When I was 15, people still had dial up internet although it had turned into a time where you didn’t have to pay per minute (the internet used to cost about 15 pence for every minute you were on it). My family got unlimited internet for about £30 a month. It changed my life and I became a huge nerd. My parents were worried about how much time I spent online (a few hours in the evening). Blogging didn’t really become a thing until I was about 20. When I was 15, people kept LiveJournals. I didn’t have one, I had this super lame secret diary on a site called Diaryland.com, which I think is still going! Back then everything was anonymous, and you were considered insane if you put your actual name or a photograph on the internet. My friends thought keeping an online diary was super uncool. Most of the people on diaryland seemed to have a way more exciting life than me because they were older.
When I was 20 I moved to Holland and I worked as a fashion intern. I wanted to record everything about it, but what was considered ‘obsessive photo taking and recording’ then wasn’t what it is now. I only took a few photographs backstage at fashion week. And I think I only have about 20 photographs of the entire time I was in Holland 🙁 My biggest regret is not sharing more, and I wish I hadn’t let people around me hold me back. Everyone had the attitude that nobody is interested in what you did, ‘selfie’ wasn’t a thing people did. People didn’t seem to understand that blogs aren’t necessarily for the people surrounding you, they’re to help you connect with a community that you have more in common with than the people around you. I wish I had cared less what people thought of me.
Back on my fashion blog, actual huge fashion houses didn’t even have online stores or any editorials online, everything was still in magazines. So I used to draw the clothes myself, or I used to scan the pages of magazines and upload them to my blogs. My blog was really just for me, for myself. I had about 100 followers on blogger, but because Facebook and Twitter were really new, I didn’t really know how to get more followers.
I started doing fashion photography and working in marketing at the same time. I graduated in the middle of the recession and was one of the only people I knew who had managed to get a job that wasn’t in a bar or a shop. Because social media was brand new, they used to put young people on social media roles without needing any experience. I got super lucky and because no one really knew what they were doing then, I started marketing myself and my own photography to experiment. I got a lot of attention and blog hits because I understood that to get a good social media presence, I needed to treat myself like a business and not like a wannabe celebrity. I needed to create content that is helpful or interesting to people, and make sure I engage with people and reply to their comments. To follow them back and be a part of their community.
Nowadays blogging is much more sophisticated. It can even be your full time job. I find it quite intimidating to interact with younger bloggers because they all seem to know exactly what they’re doing. It makes me wonder what my place in the world will be over my thirties.
Advice I would give to younger bloggers, is to always be yourself, follow your passion and ignore people hating on you or telling you what you do is stupid. I had a lot of that from my parents, friends and just people who didn’t like me. But now the internet is my job, people who have similar jobs to my parents pay me to help them establish their business online, and I really only could have benefitted from following my dreams and intuition more as a young person. Even if it meant I was a nerd. (Now my family have accepted me as a geek.)
Here are some pictures from my old blog 🙂 and some scans of drawings and sketchbooks.