I began my love affair with digital back in 1995 when I was studying at City University. I paid very little attention to my studies but was totally enraptured with this little thing called the World Wide Web.
It was the first time I had ever had an email address and the idea that I could communicate with people all over the world simply by pressing the send button fascinated me. I had always been obsessed with print magazines and had collected them since I was a teen, which continued right up until I was in my 30s. However, there was something about the immediacy of the web attracted me.
In 2000 I decided to launch an online arts and entertainment magazine aimed at African Caribbean people; this was during the Blairite years when everyone was feeling very creative. We produced a dummy issue and pitched to investors. We managed to find a publisher who was keen to take on the title. Sadly the deal fell through. I was left with two choices – to give up the dream or go online. I decided to do the latter.
kudosmagazine ran for almost three years and taught me a lot about commissioning for a website. It also taught me that blue as a background colour looks bloody awful, how to work with writers and develop a relationship with public relations specialists. The site was designed in Dreamweaver without a content management system (CMS). I had to create a page for each article using Dreamweaver and upload all the articles and images via FTP. It took forever and after a while it became a chore. I decided to take a career break to rethink and re-evaluate my aims and priorities.
My love for digital resumed in 2005 when I got a role working in marketing for a film festival. My duties were online and offline marketing, but I soon realised that I loved the online part a lot more. My next gig was as a direct marketing executive for a publishing company who were really up there when it came to online tactics.
My responsibility was to manage the email campaign strategy, a role that my colleagues often pitied me for. They would often check that I was ok and not bored rigid, or worse still, asleep at my PC. In reality, I loved the role and relished working on campaigns from conception to the completion. I learnt a lot, such as the reporting element and even picked up a bit of HTML.
In that year blogging came onto my radar. In fact, I had heard about the term a few years before when a journalist friend of mine had asked me about it. This time I paid more attention and began to read a lot of blogs. The idea that you could easily set up an account and upload some content when and where you wished was pleasing. I decided to take the plunge and create my own blog at the start of 2006 and have never looked back. With blogging came social media and another platform opened up to me.
I started the #brownbeauty Twitter discussion as a way of empowering women of colour. I felt there was a gap online for a real discussion about beauty, on all levels. Whether it was finding a good night cream, facial scrub or advice on sun protection right through to the way we are represented in the media and our body image. The discussion launched last June and we have developed a huge following. We have also extended the brand by launching a beauty website in April, which covers all of the above topics but in more depth. I couldn’t be happier.
About the author
Ronke Adeyemi has worked in marketing for over ten years. She runs the boutique social media consultancy 7 Degrees North where she works with various brands to create a stronger presence on social media platforms. She is also the founder of brownbeautytalk, the beauty website aimed at women of colour.