Fucking Internet Content, Man.

by Jessica Brookman in

Let's talk about the integrity of your work.

But first, I need to talk about fashion. Just for a sec!  This post is not about fashion. I promise. It's about writing and the internet and copycats and being a bastard.

Here is some David Bowie to make reading about fashion more bearable. You are welcome. Please bear with me. 

Last month, Suzy Menkes @ The New York Times called fashion blogging a circus over the course of the F/W2013 shows. It's funny, because fashion IS a circus in many ways with or without bloggers.  But even when applied across industries, this type of complaint feels to me more like the old guard hanging onto the particular method they used to get where they are (nepotism and blowjobs? jk?) rather than a substantive complaint against skilled bloggers. 

What's that? The internet is full of shitty content? Yes, it's true! There ARE a lot of boring blogs rehashing the same tired shit. But there are some true innovators as well. Since the internet is more crowded than ever, standing out is not an accident. Growing and leveraging an audience is proof of either exceptional content or exceptional biz/marketing. And, in exemplary cases, it's proof of both. That's commendable. 

So, respect the game, you publishing fascists. Change or die.

But there also seems to be some vitriole bubbling up in the blogosphere over the....uh....State of Blogging itself. You know, how bloggers are making money, how new internet people are just showing up (and snatching up all the jobs! grrr!) and how-shitty-content-is-ruining-it-for-everyone-oh-my-god

Since you're reading this slice of the web, you should know that I made a choice not to run advertising (at all) or branded content (unless i have creative control) on this site.  So, unlike many bloggers (er...sorry, people who write on the internet?), I'm not really swiping for a piece of the same marketing-spend pie. I'm just here for the free access to your brains. (Say hi, by the way, you fucking weirdos). 

So why do you give a fuck about good content? 

Well, we give a fuck because the fate of monetized content matters. We give a fuck because digital is eating print. And TV. We give a fuck, as internet folk,  because the web still offers unparalleled access to content that may not have been represented without being born in independent channels. We give a fuck because the internet has created inroads to more established industries (like fashion, film, television, publishing) where there were few for independents before.

Or, we give a fuck because this is America (goddammit!) and many of us would be disgruntled post office employees with Ivy League degrees without the internet. But, um, I digress. Good ideas are worth fighting for. Fresh content is worth protecting. That's why watching the internet fill-up with repackaged versions of the same shit ideas is aggravating. That's why it makes my internal organs bleed to watch the internet turn into a sponsored-by cesspool. But, imitation is human nature. And the internet is a magnifying glass on the petri dish of human dysfunction. So how to rise above? 

Since the web is full of dull copies. Be brilliant. 

Keep the integrity in your work and make it really fucking good. No matter what nonsense is going on around you. Instead of reading a bunch of bad blogs and getting your digital panties in a bunch, focus on what you love and put it into the world. Keep evolving. Be a bastard about it. Fuck the rest. 

Maybe, I just don't understand the fuss. But, I'm not really a blogger. I just write. Writing is hard to fake. (btw, Suzy, I'm just standing on the outside of the circus tent...watching all you freaks and taking notes so I can tell a story later. OK?!) Anyway, what I've got is a way with words, images, and music. Other than that, I can barely remember which day of the week it is, let alone when to post things here. 

For me, trying become something I am not seems less time-efficient and more painful than trying to become one of the gnarliest, most vivid storytellers in the history of LA....or, you know, some better city to which I will inevitably move when Los Angeles is swallowed back into Hades. 

So, Internet, that's how I'm spending my time these days. What are you doing?

xoxo, Jessa.

On (No Longer) Being a One-Woman Show

by Jessica Brookman in

FACT: When your project ideas get big enough, you can't do everything alone. Make friends. 

Here's a thing, I have a team of people who love and support me. Thank the universe, they also hold me accountable and forgive me when I act like the love child of Charles Bukowski and Joan Rivers (I wish): 

True. I haven't written this week. At least, not here. Sometimes, despite being a brutal insomniac, the days slip away from me. 

Since I decided to focus on my creative projects this year, I've had to get brutally honest about how I spend my time. In addition to this blog, I do freelance social media & creative consulting. I'm also developing a series for which the research is...viscerally intense, let's say. 

I've been a one-woman show for a while; and I prided myself on building web properties up single-handedly or in small teams. It was an education, for sure. Then there's, you know, all of the parts of life that don't end up on the blog.

Plus, a girl needs a little bit of free time to relax and indulge in some of California's finest agricultural products, if you get me. 

