube as an extension to her brand. She uploads behind the scenes clips, runway shows and interviews to her YouTube account. This creates a relationship between the producer (Beckham) and consumer (us) that may have not been present before without the use of video. 

Looking at the fashion industry as a whole, YouTube has created personal connections within this large community. People from all over the world now have the ability to enjoy runway shows, fashion week(s), etc. that they otherwise would not be able to view. Although blog and social media accounts create conversations in fashion, the visual experience that YouTube offers is unlike anything else. 



Online Shopping: Hide Yo Computers, Hide Yo Wallets

It's no shock when I point out that a computer is a very smart machine. As obvious as that might seem, it is nonetheless a piece of technology that is taken for granted. My generation in itself has grown up in the heat of some very important technological advancements; and yet I still need to be reminded sometimes just how lucky I am to be able to Google something within seconds as opposed to having to search through encyclopedias for hours (thanks mom). 

Anything from reading a book to shopping for anything imaginable can be done online. This is not only creating an interaction between the user and computer, but an outside third party is also interacting with us. They have the ability to track our online behaviors and figure out what and why we're searching the web. 

This idea is most commonly seen between online sellers and consumers. A company's marketer will track the consumer's behavior through different databases to figure out how to influence the buyer. We see this with something as subtle as an advertisement on a website. If you didn't already catch on, an advertisement showcasing your favorite brand of shoes is no coincidence. What might seem as an irrelevant detail in the moment, little do we realize that these advertisements are tempting and leading us to buying more products.  

When shopping online, clicking on any item will be remembered by that company's software. Making it seem like they've set each individual up with your own online personal shopper, it's just the software talking. This software has the ability to recommend similar items with the "You Might Also Like" and "People Who Viewed This Also Viewed" sections on the page. The online shopping experience is scarily addicting and seems to make spending a lot of money a whole lot easier. 



Social media has exploded, everyone and their mothers are tweeting, pinning and instagramming. Us "normal" people have to be mindful, to some extent, about what we post online. But nothing compares to the uproar that will transpire if a celebrity, athlete, political figure or even fashion designer dare say the wrong thing on social media. Communication in our culture is changing and because of this global cultural transmissions can happen at an alarming rate. 

In 2012, designer Kenneth Cole tweeted "Millions are in uproar in #Cairo. Rumor is they heard that our new spring collection is available online.”, trying to make light of the protests in Egypt and promote his spring collection. Even though Cole deleted his tweet and issued a public apology, his tweet will forever remain on the web and not only possibly affect his brand but also negatively affect cultures beyond those here in the United States. 

A similar PR problem happened during the wrath of hurricane Sandy. American Apparel held a "Hurricane Sandy Sale" that featured a 20% discount off everything. They issued an email to all their customers explaining the sale and "In case you're bored during the storm" you should use the next thirty-six hours to shop online. This email was photographed and posted all over social media, never to be erased. 

The Internet allows cultural boundaries to be crossed and with this, mass misinterpretation can be a result. I think the hardest thing to accept with social media is that once something is published, it will never disappear. Time and time again people have made the mistake of putting something on social media that they will later regret. Why isn't anyone learning their lesson? 


Cloak of Invisibility

For some, a benefit of online communication is the lack of face-to-face communication. Why would someone see interacting with a computer as opposed to another person as more equal, as silly as that sounds. The computer is able to mask the identity of a person and put everyone on an equal playing field. When it comes to first impressions or judgements, the computer makes it hard to discriminate against someone based on elements such as gender, age or physicality. 

The lack of face-to-face communication online does act as an equalizer and benefits individual bloggers tremendously, but how would this help a company who benefits (in some aspects) specifically from someones gender, age or even physicality that a computer has the ability to hide? If a large fashion corporation decided to expand their company online, it is only natural that they will be judged based on some of these elements. 

When reading a fashion blog, especially if this blog is an extension of a company, readers want to hear from the experts on a topic. There are a set of standards the blog must withhold just as the actual corporation does. Going beyond just the knowledge one must have to gain credibility, sometimes being a certain age is just what you need in order to represent a certain trend or designer. I can also see gender as an element to fashion blogging that is taken under consideration by readers. Looking at the men and women who represent a company's menswear or womenswear lines on a blog, their thoughts will resonate well with a gender specified audience. 


