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Friday, September 16, 2011

"What Kind of Blogger am I?" My IFBCon Experience (EDIT: Pics of Mani Added)

Hello there guys and gals!

I didn't predict this past week at school being so busy as it was but nonetheless, I've seen it through and I'm ready to try and bring you back up to speed on all that's been going on! This weekend is going to be a challenge to try and tackle 4-5 posts (!) as my birthday falls right in the middle, but I'm a lady who doesn't like to give up so before I start going wild with the festivities, I definitely owe it to you all to share something for helping this past year be as amazing as it has been.

I previously spoke about the IFBCon that I was going to attend, and attend I did! The day was a bit dreary and so getting dress became a hassle, seeing as I can't think of a time looking stylish ever meant more! Due to the time, though, I ended up walking out in a decent outfit but nothing I felt too fantastic in; just decent. I made arrived at MILK Studios and entered a room filled with amazingly dressed individuals, playing with every style, trend, and price point imaginable!

I hurried to take a seat, having arrived just in time for the first panel, "Bloggers Tool Kit," and I couldn't have been happier to have done so. It was my favorite of them all! The panelists, Leandra Medine of Man Repeller, Vahni Georgoulakos of Grit and Glamour, Sammy Davis of Sammy Davis Vintage, Erica Chan Coffman and Lauren Kolodny of Honestly WTF, and Alisa Gould Simon of, along with moderator Christen Rochon of Divas & Dorks, discussed all social media platforms available to bloggers and how they provide benefits as well as negatives, unless one is able to really figure out what works best. They also spoke about maintaining attentiveness to your audience: What posts are most popular? When do you get the most views? Where is a good portion of your audience located? What are they saying in regards to your content? All these factors not only help you as a blogger out to keep improving your content, but also, if you are interested in working with companies, these are essential in obtaining offers. Knowing the statistics behind your blog is absolutely important for companies wanting to be sure they are having the right people marketing their products to their designated audience. This isn't really something that interests me, and I'll speak more on that later, but as it was a part of the panel, I felt it should be mentioned in case any others held interest. Lastly, they spoke of the importance of knowing what kind of blogger you are--what I found to be the most crucial point of the panel. Examples were Sammy Davis and her focus on Vintage fashion while Leandra Medine's focus was on all those fashionable items that seem to make men turn the other way and why they should be embraced! What kind of blogger am I? Keep reading...

Then there was break time, in which I enjoyed some seriously delicious ice cream on behalf of Magnum Ice Cream! SO GOOD EVERYONE!! Do your best to check them out if you can. It had to be my second best ice cream experience ever! (My first was in a Häggen-Dazs down in Chinatown offering a special vanilla ice cream with banana and caramel and, I kid you not, I practically orgasmed due to the goodness.) I was also being really shy so I didn't really talk to many people and sat at my seat like a lonely kid eating their ice cream in a busy fashionable playground.

The next panel, "Is the Social Media Industry Broken?" honestly carried little interest to me. It wasn't due to the panelists, who were very engaging in their discussion, but the topic of trying to make your blog into a profitable commodity was not my thing. Personally, I do not plan on making my blog a form of capitalization and could care less about whether social media is engineered to further consumer nature in regards to blogs. I can safely declare right now that my blogs will remain free of advertisements off to the side and I won't gain a cent out of anything on here unless it is because of a collaboration between myself and a company or product I actually support. Actually, that last point was a very talked about issue within the panel that did spark my interest--the genuineness a blogger places when promoting anything or anyone. To quote the panelist John Januzzi of Textbook, "If you aren't genuine about the brands you love, people will see right through it," and this applies to companies as well as your audience (if you look at Januzzi's blog, be prepared for the ultimate genuinely funny and fashionable soul). Being a genuine blogger at all times, in my opinion, should remain a priority and should never fall to the back burner just to be able to work with a notable brand when you could really care less about them.

For the lunch break, since I got little sleep the previous night and really wasn't thrilled about the blandness of my outfit, I went home to take a nap and change into something much better (the pictures below aren't the full outfit--I added my black multi-chain necklace, added my vintage black patches bag and pulled my hair up into a ponytail). When I left the door and arrived back at MILK, I felt refreshed and like I really fit in then.

I skipped over the third panel, "Balancing Act: Business & Blogging" in order to take that nap, and though I heard that Ari Goldberg of StyleCaster was really owning it, it was, again, geared towards those who had an interest in making blogging their career and how to conduct yourself in a proper manner to rise up and make yourself into a worthy brand in the eyes of many (Noticing a trend yet?). If I had gone, I'm sure I would have enjoyed it insofar as getting a tip here and there as someone who does balance school and blogging, with work soon to join the mix, but I felt it wasn't something truly for me and worth looking like a lame zombie over.

When I did arrive, though, "Evolution of Fashion Media," the fourth and final panel, was taking place and that was quite the pleasure! Discussion on how fashion blogs set themselves apart from the other forms of fashion media, the emphasis on what makes a great blog great, and the issues that still need to be tackled as social media and blogging continue to evolve took place in a very fun and insightful manner. Mr. Mickey of PaperMag (Do yourself the favor and get to know Mr. Mickey--the fact that he is recognized by that name says so much), Mary HK Choi of MTV Style, Claire Sulmers of Fashion Bomb Daily (The go-to site for urban fashion and fashionable ladies of color), Ari Seth Cohen of Advanced Style (His focus is the fashionable elderly!), Joyce Chang of People Style Watch, and Christian Remröd of Fashion Networks all communicated from different media viewpoints and engaged in a really positive discourse on where fashion blogging was headed. Also, the phrase "Platform Agnosticism" really struck my interests--the idea that different social media platforms favored by bloggers are available in restricted ways such as Instagram for the iPhone should be eliminated and should be offered in a way that favors the user, not the provider. Did I mention that the moderator, Ann Colville Somma of HolierthanNow looked amazing (though I was too far back to snap a shot of her).

