19 December 2012

The Future of the International Lolita Community

When I first started in the fashion 3 or 4 years ago, EGL on LiveJournal was a very busy place. One could find at least two or three pages of posts all within a day or two of each other. The same could be said for Daily Lolita. Today, the posts are fewer and further between. Why has this happened? I think a lot of it has to do with the boom of social networking, particularly, Facebook.

Facebook is initially a very attractive medium for us all to keep in touch. Posting and responding to each other is at lightening speed, it’s very easy to find people, and you can upload seemingly infinite photos. Most information is just as easily shared across large groups of people as well. This limitlessness, however, is its Achilles’ Heel.

People create new groups everyday, and they can add you nearly without you noticing. There are so many Lolita groups floating around, outside of local communities, that I cannot keep track of them. Within these groups, there is no way to organise posts, and moderation is a little bit of a joke.

I do enjoy Facebook quite a lot because I am able to get to know individuals in a much more personal way. I wouldn’t have met one of my absolute best friends because of it and many other close friends as well. It also makes it easy for me to find other Lolitas when I travel. I can find Lolitas in just about every part of the world now. For that, I am very, very thankful.

What does bother me is that I feel like I’ve lost my sense of community. When EGL was “hopping,” I felt like a member of a club. The search feature could be buggy, but between it, tagging, the memories, and the chronological nature of posting, it wasn’t difficult to find old posts and have simple questions answered. Everyone going to a central hub gave me a sense of togetherness.

This makes me wonder about the future of the community. What will we move towards next? Do people gravitate towards a sense of a large community, or would they prefer the smaller groups and more one-on-one interaction? Personally, I think it would be nice to have a mix of both somehow in one place. I think a lot of this has to do with convenience; Facebook is kind of like “one stop shopping.” 

What are your views? What would you like to see, and what do you think the future holds?

(cross posted to EGL)


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  2. It's a bit strange for lolitas like me, a lolita from Brazil, to see people from EGL trying to predict "the future of the international lolita community". Because you see, most people (or at least a lot of them) in the Brazillian community are not anglophones (or can understand a bit, but aren't really able to write well in english). We were never a true part of EGL and Daily Lolita because the language segregates us. We don't feel a part of your club ): It's inevitable because english is as international as you can get, but it doesn't stop us from feeling slightly apart.
    I can guess that spanish speaking lolitas, for example, may feel the same. Knowing english fluently enough to feel confident and speak out in the community is a bit of a privilege in most Latin American countries, from my experience. The choice of the platform is really awkward as well, considering it does not support many languages (Livejournal does not come in Portuguese, for example) and is used by... almost no one? I know I'm not the only one that has a LJ account just for the lolita comms.

    So even though there are, of course, swedish and french and korean and lolitas from many other countries do show up, I always saw EGL as a USA-centered community. We can observe that seeing state meetups and conventions that were advertised there, or people saying "hey I saw a lolita in such and such place if you're here please tell me" and that person being from the US, or the amount of US indie brands. If I had to say, it felt like a USA/Canada/UK/France/Germany place, which is considered "international" some way, but doesn't include me. So when people talk about "The International Lolita Community" I hear "The USA/Canada and (some) European Community". They're not really talking about the world...

    That said, I guess migrating to facebook somehow will be somehow inevitable. Speaking from the Brazillian point of view: we have a big forum with thousands of members, most of them not really lolitas per se. I've been holding a census for two years now and we're estimated to be about 250 people (counting people who wear related male-oriented styles such as ouji). Even though the forum has thousands of members, it's dying, and the main community and the sales community in facebook have people participating every single day. I was a moderator in the forum but just quit since I felt the people who ran it didn't have the same "love" for trying to revive it as me, and now it's almost dead except for the Sales part of it.
    I was thinking that we should make a wiki with all the basic information for the new lolitas, since in our case it's all concentrated in blogs with translated articles from the US lolitas (XD), which really depend on only one people and aren't as organized. Kind of like an updated lolitafashion.org but in our language, so we can keep that link and recommend it to everyone new. I hope it helps newbies not making so much questions!