A while back, before Twitter, Facebook, and anything that initiated a sort of ‘conversation’ between brands (whether they be clothing brands or actual publications), brands themselves spoke to you as if they were in authority over you. They adopted this ‘voice’ high up that made you think they knew exactly what they were talking about. The written English language was very different to spoken, and you just wouldn’t DREAM of writing ‘obvs’, or ending a sentence with a preposition because, that’s just not what you do.
The things you were reading, mainly through magazines and more specifically lifestyle content, were widely respected as these superior journalists who just knew everything, and were complete experts. So think of it a bit like this. Ten years ago, if there was a new facial product that would help your spots (let’s call it ‘Facial Stuff’), lifestyle magazines would probably write something like this:
Facial Stuff is a brand new product aimed to alleviate spots from your face. It contains toxins that will combat blackheads, stop greasy skin, and keep you looking and feeling fresh. Priced at only £4.99, it’s affordable and a great product.
Now, with bloggers, the spoken voice sliding it’s way into the written word, social media on the rise and lifestyle magazines beginning to identify more with their audience, it would probably go something like this:
I tried Facial Stuff last week and, if I’m totally honest, it was pretty average. My skin did look a bit fresher the next day, and I’m told that you’ve gotta do a week’s course to notice the real difference. So I’m going to do that. Oh, and it’s under a fiver so that’s a bit of a bargain.
For those of you that love and read blogs, it’s probably because they talk to you like you’re actual, real people on the same level of them, experiencing the same dramas, and ups and downs that life brings. It’s also probably because you identify with that writer in particular, and why? Because the writing is real, and it’s not pretentious or putting themselves ‘above’ you in any way. It’s honest, and true, and informal, and intriguing to read.
Now I’m writing this from a viewpoint of a 24-year-old girl, and the brands and publications that I’ve read or identified with in the past ten years, to what I do now. Company Magazine was probably the first magazine that I saw began to change their tone and use words like ‘totes’, ‘obvs’, which some people may hate, but I don’t. Which is why it was a massive shock when the magazine folded. But other lifestyle magazines aimed at females in their 20s are picking up on it, and that’s because the success of bloggers talking to their audience like they are on the same of level with them is just massive. Like, HUGE.
I rarely used to read articles online and yet now, with the rising number of lifestyle bloggers actually writing thought-provoking content that is not only written well, but relatable, interesting, humorous and inspiring, I can spend a good two hours scrolling through my Twitter feed finding new blogs to read. And I’m addicted. I’m addicted to reading words that are honest and come from people who are in similar situations to you.
The reason for this? Social media was the first thing that began to encourage a friendly interaction between brands and their audiences, and the more personal this became, the more their content – both social and online – began to reflect this. I sometimes follow Twitter accounts simply because they’re witty and relatable (Innocent drinks), rather than I actually want to be updated all the time by what new smoothies are out.
And the other reason is just digital. Digital everything. Everyone and every THING is talking about digital, and probably have been for the past few years now. But writing online is massively different to writing for a printed magazine. It’s instant and reactive and conversational and fun. There are thousands of online magazines, blogs, and even brands that are now becoming ‘social’.
Who knows, maybe it’s a matter of time before the language of the internet changes, but as someone who prefers writing, and reading like this, it makes me pretty happy. Yep.