I was a blogger before it was cool. And by blogger, I say it sans context of what it is now. Instead of domains, there were extensions of either Wordpress, Blogspot, or Tumblr. I started my own fashion blog prior to entering high school wherein I documented my notable outfits, posted photos of my flatlay efforts (it was already an emerging thing), my attempts on Photoshop, and wrote pieces on pop culture. I even had monthly reviews of the latest issues of Preview, Vogue, and Nylon. For as long as I can remember, my life was centered around that creative project. A few years down the line and I saw the emergence of social media’s opinion leaders whose blogs were becoming profitable, as they were becoming more curated. It was then that I decided to put off my personal site.
It wasn’t because I had grown tired of creating content. Rather, the content that dominated the digital landscape was something I didn’t want to partake in. The more I saw sponsored posts, the less I had trusted in the people posting them. The similarities of everyone’s layouts and the cessation of writing proper entries made me feel as if a lot had lost their voice. Any facet of media is bound to be dynamic, but was it progression at the cost of authenticity? And do the pioneer bloggers who continue to achieve surmountable success today share the same sentiments?
Tricia Gosingtian explains the exposition of her blogging journey and says, “Many of us in the digital sphere were looking for both self-expression and freedom to express our creativity.” She regards that it was an accessible portfolio of work that can easily reach audiences. Like Tricia, other forerunners such as Patricia Prieto, Kryz Uy, and Camille Co utilized it as a creative outlet. It was a way for them to share their passions with the rest of the world without the pressure and expectations, and allowing them to create freely and organically. But other than a public diary, it was also a way for them to receive honest feedback and connect with likeminded individuals. There were only three factors in the story—a computer, a sense of creativity, and the desire to share.
Their constant pursuit of passion slowly gained attention from advertisers and international companies who wanted to directly cater to their target market. Both Tricia and Patricia then decided to professionalize their sites by having their own domains. On the other hand, Camille created hers to have total control of what she wanted to post. She shares, “I liked the concept of posting my own looks more and more so I started looking for a platform where I can share more of them, without the constraints Chictopia and Lookbook have.”
And soon enough, the local landscape of blogging became a phenomenon. When word got out that entries were being monetized and online posts merited certain price points, everyone wanted in. But the commercialization of blogging wasn’t always met with open arms. According to Tricia, “At first the concept of sponsored posts seemed inconsistent with the idea of self-expression.” Eventually, she employed the help of her dad to manage her offers and receive mutually beneficial contracts.
Fast forward nearly a decade into when everyone began their online journey, some people now look to blogging with the sole objective of being a paid influencer. Having been fans of all these online celebrities from their humble beginnings, I initially thought the current landscape of the digital industry would cause a disinclination on their part. But what’s interesting about them is that they didn’t let the evolution of blogging intimidate them, they invited it. Capitalizing on your passion doesn’t make you a sell-out, nor does it make your content any less authentic. The key is to keep your honesty and self-regulation at a constant. As Camille explains, “It’s important to be passionate about what do you—whether you’re in it for the fun or for money. So if you did enter blogging for the sole purpose of becoming a paid influencer, I hope you actually love what you do, have your own voice, and blog with integrity.” Kryz shares the same sentiment and says, “As long as each post is done ethically (like only posting products you would actually use and being selective about which brands you work with), then there shouldn’t be anything wrong with that.”
There is money in blogging, yes, but that isn’t the end game for these women. They do it because of their unwavering passion for what they do, much like how one should treat any profession. Much like how one should treat everything else. Perhaps the secret to success in this industry isn’t reliant on fixed head rooms, formulaic aesthetic, and the amount of sponsorships you gain. Rather, it’s being grounded in your principles—creative wise and professional wise. As Patricia Prieto says, “Blogging takes a lot of time and effort. It is not something that happens overnight and it’s not going anywhere if your heart and passion aren’t in it.” She adds that after all, your credibility is on the line.
Years back when blogging wasn’t the concept it is today, I said that there were only three factors in the story—a computer, a sense of creativity, and the desire to share. While compensation and likes, among other things, are now prominent aspects, doesn’t mean the original three are any less important for these pioneers.
Main photo from @beamarinx on Instagram