“Personal Brands” are Only Killing Lifestyle Journalism

“Personal Brands” are Only Killing Lifestyle Journalism

A Story by Gapelian Society
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Gapelian brainstorming sessions

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A Crisis in Long-form Journalism


Blogging as we know it has excelled at easily turning everybody into publishers. As a result, content quality has lowered and great stories get lost in continuous torrents of information. Breaking news, tweets and status updates are evidently insufficient to make us a more informed society. Authentic stories are life-changing, but the fascination about knowledge inside of books has been taken away by today’s information systems. Step back and realize how people read tweets instead of reading books, it is heart breaking.

The appearance of “personal brands” is a prime example of how authentic journalism is at stake. Lost in a myriad of infinite posts, where “lolcats” grab more attention than poetry, journalists and creatives need to worry first about promoting themselves than producing great stories that improve the world. “Personal branding” is just the consequence of remarkable articles and books being considered “user-generated” content, and broadcasted in the same pool as “lolcats”. Quality fades away in favor of trending. What used to be self-expression is now a commodity measured in page-views.

Almost every type of journalism has been negatively impacted by this trend of information overload and such need to emphasize “personal brands”. Gapelia brainstorms about a better place for the ones that finds most endangered and influencing: lifestyle and cultural media.

Does Lifestyle Storytelling actually exist?


No doubt, people love to blog and post topics they are passionate about, whether it is travel, music, food, technology, art or history. This information has a great impact in influencing society and trends, and of course, drives purchase decisions. Unfortunately, current information systems do not support authentic and knowledgeable lifestyle stories, but rather, a continuous trend of “selfie” blogging and biased opinions. Again, today’s media pushes “personal branding” and diminishes storytelling.

Do not get this wrong, there are true lifestyle storytellers out there, and it is precisely this relatively small group of authentic content creators who grab millions of views on their stories without the need of micro-blogging. But it is not only about the content and the author, but also about the form and collaboration.

Great storytellers broadcast their craft in discipline-specific sites, like Flickr for photographers, Vimeo for filmmakers or Medium for writers. There is clearly a gap across disciplines to collaborate in publishing better stories; and it is not only about the creation of a richer multi-media story through multi-disciplinary collaboration, but also about bringing back something lost in today’s social publishing space: peer-reviewing.

It would be nice to see a hybrid between The New Yorker’s peer-reviewed authentic essays and the visual impact of National Geographic; something crowd-sourced as a Wikipedia article, and collaborative as Google Docs; something that could be sharable as a YouTube video, but in the form of something lost in the Internet: a book.

Ideation


Gapelia is a thought, an idealistic concept of long form blogging where users collaborate in publishing digital books. Users would add books to specific libraries, which could be followed and feed the site’s recommendation engine. Similarly to Reddit, all content would be ranked through a voting system that aims to increase the exposure of the very best pieces, rather than focusing on the latest information, like Medium seems to do. A place designed to publish and read high quality stories tailored to your lifestyle.

Within this concept lays the importance of defining “lifestyle”, as to determine which content has a space in a lifestyle storytelling medium. It would make sense that all stories needed to be geo-tagged in order to get published, since most activities are related to specific places. As stories are intrinsically about creating intimate connections between writer and reader, it would also be interesting to add “emotion tags” to every story as well. “Lifestyle” is a broad word, but definitely always includes a place, a passion and a human emotion. Could you think of any other component defining your lifestyle? Maybe a soundtrack?

© 2013 Gapelian Society


Author's Note

Gapelian Society
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The cyclic nature of human interests will bring the trends of storytelling back in time. However, the popularity of oil painting, masterpieces, will never return unless that is the only medium available for the passionately artistic. The same holds true for other forms of artistic expression. The artist is compelled to express intangible feelings from inside themselves, by creating a tangible product to be shared with the world. Few of the great masters were recognized in their time. The audience did not appreciate them until much later someone went through a pile of old paintings and said "Wow, these are better than the average paintings."

Posted 10 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.




Reviews

The cyclic nature of human interests will bring the trends of storytelling back in time. However, the popularity of oil painting, masterpieces, will never return unless that is the only medium available for the passionately artistic. The same holds true for other forms of artistic expression. The artist is compelled to express intangible feelings from inside themselves, by creating a tangible product to be shared with the world. Few of the great masters were recognized in their time. The audience did not appreciate them until much later someone went through a pile of old paintings and said "Wow, these are better than the average paintings."

Posted 10 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Not having submitted myself in any degree to blogging, Twitter, etc etc, and being a longstanding reader i see that this would be a welcome and engaging platform for cultivating an alignment of intellect. Historically intelligentsia were centered around particular cities or districts of cities. The beauty of the net is that the whole planet is united, so the potential of a "universal intelligentsia" becomes a reality! But there are two few "gathering places" for creatures of intellect, indeed I have witnessed a number of sites that started as a beautiful creation and decayed into something lower, in part due to no workable methodology for maintaining a standard. Further, there is a definite NEED for a forum for the longer and more articulate "treatises of culture." Books are the primary medium that circulates knowledge and information throughout the society and into future generations. That the data could be rated and classic value level information be "tagged" would be a great boon to cultural enrichment. Imagine if the classics of past ages remained unknown to but a few because they were buried under too cumbersome a mass of information to be found! The current state of data presentation on the worldwide web is somewhat of a glut. Effective indexes to information are an extremely valuable and welcome asset in ones quest for knowledge!

Posted 10 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

A server farm running some flavor of Linux -- an elegant database such as Oracle would serve if it was built with an intelligent schema from the very first. Then your search engine would work in subtle tandem. In my former career, this was the kind of thing I specialized in (and experienced critical burnout due to). Now I just wallow in retirement and write poems, Jabberwocky, short stories and high interstellar fantasy. Your concept sounds fascinating: a refined cloud free from trolls. What a concept.

Posted 10 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

What we need is a better Search Engine whereby readers may find the kind of poem or story that they are looking for. Each of my poems would be inserted into this search engine according to its form and content. A Cray super-computer could sort everything out using fuzzy logic.

Posted 10 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

I am in complete accord with this philosophy. Well expressed.

Posted 10 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.


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Added on October 15, 2013
Last Updated on October 15, 2013
Tags: #journalism #media #lifestyle #s

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Gapelian Society
Gapelian Society

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About
Every day, millions of Tweets, Pins, and Facebook posts overtake traditional journalism and media. The Gapelian Society emerges from a group of cultural entrepreneurs who realize the need for a new ki.. more..

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