In the early history of the internet, the blog became the king of content—from specialised blogs on fashion and other niche interests, to the thoughts on current affairs and politics.
In the early history of the internet, the blog became the king of content—from specialised blogs on fashion and other niche interests, to the thoughts on current affairs and politics. In Wales, as social media and new advances in technology and the internet, the blog scene thrives, from local meet ups to making connections.
Every year, the achievements of bloggers in Wales culminate with the annual Wales Blog Awards, organised by the PR firm Warwick Emanuel PR and Media Wales, which publishes the Wales Online news web site and newspapers
For those behind the sites, blogging has become more than just a platform of expression. It has become a community.
For Gemma Southgate, who blogs at the fashion blog Fat Frocks, and is part of the Cardiff Blogs team, which links bloggers across Cardiff, says blogging has become a link to communities across Wales, including in Cardiff. Southgate saw a couple of blogs, including the food blog French for Cupcake, and got involved immediately.
“I like blogging because I don’t live in a city and all my friends are spread out over Wales and Europe so blogging helps me feel connected in a more rural setting,” Southgate said. “The population is pretty dispersed in Wales and blogging can link those in the north or the Valleys.”
However, there is a difficulty in standing out, particularly with the increase of fashion blogs.
“I’ve made a real effort to improve my photography and layout to make my blog more attractive but the key is engaging content,” Southgate said. “I try to focus on quality and not quantity now, one to two posts a week with plenty of great photos is my aim. Posts that go down well with other bloggers are my more fashion based posts but reviews of restaurants and attractions in South Wales get a lot of views from google search results for things to do in Wales.”
Yet, Southgate believes that blogging is a hobby, even as the medium of the blog changes. Indeed, the view of a blog being a hobby also is true for Sarah Chong.
The voice of Wales
Chong moved to Wales 3 years ago, but had been blogging independently for a decade from England. Chong said blogging is evolving and continues to be relevant. She isn’t interested in monetization, but the connections.
“It’s not something that has died out,” Chong said. “There is a group of people that’s started new stuff. It is evolving, but as an activity, blogging is still relevant in Wales and in the UK.”
Chong adds that the Welsh are willing to try anything, including blogging.
“The Welsh are very patriotic and enthusiastic as a nation. People are willing to try stuff. Blogging is part of that.”
As the number of blogs increase, so does the publicity and awareness surrounding Wales. Rose Sgueglia, the Managing Director of Miss Squiggles Communications (and also maintains a blog under that name), says the blog is increasingly becoming the brand voice of Wales.
“There’s so much going in Wales, so much to see and visit,” Sgueglia said. “Cardiff, specifically, has grown so much in the past ten years. It’s a community of professional people who usually have 9-5 jobs but still find the time to explore their passion including blogging.”
The Blog Awards are also integral, Sgueglia says, to recognise the role bloggers have and the talent they have to offer.
“It’s also great to have the Blog Awards every year to celebrate the best bloggers the city has to offer,” Sgueglia said. “It’s important to recognise their talent.”
The bond of community
But, in the long term, this community of bloggers is focused on the future of Cardiff, and making it better for all through friends, connections and their bond of community through blogging, including for Southgate.
“I’ve met so many wonderful people through blogging,” Southgate said. “I’ve been to a friends’ wedding who I met through my blog and been on holidays with a group of twelve bloggers. I continue to blog because I value the connections I make through blogging and enjoy the exciting opportunities it has brought me.”
Indeed, Chong says, competition is out of the question – it’s all about the community.
“People care about each other here,” Chong says, adding that Cardiff is a very tight knit community. “I don’t consider competition, my blog is about me. I see it as a family rather than competitors.”
Editor’s note: This article was amended on 10 August to correct the spelling of Rose Sgueglia’s surname. Kettle apologises for the error.
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