With WordPress and publishing platforms alike ruling today’s blogging craze, anyone has been given the power to publish. With minimal startup costs, anyone can put out their content for the world to consume. And if they manage to attract a substantial audience, even compete in the same playing fields as conventional news outlets, such as Washington Post. With the information shared on blogs becoming more personalised, where commenting and sharing is widely encouraged, the way we consume and live our lives has never been as easy to influence as today.
Words: Aleksandra Medina
1. Eating with Our Eyes First
According to a Waitrose survey, 1 in 5 Brits have shared at least one photos of their food on social media in the last month. While there is still no clear explanation why we risk getting our meal cold to snap the perfect Instapic, there are people who have turned this into their career and make money from sharing '#foodporn' and '#instafood' daily with their online audiences.
Because of our unexplainable urge to share our meal with our followers, the traditional plain-looking breakfast cereal has been replaced with '#avocadotoast' and '#smoothiebowl'. It’s more important for the food to look good rather than taste good. Thus, restaurants that serve Instagrammable food quickly gain popularity and their menu's monetary value sharply increases. Take, for example Peggy Proschen Cakes in London; the café boasts visually appealing decor and their cupcakes so colourful that bloggers all around the world have paid a visit to the premises just to get that publishing-worthy snap. By doing this, they have established this as a must-visit and must-document place for their loyal readers. And by going there and following our urge to post a picture of our Instagrammable meal, we unconsciously do the marketing for the brand, without them needing to pay us.
2. Communicating = Urgency for Sharing
There are about 3 billion social media users worldwide, which approximates to about a third of the world’s population. Social media's reach to the masses has changed the way we interact with each other and acquire new knowledge. Behind the scenes, with so many people using social media on a daily basis, it has become a hub for marketers expanding their businesses. With the introduction of social media influencers, brand ambassadors, sponsored posts and online pop-up ads, digital marketing has reached new heights. Because we use Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat mainly for sharing our personal viewpoints and staying in touch with people that mean something to us, a carefully crafted and specifically targeted AD popping up on our social media means that we are also bound to pay more attention to it. As for the communication, social media has created an urge to share content instantly; allowed us to be more personal and also given us a new perspective on viewing the same old stories.
3. Shift to Online Shopping
When was the last time you bought something you hadn’t seen online before? Before seeing someone wearing it on Instagram, a blogger reviewing it or a magazine suggesting it? Firstly, with the introduction of online shopping, the entire experience of dedicating a day specifically for browsing the stores has disappeared. Instead of hustling up and down a high street comparing the offerings from different stores, we can now dedicate a fraction of our evening to effortless scrolling through the store’s stock online, comparing prices on our sofa and paying with our fingertips while watching TV. But that’s not the only thing that has changed. Now, more than ever, we are fed images of the ‘it’ look by fashion influencers with blogs followed by millions of people. Brands have gone from traditional obvious advertising to sponsored posts curated by your favourite people on the web. Using Instagram celebrity endorsement, it is easier than ever for brands to personally connect with potential buyers: the clothes are tagged, the link is attached to an Instagram story and often there’s even a special discount code linked to the advertiser. So, not only are we shifting away from the traditional ways of shopping, we are also shifting away from conventional marketing and advertisement strategies.
4. Travelling: Is the Thrill All Gone?
It is a magnificent realisation that we have the world’s knowledge at our fingertips: all lied out in front of us, ready for access. But is travelling still the same? Has our ability to be inspired by other’s trips, watch documentaries, immerse in virtual reality and read everything about a place destroyed our wanderlust? With professional travel bloggers being paid to share the beauty of places around the world, we can vicariously discover new travel destinations from our bedrooms or while stuck in traffic. On the other hand, maybe actually seeing these places reminds us about the beauty of the world and sparks our lust for travel. Especially with Airbnb, Uber,TripAdvisor and budget airlines making travelling more affordable than ever. But at the end of the day, how do you decide where to go? Travel blogs, social media, your friend’s Facebook posts, sponsored posts and targeted ads are there to unconsciously influence your decision, when you book your next flight tickets.
5. Work? Or an Era of Global Nomads and Travel Bloggers
Try explaining to your grandparents what a travel blogger does and how they make money. It won’t make sense to them. Or try explaining any of the emerging professions that are based on social media and why they are so important to employers. With more people working through their wireless connection, their actual location doesn’t matter as much, so why not join the #globalnomad movement? With the emergence of blogs and brands allocating an increasing amount of money to digital marketing, the chance of anyone becoming an influencer and making money online is rapidly growing. As long as you figure out how to attract a decent amount of following, you could become one of the next big influencers. Because of the democracy of internet and the availability of information out there for everyone's use, there are literally no barriers. So pursue your passions and go with the flow.