Well, I hope you’ve all enjoyed the positively Bacchanalian excess of throwing Lent away for Easter…I did. But then it was time to wrap up my latest post…which has taken a lot of time to research and write…and reading a lot of crap, too. Other bloggers get to open doll boxes and review fabulous little morsels of dolly world heaven…I have to read shit like this to get you a good blog post. Eh…it’s my cross to bear…
What makes a good blog? There are dozens of articles out there…many of them say the same thing. In the doll world, one of the most popular devices appears to be timing. “X” doll was just released, the writer comments on it, some will actually ask for a call to action from its readers, thereby encouraging participation, and there will usually be links to where the new doll is found. If it’s not a new doll release of which they are reporting, they are reporting on other current events within the doll world, which are still largely based on the release of a new doll whether it be one obtained at a convention, or newly shipping dolls arriving in the hands of eager collectors. Then there are blogs that tell a story, either through personal experiences, or photo blogging creative images that convey another world to its audience.
The “best blogs’ are not up for popular vote…that’s just stupid. They can be up for most popular blog, but not the best. TMZ may have the popularity, but they are a far cry from Vanity Fair. Convincing anyone otherwise is a bitch slap to the people who do create exceptional blogs. Be informed…everything else is just advertising…
Blogs are not dead, however. The previous link makes an excellent point about how blogging is changing through varied platforms. But blogging through social media isn’t the same as creating and hosting your own site with which to share your thoughts. Even with the one-stop-shopping concept and instantaneous gratification of Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and who knows what else may pop up next week – blog’s are the new magazine, so to speak…we can enjoy them when we want, from a variety of places – and many capture the truest essence of doll collecting fun. That being said, not all blogs are alike, whether it be opinion, photography or a reference source, dolls may be the common element, but presentation, voice and point of view set them apart from each other.
I’ve spent the past two weeks keeping Tommydoll idle to research as many doll blogs as I could find, and I put them to the test using some of the internet’s most popular ‘top blog elements’ advice articles – but then added something all these social media experts don’t know – relevance to the doll industry and our world. There are many doll blogs out there – and it’s amazing how trivial some of them are – but kudos to the writers for keeping up with it as an almost journal-style diary of which readers can steal a peek.
In reading the bevy of doll blogs out there, one thing I find the most annoying, even among the top blogs, is the lack of research. Sometimes, simple mistakes are made, but the commenters correct this by helping the writer with the research, which is a great feature for a popular blog. Some mistakes are just glaring, and when no one corrects it, it should tell the writer no one read it. And then there are the opinions. To blog without an opinion is like having an ocean without water. But what makes for a good opinion is a history of knowledge, wisdom, insight and supporting facts that lead to an educated opinion. “I don’t like this” or “It costs too much” or “It’s ugly” are vague at best…and uninteresting, because it assumes the reader agrees with the egotistical opinion of the writer…and some do, so be it.
But validity isn’t just born. It is created by the dedication of an individual to know their subject matter, research it when they don’t know, and report in an entertaining fashion that makes the reader want more. Bear in mind that most bloggers are not trained journalists, nor do they have to be. They need only to understand their subject, and find creatively amusing ways to impart this understanding to the masses (or ‘them asses’, if you don’t have spell check). Tangential thoughts can actually improve the tone of a writer’s messages…and effective digression, well – that goes without saying…but I digress. Somebody must be taking a shot over that one…
And so it comes to pass…these are the top ten doll blogs – some may not surprise you – and it may surprise you that Tommydoll isn’t among them. Whereas I like what I do, it is a rather unconventional approach at blogging in the doll world – and there are many more worthy of mention than my own (and you are already reading mine, I hope). The following blogs however, get it – and you should, too. Go get a cup of coffee, and bookmark them all…they represent the best reading/visual eye-candy out there (with some honorable mentions at the end).
