Dare to be a follower: learn from a young blogger | Jiami Jongejan | TEDxLeiden
Articles,  Blog

Dare to be a follower: learn from a young blogger | Jiami Jongejan | TEDxLeiden

Translator: Salih Ahmed
Reviewer: Denise RQ Hi everyone, say hi to the camera.
Don’t be shy, you can wave. (Audience waves) (Cheers) Thank you for being a part of that.
You may ask yourself what I was doing. Well, this is vlogging.
Vlogging means video blogging, [where] you talk to a camera
about stuff you are interested in. For example, I talk about things
girls my age are interested in such as fashion, beauty, and lifestyle
and I share what I do in my life. So, I share this with my followers,
and then I put it online, on YouTube. And today I will also share
my TEDx experience with them. I talk to them, and I say what
I did today, and that’s what I do. We have followers on Twitter,
Instagram, and Facebook friends, and I call my followers friends. You may probably ask yourself
if I can really call them friends because a friend on the Internet
isn’t the same as one in real life. I have a lot of followers to be honest. Every month on my blog there are 70,000, and it’s really crazy to imagine
that those people are real people, and it’s also crazy
that I call them friends because you’re probably wondering
if I can really call them friends. Well, a relationship on the Internet
isn’t the same as one in real life. And yes, that’s true
because you need to be careful with what kind of people
you are talking to online. And yes, many of us
have friends on Facebook who we actually
never speak to in real life. And yes, there are people who think that’s it’s all about having
the most followers and friends because they think that is cool. OK, a relationship on the Internet
can be superficial, but today I want to tell a story
why that isn’t always the truth. Well, this is my blog. A blog is a website where you
can post your own content. I post, almost every day, a blogpost
and make a video one or two times a week. It all started in 2012. In the beginning, I had just
one pageview and that was me. And the second day, I had two pageviews,
the second one being my mom. Well, not so special, but one day there
came someone on my blog through Google. And another day, there came someone on
my blog because they read it on a website. And then it gradually grew. Someone saw me on television,
another saw me in a magazine, and now I have loads. And sometimes, I can’t really imagine
how many people they are. So, when you’re behind your computer, and you look at the number
[of your followers], then you need to remember
that those people are real people. You only see a number,
but behind that number there are people with real faces, real feelings,
and real conversations. And I know, it can be
hard to imagine that. But I will give you some examples of how these people
are in fact real people because, as a blogger, we can
bring our community together, not only online but also offline. This is a YouTuber from the UK. She is a girl and she has
more than 2.5 million followers. Two-and-a-half!
That’s incredible. That’s so much! What she did one day… She tweeted this tweet, and she said
she would be at Covent Garden at 4 p.m. And there came hundreds
and hundreds of people. Here. There were hundreds of followers, and of course, there was security,
and they were so many, and they came
because they wanted to meet her, but they also wanted
to meet other followers because it is a whole community and the followers
are friends with each other. Another example. This was me two years ago. And two years ago, I decided
to share my story on my blog. I had ‘anorexia nervosa,’
an eating disorder. And I did that because I thought on the Internet, there are so many people
who are trying to look their best and only post positive things of them, and kind of show off themselves,
and they only post their best online. And I thought, we all have
problems, and that’s OK. So, I did it, and to be honest,
in the beginning I was scared, I was scared of the reaction
of other people. But I’m so happy that I did that because there were
more than 1,000 comments from people who said: “Jiami, thank you for sharing your story
because you inspired me and helped me.” And that’s so beautiful to see. There were so many comments, and I think that is the power
of Internet and being followed. Because you don’t know each other
in real life, or personally, but you can help each other
in a different way, and you can support each other. I have helped them,
but they have also helped me. A time ago, I had a tiny relapse,
and some followers said to me: “Jiami, you just wait, is there
something wrong? Please don’t give up.” And that was so sweet. I thought, “Well, come on Jiami, you said to more than 1,000 people
that you need to be strong. And they don’t need to give up. Then you also need to do that!” It’s like helping a friend. They help me, but I also help them. And we [have] a really,
really special relationship. I think that’s so beautiful. Another example is this one. This is a photo that I shared
on Instagram, like a month ago. Not really special. Just a photo where
I show what I wore today, an outfit. I do this very often. But there was one comment of a girl. She said: “Jiami, I saw your video,
and I saw your story about anorexia, thank you for that. I also have an eating disorder.
I will start fighting, I want to recover.” I sent a comment back, and said: “I’m so proud of you,
please don’t give up. It can be hard,
but it’s totally worth it.” Then more comments came,
of more than 200 girls who said to the girl
with the eating disorder: “I don’t know you personally,
but please don’t give up. You are totally worth it.” And it’s so beautiful
to see that those people, who don’t know each other in real life, but just by this Instagram picture, they were connected to each other
and they supported each other. I think it’s so beautiful
that these communities online, these people who are
connected with each other, they support each other. They met each other online, but some of them also met
each other offline and made friends. After what I’ve shared, I hope that you can be more
open-minded about followers, and about followers on the Internet because there is a community
outside waiting for you, with people who are
interested in the same things, who want [ to know]
about the same stuff. and who are interested in you. So I hope you can be
more open-minded about that. Go home, search a blog, give it a chance. There are so many opportunities for you,
not only offline, but also online. Thank you. (Applause)


  • Anita Poolman

    Heel mooi – "tof" – te ervaren via je TEDxtalk en via je boek dat bloggen mensen verbindt (jong en oud). Mooi en bijzonder hoe je je volgers raakt en inspireert. Dat is voor mij de essentie: het weloverwogen delen van verhalen in welke vorm ook. Als het uitgangspunt maar zuiver is. Zo leren we elkaar kennen, begrijpen we elkaar beter, herkennen we … (Niet ons laten verlammen door de negatieve kanten van internet die er ook zijn; anders geven we geen ruimte aan de waardevolle en leuke kanten.)
    Thank you for your inspiring talk, for your book, for your blogs which connect people.

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