 So, what I'm saying is, I've been burning the candle at both ends. I am exhausted.

But I am still on a mission. And, LUCKILY ( !!! ) since my post about advertising and monetizing content as well as my personal mission statement "The First Draft of Anything is Shit,a few lovely people have crawled out of the digital woodwork to offer me advice and/or development assistance. I'm happy to be offloading some of the behind-the-scenes work here so I can take a nap shortly. 

So what will be happening here?

  • The content will still be written and edited by me (and guests).
  • The content will (still) be independent of marketing objective. 
  • The site itself is getting a minor facelift and better organization. 

In terms of content and mission, I'm most interested in researching and opening dialogues about human sexuality, love, and how these things transform our lives. 

But once in a while creative block still hits. What's a girl to do? Ask her friends for topics: 


OK. Maybe not. Back to real, actual writing. More soon...



A Note on Advertising, Audience, & Content Creation

by Jessica Brookman in

Burt Clifton

Burt Clifton

I'm about to cross the 20k views line on this blog. And, for what it's worth, this is a clean blog. All of the traffic is organic. And, of course, I'd like that number to continue to grow.   I know I'm not the only one doing what I'm doing, so maybe all of you fellow creatives, writers, marketers can weigh in here as well...

But I have been faced with a dilemma.

As a person who would like to create content to share my ideas and point of view for the rest of my life, I'm obviously thinking about how to make a living from doing that. It would be stupid not to. I'd probably have to get a full-time job or something if I stopped...

Over the past two years, I've tried different avenues such as running traditional ads, creating branded and promoted posts on my old blog, as well as consulting for brands and media channels to create and produce content for them, which was not in conjunction with my web presence at all (mostly this). 

Social media is a collection of consumer-level distribution channels at its core. It has ushered in the age of content marketing. And with that, it becomes more difficult to separate advertising from independent opinion. The intents of bloggers and online publishers -- who are, ever-increasingly, the brands themselves -- are less and less distinct. The marriage between brands and content producers has made for some some great opportunities (sure), but it's also saturated the internet with cursorily-disguised attempts to sell from every angle and at all times.

Becoming successful as a blogger has devolved in some ways to mean being able to monetize your taste -- turn your readers into consumers for products that you're creating content around for a fee or a cut. This is fine. But it's not what I want to do. Let me explain...

But first, an observation on my audience here: I've noticed a phenomenon with the content I've been publishing here and the audience I'm developing. For starters, how YOU, my readers, are engaging with what I write is, in many ways, very private. 

I receive a healthy number of comments and questions, most of which are privately emailedtumblr'd, and/or facebook'ed my way. This is awesome. Please keep doing this -- it fuels my content here and...uh....makes me feel like less of a fucking weirdo. Given this trend, I feel it would be unfit (and even rude in some ways) to run traditional advertisements on this blog -- an invasion of privacy, almost.

You've also cited the voice of this blog. And that is extremely important to me. 

So, back to the issue at hand, which is making a living with integrity. Like I said, I don't want to monetize my taste. I like my taste, but frankly, I could hardly care less about having the same taste as anyone else. In short, I'd like to write and make cool shit. I'd like to continue to evolve and create content for (at least) the internet. And I'd like to do it on my own terms. If other people like the stuff I make -- awesome. We can hang out, have a party, and discuss. Virtually or otherwise. 

But I will never write or make something that feels devoid of value to me. If this means that I'll never be able to bring you a "very personal moment care of  BRAND X," so be it. If so, this blog will be devoid of branded content. However, if there are projects where I feel like I can add something unique to this series of tubes that has value beyond creating the desire to buy something, great. Let's do it. 

But I have a fucking opinion. And I left my corporate job in 2011 looking for freedom of expression. And I have come too far to turn back now, internets. I'm simply not willing to stop having an opinion just to be marketable. 

In summary, I have decided that this blog will be 100% ad-free. 

It will also be product-placement free unless I am able to create a piece of original content that has inherent expressive and/or discursive value (i.e. not just marketing value for the brand).

That said, I'm specifically interested in creating short video content and, as usual, editorials.

I'm on a steep learning curve right now. But, I have made a life of being able to start running; build somethings from nothings, over and over and as needed. The "nothing" phase is NOT comfortable. But, so far, it hasn't killed me. It hurts so good. I'm going to keep doing it. Cool? Cool. 

Like this? Want to help? Let's talk about it. GET AT ME.