Oh yes…Order. It’s rather insulting to put these in any order. Despite the commonality of being doll blogs, there is still an ‘apples and oranges’ paradigm that must be respected when writing within our industry. Incestuous, yes…but they must also have a certain uniqueness to remain strong. Virtually all newspapers carry the same top stories, but we have our favorites because of the presentation of the stories and the delectable filling in between…right? Doll blogs are no different…
The Top Ten Doll Blogs-
http://fashiondollchronicles.blogspot.com/ – News, commentary, reviews, history – Stratos Bacalis has it all at The Fashion Doll Chronicles. Literally chronicling fashion dolls for years, his has become one of the go-to blogs within our industry. My only complaint was the Blogger/Blogspot platform, but it would seem even the folks at Blogspot have updated their technology to keep avid bloggers like Stratos going strong. He’s not afraid to call out manufacturers when they drop the ball, but he does so with a background that is knowledgeable, forthright, and matter-of-factly. Considering he lives in Greece, you would think he is virtually everywhere a new doll is happening. If you had only one blog to follow, this would be it – but you’re a doll collector, and anything less would be substandard.
http://www.shugashug.com/ – One of my favorite blogs…I really wish this writer had more time – I’m often wanting more from her. Life changes may also present a challenge as this blog goes forward, but given the thorough treatment and delivery of news and information, I feel The Shugster will be up to the challenge. Shuga-Shug’s Blog is consistent, masterfully designed and easy to read, with a indigenous sense of humor that makes me want to hold my hand up with a high-five. I will admit, I tend to follow this blog more closely via Facebook than through the actual blog address because I learn more about the writer there…but starting with the blog webpage won’t disappoint.
http://lifeinplasticblog.com/ – celebrate Barbie – simple, to-the-point images that will keep this blogger in Barbie heaven until the end of time. The images are clear, fun and well done. I’m looking forward to the expansion Jared will do with http://www.myplasticuniverse.com/ – it could be a very interesting place to follow. Don’t be afraid to live in plastic.
http://dollobserver.com/ – This website has become my BBC of doll news. The writing is intelligent and savvy considering they could pull a whole shit load of bitchery out of themselves, but they don’t – that’s something, puddings – and it makes you longing for more of what they have and who they know. There is a style and substance to this blog that leaves me feeling like I just had a nice long massage by Jon Hamm. Our industry needs more blogs like this – they add validity to all our sequins and glitter – more so than the idiotic mainstream American media when Barbie is whored out to make some stupid point about body image – yet, again.
http://deedeesonesixthsense.wordpress.com/the-ossome-blog/ – this blog was under Honorable Mentions until I spent even more time in the back pages of the blog exploring life in miniature (I won’t say who got displaced). As doll collectors, I believe we all have some type of fondness of miniature, and you’ll really get a taste of it here. This isn’t just about making miniatures…it’s about thinking in miniature. This blog should be one of your regular reads.
http://insidethefashiondollstudio.com/ – photography, fashion – mostly Integrity/Barbie – what I really enjoyed while scrolling through the pages of imagery were relevant tie-ins to current fashion stories. Theirs is also a nicely integrated effort in the presentation of manufacturer images that blend well with the blog’s design. But dear…that header font is just a wee bit hard to read for these old blue eyes…
http://www.msjay.com/ – If this blog does nothing else, it draws attention to the detail we love in our dolls – specifically fashion dolls. I would even venture to say this blog will become increasingly more popular if the reviewer continues with this photography style and commentary among other fashion dolls outside Integrity, but I don’t know how much time you have. The side bar was also an interesting detour. Just the right amount of spice, too…without being adversely bitchy; but sweetie, given your eye for detail and quality – I’ll bet you’re a tough one to please in the sack.
http://fashiondollreview.blogspot.com/ – What makes Alison Rasmussen’s blog stand out is her images. Good writing is just lining your rabbit cage without having good images to go with it, and Alison obliges with both beautifully. She also has a very good public coverage of resin BJDs, which isn’t common out there unless you belong to some underground cult, and you request your password directly from Satan, himself. At first, I found her side bar to be distracting, but it made more sense as I read on – but sweetie, you don’t need to be advertising Tonner Doll Duels for them, thank you very much…not unless they pay you. Tonner wouldn’t need Doll Duels if they could up the ante with its product presentation and its criminally banal product styling/photography…
http://www.enchanteddoll.com/blog/ – Simply put – Marina Bychkova makes everything else looks like it sucks – this is clearly not her intent, but it is her result. This is what I begged Robert Tonner to do for years…and this blog shows what eight years of blogging can do for a doll maker and her audience: a doll artist who openly discusses the art medium, inspiration, and other factors blooming in her world – in depth – hiding little along the way. Bychkova makes one of the finest dolls in existence today, and her blog will show you why. This is how it’s done, folks.
