Howdy, friends! Nif here as always, and this week we’re taking a break from our “newcomers” series to say hello to new subscribers and those of you who are along for this ride that is our new content strategy.
We recently joined Bay Area Kei’s Bibliotheca Blog Circle. If you’re a J-fashion blogger, I highly encourage you to apply! Or if you’re trying to figure out the perfect blogging platform for your own works, you can take a look at all of the wonderful blogs on Bibliotheca to decide which format suits you best. Bibliotheca organizes a monthly theme to inspire bloggers - and this month is introductions and the state of J-fashion media.
So, who am I, anyways? I’m Nif, I use she/her/hers pronouns, I am over 30, and I live in the Pacific Northwest. I’m from Ohio, I work as a software developer at a big company, my spouse’s name is Ryan, and we have 2 cats. I wear Lolita fashion almost exclusively as my preferred J-fashion style, but I love and admire all sorts of J-fashion, and I’m trying to incorporate styles like fairy-kei and mori-kei into my day-to-day aesthetic. I’ve worn Lolita fashion for about 6 years, and I used to wear it daily, but after a while I realized that wasn’t viable for me in the long term, so nowadays I wear Lolita to hang out with other Lolitas, to go out (pre-COVID), and whenever I’m feeling inspired. I got into J-fashion from cosplay (i.e. “something to wear at a con when you’re not in costume”), and while I no longer cosplay, I found that Lolita fashion was the sort of aesthetic excitement I was looking for.
I was never really on LiveJournal in any capacity, but I can appreciate what an important platform it was for Lolitas - I think at the time I was busy having a new Xanga blog with a new username and aesthetic every week until MySpace came along. However, one thing I love about blogging is that it gives you a lot of time to make a point. As a medium, it invites you in to sit down for a while - for a figurative cup of tea and macaron. Honestly, prior to the genesis of Royal Vegas Retreat, I wasn’t really on social media. I had deleted my Facebook in college, and I never had much interest in being on Instagram. I’m a longtime Twitter user - that 2016 join date on my personal account is the moment I burned down my old account and started fresh. One thing I like about Twitter is the lack of intimacy; from a small account, I get to shout into the void, make little jokes, and keep in touch with my internet friends. Facebook and Instagram are at once too intimate and too impersonal - they’re avenues for slightly too much information about someone, they make it difficult to have a nuanced conversation about anything (and to be fair, so does Twitter), and Facebook (who owns Instagram) has a reputation for selling its customers’ data - among other awful things. Blogging sets a different tone. It says, “come in, and hear where I’m coming from.” Blogs without comment sections, or where comments aren’t really part of the experience, encourage people to do their own reflection and form their own opinions about the content - rather than responding immediately simply because the platform incentivizes them to do so.
The way we chose to use Instagram/Facebook/Twitter (and still do, just not currently at the same volume) was pretty effective in getting the word out about Royal Vegas Retreat. The hype-building updates for Royal Vegas Online also felt like an effective means of getting people to attend our event. Throughout the pandemic, and especially during last summer’s uprising in response to police violence, I wondered if strategically participating on social media with that growth-oriented mindset was the right thing to do.
Social media platforms make it easy to do the wrong thing: spread misinformation, respond without considering the feelings of the human being on the other end, and share without being mindful of the message. Empty black squares and endless graphics of Black and white hands holding each other (“I understand that I will never understand,” etc.) come to mind. What do those messages get us as a community? Do they end police violence? Do they save people’s lives? Do they encourage people to get involved in fighting for justice, or are those messages an end unto themselves? I don’t want to downplay the amount of legitimate, useful, and critical messaging that we do see on social media - that’s what keeps me on Twitter, after all. But when it comes to uplifting the Lolita and J-fashion communities, providing comfort and safety, and keeping the politics in our fashion, is social media always the best way to do that?
That’s why I’m so glad to see the resurgence of blogging in the community and am so thrilled to be a part of it. And it’s another reason why I’ve pursued hybrid email list/blog platforms as a means of reaching people - you can opt to avoid big social media platforms entirely, if you want. Let’s get to know each other as humans. Let’s not distill each other into soundbytes. Let’s meet each other where we’re at and bring our whole selves. As we said when we were on our previous platform - step into our office. We’re glad you’re here.
Okay, wow! That was a lot. So what are we going to blog about? Well, we are wrapping up our “validating content for newcomers” series at the end of this month. After that, we’re starting the process of planning for Royal Vegas Retreat 2021, whatever that ends up meaning. We’ll talk about things specific to our event, introduce you to some of the incredible people who are involved, and continue to inspire you. We’re so glad you’re here on this journey with us.
A note about monetization: you may have noticed that Buttondown now prompts you to enter a credit card number after subscribing to our email list. This is completely optional and on a pay-what-you-want model. As of right now, all funds from subscribers will go towards Royal Vegas Retreat. We opted for the best possible venue in terms of location because we are a tourist-first event. This means that we will have extra costs that can’t be completely covered by ticket prices, because we also want to keep the event as broadly accessible as possible by keeping ticket prices low. As a first-year event, it’s also important for us to acknowledge that there is perceived risk for attendees and vendors, as we are not as proven as other event organizers - this is another reason to keep ticket prices low. All of our content on Buttondown is 100% free and will remain that way for the time being. We are looking into incentives for paid subscribers, including a special surprise or gift that we could give you at Royal Vegas Retreat. Whenever you come to our top-level page on Buttondown, you can click through directly to our archives or latest post.
As before, please hold tight until May 2021 for updates on Royal Vegas Retreat 2021. With the latest bulletins from the US federal government about widespread vaccine availability starting, like, last week??? we’re feeling cautiously optimistic - with “cautious” being the operative word, as vaccine supply is only one part of this complex scenario. If you recently signed up to volunteer with us - THANK YOU! And thank you especially for your patience as we get organized.
Stay safe, keep wearing a mask, and stay home when possible. As always, you can check prettyprincess.club for information on Royal Vegas Retreat 2021.