- A blogger’s influence can be quantitatively measured by going to a site like Popuri.us which gives the blog a ranking based on different criteria (such as a pagerank on Google: a rating of 5 or above means the blogger is starting to be influential). You can also check to see if the blog is well referenced, if there are lots of links to it (see Yahoosite explorer). Or, you can Google the blogger to see if they appear frequently at conferences or in the media. A lot of influential bloggers are consulted as experts or commentators by the radio and the printed press. Examples are Huffingtonpost.com and Boingboing.net.
Some bloggers are said to have more influence even than the best-known journalists. It’s certainly true in the fashion world.
Tavi Gevinson made her name with her Style Rookie blog, since when she has joined the ranks of the celebrities. In summer 2010 she attended the Marc Jacobs show, sitting in the front row, which is traditionally reserved for the best-known journalists. Anna Wintour, the famous fashion journalist who inspired the film “The Devil Wears Prada”, must be quaking in her boots! Especially since our young blogger is only 13 years old.
Then there’s Disneyrollergirl, who is rated as highly influential by the British press but has somehow managed to preserve her anonymity.
Some bloggers are not just seen as opinion leaders, but as designers or “muses”. Increasing numbers of fashion brands or major stores are commissioning them to design lines of clothes or accessories. The Target stores, for instance, invited Tavi Gevinson. Coach, the accessories maker, invited four style bloggers, including Emily Schuman of Cupcakes and Cashmere, to design a range of bags. Other brands choose, instead, to use fashion bloggers in designing their advertising or marketing campaigns. Galeries Lafayette, in France, held a competition in which the winners were given the use of the store’s windows and website in spring 2010 to set out their fashion vision for Autumn 2010. This is, admittedly, a good way of creating a buzz and using the internet to advantage.
Not always, though. Internet users increasingly see these collaborations between bloggers and brands as a turn-off. It’s hard to retain your credibility as an opinion leader when you are being paid by the very brands you are supposed to be “testing” and criticising. Or when you call the brand’s press department every morning to have clothes delivered for you to test, or to illustrate one of your posts. Spontaneity, freshness, independence and creative freedom – these are the values those bloggers used in order to make their names, back when they looked like credible alternatives to the media that had “sold out” to the brand names. Today, though, some of them at least can no longer claim to have moral superiority over journalists. But there’s more to the blogosphere than just the fashion world, and most bloggers manage to maintain their critical attitude and their independence.