http://dolldom.blogspot.com/ – Ernesto Padró-Campos has a feel for the face of a doll. There are photographers, there are good photographers, there are very good photographers, and then there is Ernesto. His consistent style resonates clearly through each image his stories tell – no matter the doll, fashion or story, you can always identify the image as being one by his point of view. His is a blog to watch because of this consistency – one that has attracted the media and doll makers to place their dolls in front of his eyes, thereby capturing photographic art (and maybe an ad or an editorial or two).
http://www.toyboxphilosopher.com/ – toys – thorough reviews of child and toy dolls – good information, easy to read – would like to see more photos, though…but that’s just me – images can really make your words come alive. That being said, I learned a lot about toy dolls here…and I’ve kept it bookmarked for reference.
http://blackdollcollecting.blogspot.com/ – Black Dolls don’t get a lot of standout attention on their own as they tend to be lumped within a manufacturer’s individual realm, but I enjoyed browsing this site, and learned a bit not only about black dolls, but specific and unique qualities to materials when they are rendered in darker skin tones.
http://dutchbarbieworld.wordpress.com/ – up-to-the-minute information and event coverage – some personal commentary, but it’s more about the images here – Barbie fans must have him bookmarked…if not, they are fools. I can browse this site and enjoy Barbie from an impassioned point of view – and take it seriously, too.
http://mydarlingdolls.blogspot.com/ – You don’t need to read French to enjoy this blogger’s vast library of doll images and types of dolls. If you love dolls, you will find yourself exploring the side bar links just to see what’s in store. You also have Asian BJD representation and artist pieces such as Helen Kish. Want to learn more about dolls and doll names – this is the blog for you.
http://dollwhisperer.blogspot.gr/ – fun and simple photos generate ideas for your doll collecting. I like the simple format, the clean images…and the sometimes devious sense of humor the author can convey. Darling, you’ve graduated beyond Tonner Doll Duels, too – you shouldn’t have to advertise for them, either.
http://thedollaffinity.blogspot.com/ – funny, entertaining – I have to admit, much like Tracy Weston’s Esmé Show, I’m addicted to this one. Imagine our doll world as seen through the doll’s eyes…that’s A Doll Affinity. I love Valentina.
http://fashiondollstylist.blogspot.com/ – the background on this blog was driving me Rorschach crazy because of its loud colors and pattern – but as my dyslexia calmed down, I was able to scroll through and find some really fun ideas to create your own looks for fashion dolls. Not a DIY site for beginners, but one that will charge your creative battery and get those juicy-juices flowing. The writer should do more videos…it made this blog stand out in a sea of DIY doll blogs!
http://dollyconfessions.wordpress.com/ – toys both new and old…with video! Someone has a very, very patient daughter…and I love what she’s doing. With some focus and a little more sophistication in the blog design and video dialogue (yes, yes – I get its theme – but it could be dressed up a bit) – this girl could be a big contender in the doll blog market. What she has that none of you have – youth – and that freshness resonates big. But alas, that will fade, and she’ll become a bitchy old fart just like the rest of us.
http://www.toyboxphilosopher.com/ – toys – thorough and detailed toy doll reviews with a pretty good (and clean) sense of humor – despite having to review Poopsy Pets. You left me on the floor with that one after pissing my pants. A reviewer after my own heart…
Anyone can be a blogger – but looking at what sets these blogs across the celestial doll sky is what makes our world glow with love and wonder. There are many, many other blogs out there – and to each, I say KUDOS! It’s no easy feat, and many will take your work for granted. But know that your readers, whoever they may be, love their dolls as you do – IF you do. And I do hope you do.