Web 2.0 put users at the centre of its design; its ability to facilitate interactivity and dialogue among users was explosive. The birth of user-generated content marked the beginning of collaborative, two-way communications where users were able to comment and debate one another’s work. The formation of online communities made it easier for these interactions to take place because those with shared interests could congregate. For the first time there was a global stage in which everyone had the ability to become producers and critics in their own right (Georgetown University, 2013, p.g 52).
With free tools such as WordPress and Blogger it became incredibly easy to set up blogs and become a producer of content. People could tell their own stories and form their own brand narratives. As Vincent Miller, author of ‘Understanding Digital Culture’ explains, blogging ‘is seen as the ideal environment…to tell one’s life narrative to the world’ (2011, p.170).
Blogging allows us to tell stories based upon our experiences, views and opinions of the world. We can use text and visuals such as pictures and videos to create an identity others can relate to. As we know, businesses that are able to cleverly weave their brand narrative into stories that people will genuinely care about are those that create the most engagement and interaction with their audience – and the same can be said for blogs.
With millions of people producing and sharing content around the world, all battling for readers – you might ask yourself how you can ensure that your blog tells a unique story (I know I have). But perhaps there’s no need for us to battle? In 1968, Andy Warhol predicted that ‘in the future everyone will be famous for 15 minutes’. Has blogging brought us closer to achieving this than ever before? I think so. In fact, it’s already happening. Whether blogging stardom is achieved within a small or large online community, it’s the potential reach of that collective identity that matters most – take beauty bloggers for example. They have found a way to craft their unique love of beauty into stories to share with others.
Earlier this year media database, Vuelio posted the top 10 beauty blogs in the UK. Among this list of online beauty influencers are what I could some incredible storytellers. As Corman, Director of The Center for Strategic Communication states: “the real power of narratives lies in the connections between stories…these connections create openededness that allows a broad range of events to come under a narrative’s scope” (2013). I would encourage you to take a look at a couple of these sites. Hello October cleverly uses the umbrella of beauty to branch out and share her beauty of fashion, food and other fancy things. In all of her ‘stories’ you’ll notice her ability to catch your attention with visuals – carefully positioned photographs that say a thousand words before we even get to the text.
So whether you’re a budding marketer, beauty lover, foodie or fan – a blog that invites an audience to join its conversation using an open-ended narrative, with ever-unfolding stories is a powerful tool of online two-way engagement.
CORMAN, S. (2013) The difference between story and narrative. [Online] Available from: http://csc.asu.edu/2013/03/21/the-difference-between-story-and-narrative/. [Accessed: 2nd November 2015]
GEORGETOWN UNIVERSITY. (2010). Bridging Babel: New social media and inter-religious and intercultural understanding. [Online] Available from: http://repository.berkleycenter.georgetown.edu//UGFNewSocialMedia.pdf. [Accessed 2nd November 2015].
MILLER, V. (2011) Understanding Digital Culture. London: Sage Publications Ltd.