Over the past couple days, I’ve been talking with a couple people in the lolita community about the lightness of content available related to lolita lately. Between the thought provoking article “The Fluff of Blog: Where Did The Real Conversations Go? ” on Fashadore.me, the conversations I’ve had lately, and purestmaiden’s post “Content Collective: Let’s Get Back to Talking About Lolita“, I’ve really come to realize that it’s not just me. A handful of the lolita I most admire for their knowledge and wit all seemed to express the same thought; the content available right now is fairly light.
What do I mean by light? Well, for example, I moderate rufflechat, a lolita discussion group on Facebook. A typical post on rufflechat is 1-5 sentences long, and can be answered with a reply of 3-5 sentences. Compare that to EGL where discussion posts could be a full page, and frequently were.
Where lolita used to write blogs that were very verbose, now people have tumblrs or facebooks full of photos with very few words. Or, they have blogs or vlogs where they basically just put forwards their coordinate snaps and other photo-based content.
Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think there is anything wrong with that type of content. I think it has it’s place, and I really enjoy looking at beautiful coordinates and beautiful people. But I also think that there is an intellectual side to lolita as a subculture which seems to be dying out a little. I miss long form debate and discussion about lolita.
I think a few things have fueled this change. First of all, the web has changed significantly. Smartphones keep people constantly connected, and social media is the perfect way to express thoughts and feelings in real time while on the go. The ubiquitousness of cellphone cameras also means that everyone who has a smartphone has a camera in their pocket 24/7. The days of needing to remember to bring a camera, then bring it home, capture the photos, edit them, up load them, and then write html or bbcode to insert them into a post somewhere are long gone. This means that photo content has gone from requiring more time than written content to requiring almost no time at all. It’s faster to take and post a selfie than to write a two sentence facebook post.
Lolita fashion has always had a bit of an infatuation with idol culture. Being a famous lolita has always been a symbol of success to some people. I feel like the rise of the selfie culture has exacerbated this, pressuring people who may not have otherwise felt the need to engage in the popularity race to create light content frequently. Because the platforms that enable “selfie culture” are all about fast content that expires quickly, one has to create a lot of content in a very short time period to stay relevant. While I don’t think there is anything wrong with creating a lot of visual content, I do think that when it becomes almost compulsive like it has for many lolita, it stops being fun and starts to be a time drain and a source of stress. When your whole interaction with the fashion is based around creating new looks that are “the best” every week, you get into a cycle of buying and selling and photographing that isn’t really conductive to really just stopping and taking the time to examine things on a deeper level. It’s a totally different pacing.
Another thing which may have fueled this change is the ease of acquiring information and the rise in the number of people who are digital natives. Many lolita brands ship world wide, and for those who don’t there are shopping services now, which are legitimate shopping cart system wielding websites. It’s quick and easy to translate a site using google translate. Setting up an indie brand shop via etsy is quick and easy (on the tech side, at least).
You really don’t need nearly as much guidance and hand holding to become a lolita today as you did ten years ago.
Because it’s so easy to acquire information, or even survive without acquiring it, there isn’t nearly as much need for a support community. On top of that, the number of people interested in lolita fashion outside of Japan has grown exponentially, meaning that even without a central western online community, most lolita aren’t alone. There are large local communities around the world, and social media connects Lolita in a way that LiveJournal never really did.
So what does this all mean? Deeper content which used to be produced as the default, now takes a little more conscious effort, while lighter content which used to take more conscious effort is now easier to create. It’s not necessarily bad, it’s just different.
That said, I’m going to be joining PurestMaiden’s Content Collective. Here is my personal content pledge:
- At least 80% of my posts, in homage to the old EGL rule, should either encourage some kind of discussion, or provide some kind of new information to the community.
I’m not personally prone to posting a lot of haul or coordinate posts as it is. Mostly because I take terrible photos of myself, so this is pretty easy for me.
- I will post at least Bi-Monthly, with a total of at least 25 posts this year.
I know myself really well. I have times where I can knock out three posts in a week, and I have times where I sleep for a whole month. I have very low blood pressure, and I get tired quicker than normal people. Because of this, it really depends a lot on what is going on in my real life. It also puts me in the awkward position where right after I go to an event (when I would write about it), I’m usually at my lowest point. Conventions take a LOT out of me. So, that said, I’m aiming to produce the equivalent of a post every 2-weeks, but I’m acknowledging that I may only post once in a two month span at some points in the year.
- My posts containing written content will be at least 500 words long.
I installed a plug in that counts words, and apparently, I average 711 words in my published posts already, so this should be pretty do-able.
- I will post at least one regular post for every new item post I post.
I love making posts about upcoming brand items, and I’m not going to stop doing that (when I buy kera; I don’t always. Lately, I’ve had some issues with Amazon Japan not delivering), but I don’t want that to become all that I write!