zoella posts

#GirlOnline – Literary Talent Decline?

December 7, 2014

zoella_girlonline-book

If you’ve been residing anywhere other than beneath a rock, you’ll be all too aware of the current shitstorm surrounding the revelation that Zoella’s record-breaking book wasn’t penned organically, but instead written by a ghostwriter – seemingly YA novel freelancer Siobhan Curham. I’d just like to slip in the disclaimer that I am not an aspiring novelist/blogger/vlogger: my passion lies solely in creating articles akin to the one you’re currently eyeing with inevitable scepticism. Since the news dropped, the Twittersphere has been awash with clashing opinions, with many denouncing anyone who dares speak out against a fellow blogger, especially queen bee Zoella – mainly putting any negativity down to mere jealousy.

Am I jealous? Naturally – I’m human; if somebody is earning more money and acclaim, in an area that they have no skill in (I’m sorry, but if you frequent Zoe’s written blog, you’ll struggle to argue that she is a strong writer), jealousy will inevitably weave its way in here. However, as I said, I’m not looking to write novels – but I feel so cripplingly angry for those who are and don’t get a sniff in, purely because they don’t have the Disney Princess aesthetics to convey through YouTube vlogs about lipstick, and consequently, can’t score a Penguin publishing deal. A two book deal, no less.

Literature is dying. There, I said it. If you can’t write a novel, don’t write a novel. If you can’t write a novel but you can afford to get someone to write a novel for you, definitely do not write a damn novel. The use of ghostwriters for autobiographies is far less deplorable: some people need a little help to tell their own stories – but to take on an art form that, unless stated/outed, implies that you can, or have penned, an entire novel? Then to reap the benefits of becoming an inspiration to a generation of young girls, despite really only having the ability to be gloriously endearing and pretty nifty with bobby pins? Unbelievable.

Many well-known bloggers such as Lily Melrose and Zoe London have chimed in on the debate, arguing pro-Zo, with statements such as “anything that supports young people picking up books and taking time to actually READ is good enough for me” and “Hardly any mainstream art is created by it’s author. Yup. That Beyonce song you love? Of course she didn’t write it.” (sic), respectively. Whilst I definitely agree with Melrose’s sentiment, this isn’t the issue at hand – surely it’s more damaging to glamourise the idea that, as long as you sit in front of a YouTube channel for ‘x’ amount of hours and procure enough followers: you will automatically become an amazing author/designer/singer/whatever-the-hell-you-want?

With Zoe London’s response, I completely disagree – the example of Beyonce is moot for one. Beyonce is a singer. Granted, I don’t agree with the fact she mightn’t write most of her material and is often coined ‘singer/songwriter’, but she shot to fame predominantly due to her voice. Nobody is singing Beyonce’s songs for her – so let her have that bit more integrity for her name on her album cover, than for ‘ZOE SUGG’ emblazoned on a book that she contributed so little talent to.

I spoke to a number of Zoe’s fans on Twitter and asked them “What inspires you about Zoella?”. Most answers left me crawling up the wall and wishing it wasn’t Sunday evening, so I could source a large bottle of wine. They ranged from the endearing lines of ‘she’s doing something she loves and following her dreams’ (which in actuality was riddled with bad grammar – #GirlOnline can’t be that helpful, eh), to a downright disturbing exchange in which a girl refused to see any other career prospects than “YouTube singer” or “famous vlogger”. I’m all for ambition, irrespective of where it’s headed, but we’re creating a generation of “When I grow up, I want to be a professional vlogger” clones – which is a self-perpuating fucked-up fantasy, in which advertisers and agencies will only further profit at the naivety of youth.

Why doesn’t Zoella step away from her prop of a pen and instead, start a vlogging series about the importance of books – even create an online book club, in which she focuses on a novel every few weeks, where viewers have to race to read it and keep up with her? If she has the power to break the records of J K Rowling, I’m pretty sure she can put her little head (shameless brand name) to that, no?

Get Your Vlog On: 5 Handy Vlogging Tips.

December 29, 2013

Zoella – Arguably the UK’s most successful fashion/beauty vlogger.

Vlogging – a fine way to show your pretty face and yanner on about the contents of your make-up bag to the World Wide Web. I do like the occasional mooch through bloggers’ YouTube accounts, especially anything intrusive, like ‘What’s in my Handbag?’ – but I’ve got to put it out there, I’m no vlogger at heart. Hate/despise/abhor the sound of my own voice and I’d spend the duration of the clip poring over whether my teeth looked particularly wonky that day. However, I have done a good bit of research into vlogging in my time, lest I ever brave the big(?) screen…

  • Keep It Short and Sweet

Yes, I understand that having a 30+ minute video may appear like you’ve put in a lot of effort but, on the whole, I could bet that you’re just waffling on about what you had for dinner last night by 25 minutes in: keep it snappy. In this glorious digital age of lunacy, its a rarity when someone dedicates more than 10-15 minutes of their life to watch the creations of some random Internet person, so be sure to get your point across cohesively in as short a time as is humanly possible. If your clip is ridiculously long, get editing and cut out that major tangent about next door’s pervy grandson at the Boxing Day party…

  • Consider Platforms

If the prospect of sitting in front of a camera for an elongated period of time fills you with dread, look for different methods of video production. If you’re artsy and like to think outside the box, perhaps consider creating a nifty little Instagram piece – something animated or heavily edited, if you’re that way inclined. This way, you can ensure you keep your viewers’ interest and still make sure they know exactly who you are, what you do, and how damn good you are at it.

  • Go Big or Go Home

If you’re one of those lucky famed bloggers – candy coloured hair, stick thin legs and a £1,000+ DSLR type – maintaining the image of a super cool, hip’n’happenin’ fashionista is highly important. Personally, I’m in this for the words – I don’t have the camera for taking fancy pictures, and I don’t always have much patience for leaving my bed – but, professionally-made video production could be a great option for well-known bloggers. If you’re Manchester-based like me, have a gander at this Northern Quarter company. 

  • Create a Series

Creating a series is a brilliant way to get viewers returning to your site. Make it something relevant to now: e.g. a new upcoming make-up product with different colour swatches being released over a short period of time. That way, once your viewers have checked out your first piece, they’ll be more likely to subscribe to ensure that they don’t miss out on the next instalment. Be sure to name each video with the same clause so that people know it’s the next one!

  • Think Pretty – Yes, Really

I know it’s lame as hell, but us fashion/beauty blogging lot – we’re big fans of all things aesthetically pleasing, so make sure that your videos are all-singing, all-dancing super edited masterpieces. The most successful V-loggers out there use all sorts of fades and effects to make their videos stand out from the rest, so be sure to do some homework before you just throw any old thing at YouTube. Remember, whatever you post in connection with your blog will represent you: don’t do a shoddy job!


Ebony. 25. Manchester.
Marketing Manager who likes to mouth off on here about stuff she cares about. Expect mental health, Borderline Personality Disorder, and reviews - from restaurants, to books, to fashion. Talks to cats more than people, but seemingly has a lot to say.
ebonylaurenn@gmail.com