I just attended a Parsons panel on the influence of Social Media in the fashion world. Four entrepreneurs in the fashion digital world spoke very eloquently to a room full of hopeful [fill in the blanks] about finding their passion, and utilizing social media to their advantage. They were full of helpful tips, and yet I found myself feeling like the bitter Kindle-hater in the audience. I sat, practically in rebellion, writing in a paper notebook with a pen, while everyone around me Tweeted live from the event using the same hashtag. Here was some advice:
Network, obviously. Write about what you love, do what you love, blog about what you love, and the money will follow. Be strategic. Taking swag is okay: Everyone's doing it and journalists have always sold out anyway, so who cares. Stick with one theme, and if you become a really successful blogger by pigeonholing your interests, you can hopefully find brands to be interested in you. They will give you money to have you write about them, and wear their stuff, and talk about the brand. Just look at this case study of Kenneth Cole, who will give you shoes after a cool marketing dinner that you'll be invited to personally by him (via video blog).
Oh, here's another thing: There are two oceans. A red ocean, where writers live, and a blue ocean, where the opportunities live. The red ocean is full of blood, so writers should consider moving over to the blue. Oh, unless you're an Author, and then you can perhaps make a living writing. Here was a useful piece of advice: If you're a fashion writer, you can "call up a fashion blog that is written terribly and tell them you'll write it for $5,000 a month." I'll get on that! Also, "there are no blogs for women over 35, so if you have something you're passionate about, you should get out there and do it! [They] need you!" Finally, "You need to pivot what you're doing if it's not working." Oh, and traffic doesn't even matter if it's the wrong traffic.
Years ago, I stood in the back of the Barnes and Noble bookstore on 8th Street and 6th Avenue (or should I say Avenue of the Americas), and felt shame spread over myself as I read the management survival guide "Who Moved My Cheese?" from cover to cover. My cheese had moved 7 or 8 times in the same job. You see, the business world is a rodent world where we go to eat cheese. When new managers come in, they like to move the cheese around. There are those rats who will only complain about it and end up starving, because they don't adapt to the cheese's new location. Those smart rats who remain enthusiastic and follow the new cheese will survive, and perhaps even thrive under the new management.
I need to decide to be that second kind of rat and follow the new cheese. Does anyone know of a crappily written arts and culture blog about New York City, or a blog about parenting in New York that needs to be rewritten? I'd be happy to do that for you for $5,000 a month.
P.S.: The optimistic blogger and writer will reemerge shortly, filled with a new vim and vigor. I need a moment to catch my breath.