IGNORANCE ONLINE

Sunday, December 14, 2014



"Kings and Queens and Presidents, Ministers of Governments, Welcome to the future of your world;" - just that opening line from Take That's 'Kidz' had me ready to protest in anger against the recent media shaming of bloggers, youtubers, and those who have built a success out of social media. Until Zoe and Alfie's books came out a month or so ago, the media seemed rather slow to catch on to the most influential people in the world currently, scratching their heads at why our generation and the next weren't listening to them.

Since the more media-covered launches of both books and Zoe's beauty launch, the media has snapped up any chance to interview or photograph them about anything; from being 'the girl next door' to 'what's vlogging? How much do you earn?', and to be quite honest, about 80% of the things I've read online have been rather negative and snide towards the rise of normal 20-somethings making a living out of being themselves and making their target audience feel good. What kind of depressing world do we have to be living in to make that a normality?

Let me give you an example of something that happened to me twice recently. I was talking to someone close to me, and after reading the Sunday Times article on YouTubers such as Tanya Burr and Jim Chapman, I was left very disheartened and major eye-rolling at having to read yet another piece where people doing their thang were 'vanilla'. I may not watch everyone online, and that's okay, but your vanilla is 20 million people's Millionaire Shortbread, and it's worth millions. 
When I explained to said person that it was another irrelevant article that hadn't got the full facts, they proceed to state, 'oh, social media is irrelevant, bet it'll be done in 2 years. No one cares.' Simple ignorance, to be honest. Things like social media, and One Direction for that matter, who are constantly being told they'll be finishing next year after each album, are the old media's successor, and those in old media are either too slow or too denying of the fact that it has any worth.

The second time I spoke to the person about a topic related to social media (and I wont divulge the whole conversation as generally it winds me up) but when I told them about going to see Pixiwoo and meeting Tanya Burr, I was met with a very rude 'Who?! That's a stupid name, never heard of them. Was one of them called Woo or something hahahahahahhaha' - stop. Now firstly, you can't help it if every name on YouTube is taken - sod's law to be honest, but regardless, that 'silly name' is generating more profit and influence globally each year than you are sat on your arse poking fun at people and things you don't know or understand.

"They say nothing, Deny everything, And make counter accusations"; like the conversations I had and the recent media slamming of Zoe, people who are doing the shaming and poking fun are denying the solid truth - social media, blogging and vlogging is one of the most popular and influential ways to get a message, business or idea across to others. Yes there may be thousands running beauty blogs, yes there are constantly new viral videos which come and go, and yes, even animals can make nearly $100 million from a simple picture on Twitter, so why go crazy at someone for having help with a book? Or why state that the time online is worthless? Why should we teach ourselves, our children and the younger generations that the only way to live and function in life is to slave away for 40 hours a week, get drunk on a Friday or Saturday night, and only relax for two weeks a year?

We may be the 'me generation' but we're certainly not the time-wasting money-scamming sitting-on-our-backsides-talking-about-soap yobs that the media and older generations want us to be. People like Zoe, Tanya, Tyler Oakley, Michelle Phan, The Fine Bros, Troye Sivan, even One Direction - yes they're a product of social media as much as The X Factor - are pioneers in how the internet can spread a message, spread joy, and become a multi-million pound industry that produces unbiased media that billions enjoy and listen to.
It's not the quick money fix people claim it to be - trust me, it's hard to be a full-time blogger working off your savings - but the absolute freedom to create a brand and content that you are passionate about and believe in is more goddamn productive and rewarding than working a job to pay off your debt, following a set plan of internships and placements and careers that may not actually be what you want to achieve in life. This may be the choice of some of you, and you may enjoy this, which is totally okay, but we shouldn't force those who have the possibility to create from scratch to be restricted by pre-paved guidelines.

It's easier now to travel, share information, see the world, and create what you want. People hundreds of years ago laughed at the idea of moving pictures, or the world being a ball shaped planet, or even at Steve Jobs in creating Apple - you don't laugh now that you've been born into it as historical fact, so why laugh at history as it's being made? Richard Branson quit school with no qualifications and now is one of the most successful businessmen of all-time, so why can't people accept YouTubers for leaving their jobs to create influential platforms and products that sell?

People who don't understand or who aren't involved in things find it harder to understand, that's a given in any circumstance - whether it's an inside joke with friends, or trying to relate to the war in Syria whilst you're at home safe and sound, you can't grasp it if you're not involved. I don't know YouTubers 100%, and that's the point with blogs and vlogs is that you only see 10 minutes of the day or the need to know info on a product; we do not know their lives, past and feelings, but what we do know is this:
Since 2009, people have been working on their hobbies and passions to create content that makes people happy. They have gone on to work with brands, people and businesses to promote and discover new things. Their popularity from being honest, knowledgable in their field and having a relatable personality has opened them up to developing products, books, albums, makeup and clothing lines, and also in discussing previously taboo subjects that old media would shun.

To say this is irrelevant, that it'll be over soon, and that these people deserve the ignorant rudeness being thrust upon them and those who fall into umbrella categories couldn't be more wrong. The future of business is changing, and it's changing from within, and it's changing faster than what seemed possible, but it's becoming better, clearer, and much more focused on people and the person behind the idea, not an old fogey behind a desk in a suit who can't understand the importance of a hashtag. The world is changing and social media is at the forefront, and until more businesses and media outputs understand that, well, like Take That said - "There'll be trouble when the kidz come out" and there will be lots to talk about.


What's your view on social media/bloggers/youtubers? Are we ignorant in the success of others? Should be stop shaming those who don't understand also?

Lots of Love,
Lauren x


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