Political Power

The reasons behind a personal blog is easy for me to understand. Looking at the progression of this online forum, it is essentially an online diary or journal. Most known diaries/journals probably intended to have no public audience, and yet most wind up being read and possibly even published for the world to read. I think of a personal blog in the same way, we similarly write down our thought to express what we're feeling. Although the blog might be for you, your private life eventually becomes public in some way. If this is essentially the evolution of a personal blog, then where and how did the idea of blogging for a company come into play?

Although its roots might be a combination of many things, early political journalism seems to best describe what the purpose of blogging for a company is. Different genres such as a pamphlet, editorial or the opinion column have been around since the 17th century, all used to express political opinion. These independent publications were overthrown by the birth of newspapers and all the restrictions that come with them. However, this particular genre of work craves a large public audience and aims to implement social opinion and action. There needs to be less restrictions and more independence in order to carry these things out (hello blogging). 

Fashion blogging requires the same independence that a blogger gains in the political community. Although blogging for a fashion company does not aim to engage in political propaganda, there are some similarities in their purpose. Each blogger takes on the role of separating from the “corporate” media aspect to gain direct and personal access to their intended audience. 


March 23, 2014

Digital Slave Labor

At some point in every one's life, I believe there to be time when their number one priority is work. From what I have come to find, exactly when or for how long this "stage" lasts is unique to each individual. However, when it comes to blogging, it sounds like nothing ever seems to slow down. Is it possible that by becoming a blogger, you are essentially a slave to this medium for as long as you both shall live? It's no secret that blogging is demanding, there is a huge commitment of time and effort if you want to make it big in this online realm. Constantly checking and updating its content is what keeps a blog alive. 

This fast paced trend we see with blogging parallels with the ins and outs of the fashion world. In this world, trends and fashion movements are constantly fed and nurtured with attention. Essentially, this is how we create blog posts, with tons of love and affection. A place where these two combine into one is when someone holds the title as a "fashion blogger", or as I’d like to call it, a modernized “victim” of slave labor. 

Leandra Medine, creator of Man Repeller, is a fashion blogger whose life is now synonymous with slaving to a digital medium. During her college years, what began as a place to fire out her thoughts on all things fashion, dating and quirky daily struggles is now a full time job. There is no other medium involving writing that is more fast paced and creatively informal than a blog. Medine has created a brand that does not involve a line of clothing or handbag collection but rather a brand that is comprised with her "stream of consciousness thoughts". 

Online communities have existed for many years, so what makes blogging so different. From the fast paced environment and freedom of speech, a blog has the ability to transform your thoughts into conversations that matter. 


March 20, 2014

Blogging like it's 1980

It appears, blogging has become insanely popular for so many different people, places and things. The truth is, this whole "blogging" concept has actually been around before I was even born.....maybe our parents aren't so old after all. The idea of online communities have been around since the 80's but just recently have the coined terms, "blogging", "blogger" and "blog" really come into play. So what makes it so different now than from what it was over twenty years ago? Looking at the industry on a large scale, people writing about fashion isn't anything new. Now suddenly holding the title of "fashion blogger" is practically considered a godsent from this new(?) phenomena. 

One of the biggest elements to the concept of blogging that has changed over time is how much more seriously it is being taken, so serious that you can actually get paid for it...good luck trying to explain that one to mom and dad. Since blogging has become so universal, every aspect of the fashion industry can be found online in some shape or form making it even more appealing. Fashion blogs offer total access into the brand, including the people that create it- now you too can become a part of the process. 

In fashion, there are always going to be so many different opinions circling the product(s). Fashion blogs have given a voice to consumers that has never been present. No longer do you have to be considered a "professional" in the field to voice an opinion, as an online reader your opinions are heard. You have the ability to openly say what you think about a particular article of clothing, designer or seasonal collection. Fashion companies strive to get positive feedback published on their sites and use this consumer feedback as a living, breathing advertisement to help promote the brand.