Grill the guru at the Handpicked Media Gets Social conference!

The thing I love about about blogging (and Tweeting too actually) is that it makes me feel part of a community in away that working in magazines never did. It’s generally less competitive, less territorial and there’s a fluid exchange of thoughts, opinions and ideas. In that spirit I’m pleased to say I will we taking part in the Handpicked Media Gets Social event at RIBA in London on November 21st.

A day-long interactive blogging event, it’s a place for  bloggers to meet, mingle and discover how to develop and enhance their blogs, build on their successes and pick up a few tips on how to interact with (and occasionally fend off!) PRs, drive traffic to their sites and deal with the ever-changing blogging landscape. There’ll be luxury goody bags on offer too, of course, and there’s the chance to meet some of the biggest brands and bloggers in the business! And me.

I’ll be appearing on the Beauty Panel, along with Fluer de Force, The Beauty Button and A Beauty Junkie in London, and will be providing an insight into the male grooming side of the industry and a male perspective on proceedings. I don’t bite (well, only when excited) so if you fancy giving me a grilling do come a long!

For more info, and to book your place click here.

up the blog!

grabAs a relative newcomer to blogging I’m fascinated by people’s reactions to it. I must admit, it took me a long time to get my head around it. But as each day goes by I begin to understand its power and wonderful unpredictability.

As a journalist with nearly 20 years experience, I can fully understand why so many people – particularly those in the ‘industry’ – are so scared by its presence. The blog is the Princess Di of journalism – alluring, compelling but something of a loose cannon. Its unpredictability is legendary and attempts by large corporations to manipulate bloggers’ opinions have backfired spectacularly.

But it’s not just the big corporations who are scared of blogs – so are journalists. If you want proof of this take a look at the latest report on beauty blogging on WGSN, the world’s leading fashion and style forecaster (and a company with its own excellent blogs). In it, the beauty editor of the Telegraph Magazine expresses a somewhat lofty dismay at the current raft of beauty blogs saying: “Those who set up blogs and say what they do and don’t like have no authority. I find that, in the main, the information they provide isn’t helpful to the consumer.” The article goes on to say that she sees blogging as an excuse to set up a platform to talk about yourself.

Now, I don’t know the beauty editor in question personally so have absolutely no axe to grind here but frankly I have yet to meet a journalist who doesn’t want to talk about themselves – especially that particular breed of hack who prefers the more gentrified moniker of ‘columnist’. And I very much suspect that when she talks about bloggers lacking authority she is referring to Joe public rather than the increasing number of her established colleagues in the beauty and grooming industry who now have blogs. But if she is referring to the scores of amateur writers out there who like to give their honest appraisal of a new product so what? Who says that an ordinary punter’s review of an eye cream or aftershave balm is any less valid just because they’re not a journalist (and often one cajoled with lavish press gifts and with powerful advertisers to placate)?

As a fellow hack myself I totally understand her apprehension about the format (it has the potential to change the nature of journalism forever) but to ignore or dismiss blogging it is to deny, Canute-style, its increasing influence in the industry. I’m sorry, but blogging is here. Get used to it.

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