We took another break, and I broke out of my noob nerves and ended up chatting with Sammy Davis herself, who is actually friends with a friend of mine (and was the one who told us to meet up with each other), Robert Dean of The Stranger Speaks on YouTube! We didn't get to talk very long but she was really a wonderful, positive person that rubs off on you so quickly. I hope to see her again soon! I also caught these lovely sisters, Rachel and Nicole Effendy of Rachel et Nicole, sparking up the room together--and temporarily make me wish I had a sibling who was just as into style as I am, but best friends who are practically related are good too!

(Love the eyebrow frame glasses the gal in yellow was rocking)

(The Aldo station and all their fabulous shoes--to die for!!!)

(The Magnum Ice Cream Lounge Area and Mani Bar remained packed all throughout the day)

(Rachel Et Nicole--I'd love to take on both their outfits--Love their coordination!)

Lastly, was the Key Note Speech by the fantastic and accomplished Creative Director of ELLE Magazine Joe Zee!! It was preceded by an amazing video by the people at MILK Studios on how fashion takes place there (I think you can already tell how crappy my camera was for the day so I wasn't able to get any video of it). As you can see, though, I managed not dying--at least not right away. While he spoke to Tina Craig of Bag Snob/Snob Global Media, I got a lovely Minx Mani maintained by Magnum (oh, the alliteration). Even though he has been in the magazine industry for 20 years now, Mr. Zee really put forth the idea that bloggers are the ones of importance when it comes to fashion--they are the number one supporting feature on ELLE's website; they are the primary source fashion lovers go to when in need of inspiration--and in fact are the FUTURE!! He said he considers himself, as well as the rest of the team at ELLE, as "content providers," putting forth these ideas and interpretations of fashion, as well as all the other aspects ELLE covers, to readers, not to kill time, but to create further discourse, setting them apart from the rest of the magazine industry (I think Neil Postman would be down with that--perhaps not the topics, but definitely the intent). Again, the topic of being a genuine person and letting it be known on your blog was brought up; it honestly can't be stressed enough! Ultimately, it is YOUR VOICE, YOUR WRITTEN WORD, that makes everything happen so speak if you have something to say and speak the truth.

(Jeannine Jacob of The Coveted and the mind behind IFB)

(The MILK Studios owners) 

(You can just tell what an enthusiastic character Joe Zee has--a pleasure to have seen and heard him speak)

Embarrassing detail time: So, as I've explained to my friends, my Eager McBeaver self got a little caught up in the Q&A portion, seriously wanting to speak to Joe Zee and I was able to ask my question. The only problem was it came out in a very wrong way. I seem to have blocked the actual words from my mind, such was my embarrassment, but it was along the lines of how one can use a blog in order to garner attention in the magazine industry, in the sense of what kind of content would an editor be interested in seeing if you were applying for an internship and brought up your blog as a way to show yourself to be a fashion saavy person. What I seemed to have gotten across, though, was that my only purpose in starting my blog was to gather the attention of an outside industry that has no immediate relation to blogging, and thus if that was all I had in mind for this, I should stop and do something else (Joe Zee is known for being a very straightforward person, as you can see). I was quietly freaking out on the inside because I felt like I had crushed my one moment in front of him, and yet, I felt enlightened.

All in all, I realized that as much fun as IFBCon was, perhaps it wasn't really the place for me. Though it did provide insight in a number of ways as well as allow me to get to know and see amazing people who are working hard to do what they love, I don't hope to get a career out of being a blogger and I don't want to monetize it. If the rare opportunity of an invitation to a fashion show or a collaboration comes up, as was the case in the summer (though I had to sadly turn it down), it will only be for the sake of having that experience and/or providing something to people who are also interested and find me as a source. That was a place for those desiring to be a professional in that field, and ultimately, that isn't the case for me. Joe Zee is correct in that the magazine and blogging industries are not connected with exception to the topics they cover, but such is the way of media, and for that, I want to thank him here for answering my question and making me realize that.

So, what kind of blogger am I?

I'm the kind of blogger who just likes to talk about what I love, primarily fashion and style. I'm the blogger who does this out of the simple love of writing and the curiosity of a developing new written form and its effect on the world. I'm the blogger who likes to have fun when she posts, not take herself too seriously, and try to make the time spent with readers and enjoyable one. I'm the blogger who wants to share without worry of trying to please someone higher up, like a company or brand. I'm the blogger who watches from the outside and takes that inspiration in order to transform each day into another part of myself; my blog the collection of who I am as a whole.

I am the blogger Emi Love, a.k.a Little Luna, and it is who I will always be.

Hasta Luego!

Little Luna

P.S. If you'd like to hear more about what went down that day, there's a list of other blogs that covered the event over at IFB. Enjoy!

EDIT: I totally forgot to add some pictures I took later on of my Minx Mani that I spoke so fondly of! If you're curious to see, check it out (as long as you don't mind my dorkiness--but if you're a frequent reader, the answer must be no :P):

Lovely little fish scales

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