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This post is sponsored but all opinions are my own: does fashion blogging offer an authentic voice? An investigation into the credibility of fashion blogger sponsored content and blogger perspectives on the tensions between authenticity and commercialisation.

Dargie, Helen

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Abstract

This study investigates the impact of commercial sponsorship upon fashion blogging, a form of digital communication that has become important in influencing online consumer behaviour. Fashion companies appreciate the marketing value of blogs and have utilised them to their own advantage. As a result, the fashion blogosphere has become increasingly commercialised. Existing research into changes in fashion blogging has generally focused upon the attitudes and perspectives of blog readers. Relatively little research investigates the attitude of fashion bloggers themselves. This thesis therefore specifically examines the attitudes of UK fashion bloggers as regards the impact of commercial sponsorship upon their practice and on the credibility and authenticity of their blog output. This study takes an interpretative, qualitative research approach with a combination of an online questionnaire and in-depth interviews. It focuses upon over 300 fashion bloggers divided into three distinct groups: young and old active bloggers and significantly a third group of bloggers who have discontinued the activity. A review of existing literature identified a number of key areas for exploration: the effect of sponsorship upon blogger motivation, design and content of blog output, the pressures upon bloggers resulting from accepting sponsorship rewards, blogger perception of the impact that commercialisation may have had upon their practice values, the potential effect of sponsorship upon their relationship with readers, their views on the changing status of the fashion blogosphere and their role as fashion bloggers. The findings offer a number of new perspectives upon the evolving fashion-blog sector, especially with reference to the following themes: the personal pressures felt by some fashion bloggers as a consequence of their involvement with commercial partnerships and the negative impact that this can have upon their mental health; the increased discrepancy between the ways in which fashion bloggers talk about their practice and the reality of their actual online behaviour as regards disclosure of sponsored material, self-censorship and reluctance to be critical; the increased priority that many fashion bloggers now place upon commercial opportunities rather than their relationship with readers. This research is of significance as it has explored the tensions affecting fashion blogger attitudes and practice from their own point of view. It has specifically analysed the general decline of social community in the fashion blogosphere and the impact that this has had upon the authenticity and credibility of the fashion blogger voice.

Citation

DARGIE, H. 2021. This post is sponsored but all opinions are my own: does fashion blogging offer an authentic voice? An investigation into the credibility of fashion blogger sponsored content and blogger perspectives on the tensions between authenticity and commercialisation. Robert Gordon University, PhD thesis. Hosted on OpenAIR [online]. Available from: https://doi.org/10.48526/rgu-wt-1603638

Thesis Type Thesis
Deposit Date Feb 25, 2022
Publicly Available Date Feb 25, 2022
Keywords Fashion and social media; Social media and fashion; Blogging; Sponsorship; Commercialisation; Online influencers
Public URL https://rgu-repository.worktribe.com/output/1603638
Publisher URL https://doi.org/10.48526/rgu-wt-1603638

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