1. 1. BACKGROUND INFORMATION
Social media is a recently emerged media with the wide impact on personal as well as business communication. A communication model where addresser sends messages to passive receivers has been replaced by a new dynamic model where all participants have the opportunity to actively interact during the entire communication process. Concerning the business sphere, there is a hesitance to start fully communicating on this level as the character of this kind of media brings potential risk of losing full control over the information spread within the Web 2.0 sphere.
Despite a certain reticence within the business sphere, social media can be very beneficial in areas of public relations and marketing, particularly in an industry like fashion where recognition and identification with customers as well as building up strong image and corporate culture has always been essential, and due to recent social developments has become even more emphasized. Within last couple of years fashion has become a global industry composed of variety of local markets diverse in lifestyle, religion, and culture which makes the recognition and identification with particular customers more complex (Easey, 2002). Simultaneously the revolution in communication caused the global information spread where any users can easily follow and discuss any trends and fashion news distributed world-wide as well as easily search for any collections and purchase them online. Those practices underlined the importance of strong corporate image and culture which would differentiate brand from its competitors, supply additional value and raise loyal customers.
Because of the character of social media, and particularly blogs which are the main object of this research, and because of the character of contemporary fashion industry, to start using this kind of media as a communication tool might seem as a natural development. However as it will be demonstrated fashion industry is reserved in using this kind of media. It does not mean though that social media and blogs do not concern fashion industry. In fact online fashion journalism has become phenomenon with a great impact on the industry itself.
Blogging in general is considered as a new form of online journalism, enjoying great attention of users, based on a personal and interactive approach, which
according to some brings advantages over mainstream media. Critics object that blogs cannot clarify as a form of journalism as it lacks proper journalistic practices, guaranteeing quality and credible reporting. As it will be illustrated blogs are based on very different principles than classic journalism, and rather than multiple angular reporting cooperating with variety of sources the authentic presenta
According to some, fashion blogs are enjoying great popularity because they offer an alternative opinion for anybody to actively create or consume fashion without requirement of any kind of costs. Thus fashion blogs are perceived as a “street of fashion”, as a source of public opinion and display of actual use of fashion by general public (Bollier and Racine, 2005). For those reasons fashion blogs can be assisting not only as an inspiration during the creation process, but also as a source of public opinion, interests and preferences in fashion public relation and marketing. Nevertheless for certain reasons established and well-known fashion brands and designers do not incorporate blogs into their corporate communication (Okonkwo, 2007, Guzelis, 2010), which however it does not mean that fashion blogs have no impact on the industry.
There are bloggers, and online journalists providing content valuable enough that they managed to build up wide audience, and even influenced mainstream media and the fashion industry. As those bloggers do not come from the industry itself, it addresses a question; who are they?, and how do their blogs look like?.
1.2. OBJECTIVE OF THE STUDY:
Even though there is plenty of research, concerning blogs and blogging, practically no research has been done in area of contemporary fashion blogging which would provide satisfactory answers to those questions.
The objectives of this research are:
To fill the gap of the use of online journalism to enhance fashion awareness
To explore the area of contemporary popular/efficient/top fashion blogs divided into three general parts; identity of those online social media webmaster, bloggers, culture of space of those blogs, and their actual or possible use as a tool of fashion marketing and brand management.
1.2. SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY:
Due to the valuable and irretrievable use of the online media and communication platforms in all departments of life, one cannot over emphasis the significance of this study.
This study is a contribution to already existing work on the course of the use of online journalism to enhance fashion awareness. Every researcher who is likely to embark on any kind of research on this course would find this study very useful.
This study would also be useful to communication students – it would explain adequately the advent growth and online modernization of communication and journalism.
1.3. STATEMENT OF PROBLEM:
The fashion industry is reserved in using this kind of media. It does not mean though that social media and blogs do not concern fashion industry. In fact online fashion journalism has become phenomenon with a great impact on the industry itself.
Critics object that blogs cannot clarify as a form of journalism as it lacks proper journalistic practices, guaranteeing quality and credible reporting. As it will be illustrated blogs are based on very different principles than classic journalism, and rather than multiple angular reporting cooperating with variety of sources the authentic presentation based on own experience is appreciated (Lichtenstein, 2009).
According to some, fashion blogs are enjoying great popularity because they offer an alternative opinion for anybody to actively create or consume fashion without requirement of any kind of costs.
Fashion blogs and online social media fashion platforms are perceived as a “street of fashion”, as a source of public opinion and display of actual use of fashion by general public (Bollier and Racine, 2005) Nevertheless for certain reasons established and well-known fashion brands and designers do not incorporate blogs into their corporate communication (Okonkwo, 2007, Guzelis, 2010)
1.4. RESEARCH QUESTIONS
a) Is there any relationship between fashion and online media platforms?
b) To what extent does online journalism affect the development of the fashion industry?
c) Does viewership rate of online social media networks and blogs influence the coverage and possible growth of the fashion industry?
d) Is there any relationship between a fashion product/service and its placement on an online media platform or blog?
e) Does the online media and blogs cover fashion products and services more than the traditional magazines, newspapers and other off line news media?
1.5. RESEARCH HYPOTHESIS
This research work is based on the following hypothesis. These are:-H0 Online fashion journalism give more prominence to fashion news than the traditional magazines and newspapers.
H1 Fashion newspapers and magazines does not give more prominence to fashion news than traditional fashion magazines and newspapers.
H2 Online fashion blogs and social media platforms, carry more effective and efficient fashion information news than traditional print magazines and newspapers.
H0 Print magazines and newspapers does not carry more effective and efficient news and information than online fashion blogs and social media platforms.
H1 Print magazines and newspapers carry more effective and efficient news and information than online fashion blogs and social media platforms.
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