With over 59k followers on Instagram, we talk to Jemma Wei about the impact of social media and blogging.
Jemma is flustered. The sun is shining brightly against her perfectly-setup desk by the window, a clear indication that the day is slowly coming to an end. “I’ve got a lot of work to do. But work is work,” says Jemma. Every day, she logs on to her lifestyle blog, and writes about her personal thoughts on travel, literature and fashion.
She’s one of the rising writers in Singapore who has written for multiple international brands, such as Volkswagen and AirFrance to name a few. With recent projects with Nikon Singapore and one of her most recent short stories, George made Honorable Mention in the Best New Singaporean Short Stories 2015, she deserves our attention.
Currently living in lives in Singapore, Jemma launched her blog in 2007 and has used the internet to build her own platform. With an audience of over 59k followers on Instagram, we catch up with the talented writer to talk about the impact of social media and blogging.
Can you tell us a bit about yourself?
My name is Jemimah, which no one can pronounce properly, so I go by the audibly more affectionate Jemma, which I’ve always thought sounds a bit like a brand of bubblegum. By day I’m a writer, blogger, and host for an online TV show where I yak about trends and what’s hot right now. I’m also one of the level-fours in The Hive, and I adore it!
What is your day-to-day routine like?
It really depends! On a normal day, I’ll try to start the day off with a yoga class then come into the office and work on my writing or commercial projects. If I have a shoot that day then my day is wrapped around that – and I’ll be in the office before or after. I quite frequently stay in the Hive till about 1 or 2am, so obviously the desk membership with 24/7 access has been working out well for me. And on Wednesdays and Thursdays I teach at the university, so I do that and then come into The Hive.
In the time of the ever-expanding social mediascape, where do your views lie?
I used to be a bit of a grumpy old man when it came to things like that – I still am, in some ways: I can’t stand it when people use their phones at the dinner table, or when I see a large group of friends just tinkering around with their gadgets instead of talking to each other. I think it gives people the opportunity to be careless with relationships, and rude. But in moderatio, it can be a very powerful platform to express yourself, and it’s obviously created a whole new spectre of ways in which we can connect and interact with new people. It’s created careers. So the onus is on us to use it responsibly, and well. It’s here to stay, so love it or hate it, we better get with it!
Describe the best and worst experiences you’ve encountered in your job.
The best and worst things about being an online personality is how it changes the human interactions you have with other people. I’ve met some really wonderful, amazing people. That is the best bit, I think. Finding such beauty and kindness in other people is always so lovely, and by virtue of what I do, I meet hundreds of people a month, meaning that my sample size of people I meet and interact with is much larger. I’m very blessed to have met such great and inspiring people as part of what I do, and I’m grateful for it every day.
The worst part of what I do also has to do with the human relationships you have and how they change – thankfully, not between friends and family, but with people outside my social circle. As a public figure, you tend to start being categorised as an object, almost as if you’re not a person, and I’ve had complete strangers say and do the strangest things to me that they would never (i hope!) do to a friend. Sometimes people come up to me in public and just grab my arm or waist for a selfie without any preamble and it’s always a bit of a shock. And violation of personal space, I think!