I remember a time when online blog communities were used specifically for outpourings of teenage angst. LiveJournal and Xanga were the two most popular websites (circa 2004-2006) for those who wanted, and needed, a public forum to complain about life. Contemporary young bloggers have headed in a different direction: instead of sharing their feelings online, they are sharing pictures. These pic-clickers may not even realize that they are quickly becoming capitalism’s best friend. Many of these so-called “inspiring” images being shared between bloggers are actually advertisements for various products. Other websites like: WeHeartIt.com and Pinterest have picked up on the image-sharing trend and have made websites that are dedicated solely to viewing and re-posting pictures. At least celebrities get paid to endorse merchandise, where as these bloggers are promoting brands for free. How did companies like RayBan and Vans get so lucky to have their products spread like wildfire over the internet?
The cynical side of me is wondering who takes these pictures. I don’t mean to sound like a conspiracy theorist, but it’s hard to believe that average teens have taken up commercial photography as a hobby. Yes, Andy Warhol’s art was inspired by Campbell’s, a specific brand of soup, but the brand fetish has gone too far. Young bloggers aren’t sharing their original ideas or photography anymore. It’s bad news for the creativity of our future generation, but it’s thrilling news for our clothing and cosmetic brands. You no longer need to fund a campaign!
Bloggers will promote your brand for free as long as you can pass off your products as pieces of art.