For some, blogging is nothing but a shameless form of self-promotion. And while it is that, Adelaide has never bought into it. We don't have the 'laneway' culture that Melbourne has, or the pretension of Sydney. From my years of stalking (i.e. closely reading) Australian blogs, I’ve found that Adelaide bloggers are real; driven by passion, confidence and the ease that comes with building a recognizable self-brand in our city.
22 year old Adelaide blogger Jake Bley has turned what was a simple online journal into something richer and far more exciting, with an online presence exceeding that of some popular musicians or TV stars. Never heard of him? You have now. From tens of thousands of followers on his blog, www.thesecretdiaryofjake.tumblr.com, to a popular YouTube channel, Jake is but one (albeit very successful) example of an Adelaide blogger using the Internet to widen their reach to audiences across the country, and the world. He even has a fan in US celebrity blogger Perez Hilton, who featured Jake on his official Facebook in January.
Jake (pictured below) concedes that Adelaide's smaller-than-most-cities yet impressive online community makes it the perfect starting ground for blogging, writing and gaining exposure.
“Word gets around fast! Adelaide, despite the stigma of being somewhat quiet and low key, is very well connected. It's not what you know, it's who you know. Social media and social networking can get you a long way in this little city/big town.”
What perhaps makes the success of his blog all the more fascinating is the distinct lack of posturing. No hipster fashion photos or love soliloquies, Jake’s blog is simply his day-to-day life.
“My blog covers my life, through my eyes. It varies from what I did to the weekend, to that horrible date that I had last night. If I love something, I'll blog about it. If I hate something, I'll blog about it twice. The great thing is that my blog covers exactly what I want it to, I'm in control.”
With followers across the world, including America, Europe and even Asia, Jake’s blog is putting Adelaide on the map. Literally.
“People are curious to what this diverse and charming city I live in has to offer. Through my lifestyle, people can follow and see firsthand an honest opinion and perspective of Adelaide. I think people really respect that. I would say ultimately blogging has a much stronger effect on an individual and local tourism. The content is not censored; it is real, honest and unguarded. I like to keep my followers full of envy with fresh and very real pictures of what this awesome city and country have to offer.”
Now back in Adelaide after finishing his university degree and travelling across America and Asia for 10 weeks, Jake is enjoying the aftershock his blog’s newfound success is having on the other facets of his life.
“My blog inspired me to travel. From it transpired an amazing trip where I met other amazing bloggers from around the world that wouldn't have happened otherwise, and I formed friendships that will last much further than the keyboard I'm typing on. I’ve also been contacted by companies regarding positions within their firms through my blogging.”
Fashion writer and model Chloë Sargeant (pictured below) has also been lucky enough to attend local and international fashion events through her fashion and style blog, Swim with the Current (www.swimwiththecurrent.wordpress.com)
“Bloggers have become a power in themselves, especially in the fashion industry, and this has opened up many doors for me personally,' says Chloë. 'I think the top of that list for my time with Swim with the Current would be Rosemount Australian Fashion Week in 2011. It was my first Australian fashion week, and I met some huge names in the fashion industry.”
“I do get invited to local fashion events because of the blog, which is a massive perk, but it isn’t why I do it – I blog for the love of it! Once I got recognised in the street too… that was a complete trip.”
On Adelaide’s fashion blogging scene, Chloë says she's impressed. “We have so many talented designers, photographers, makeup artists and stylists. We're spoilt for choice, really. SWTC doesn't just focus on local content, I write about South Australian, Australian and international fashion. Adelaide has such an interesting and eclectic street style though, which makes our city really fun to photograph and post about. Especially during the Fringe!”
And when discussing popular Adelaide video bloggers, one needn’t look further than Johnee Ayson. Inspired by a fellow video blogger, Johnee began blogging and ‘vlogging’ back ‘in the day of dialup times’.
“I’d stumbled upon a Canadian YouTube user named Andrew, gunnarolla on YouTube, who had some pretty stellar videos on his channel. They weren't just vlogs; they were edited well and had nifty camera tricks. I was in awe, and thus was born my role model in the land of YouTube!” he says.
“I wanted to make cool videos just like him, and my style of vlogging slightly altered to accommodate some form of entertainment for any audiences I may have had at the time.”
It’s safe to say there’s an audience now – to date, Johnee’s YouTube channel (www.youtube.com/user/johneepixels7) has well over 24,000 subscribers, with thousands of Tumblr and Twitter followers to boot.
‘It's still kind of cool to think that at some point more than 24,000 people thought I was worthy enough to watch and follow,” says Johnee (pictured left)
“I've always wanted to have a record of my life one way or another and have kept some form of a journal since I was 14. I've always thought it would be cool to just look back when I'm 80 and go, ‘What the fudge was I thinking back then?’”
Regardless of the reasons behind starting blogs, it is evident there is definite room for both individual and professional growth and achievement through blogging.
Jake Bley adds: “Blogging exposes you for who you are, what you stand for and what you have to offer. It’s endearing and can be highly respected if executed correctly.”
“We all like to be more connected; we all like to share how we feel without being too pushy. I'd say blogging is getting more popular, particularly in Adelaide, because it is in retrospect a smaller city, and gives individuals a global outreach.”
“Adelaide can be claustrophobic at times. Blogging allows an individual to spread their wings and rid the phobia.”
When it comes to blogs in Adelaide, the writing is on the wall. Or in this case, the Tumblr/Wordpress/Blogspot text box. If you have something to say, something you love or something that just grinds your gears – write about it. Start a blog or YouTube channel. Tweet it. It’s a given that in Adelaide, or anywhere else in the world, someone will start reading and taking notice.
And for the blog neophyte, here are just a few of my favourite Adelaide-based blogs and bloggers:
www.smashdisco.tumblr.com – Anonymous music lover and 'cowbell aficionado'
This writer too has a blog (www.lifeandtimesofgianni.tumblr.com), but it doesn't hold a candle to any of those I've just mentioned.