If I said to you the name ‘Zoella’, you’ll probably have an idea who she is; whether it’s because you are highly active in the blogging and YouTube community or because you have a child/teenager in your family who is a fan of the 26-year-old Queen of internet and social media. She also gets a lot of tabloids trying to find any imperfection in the online life of the Wiltshire born, which brings us to today’s post; in how Zoella promotes literacy.
I recently read this article, which talks about how Zoella – AKA Zoe Sugg – is “blamed for declining teenage literacy”, to which I do have quite a strong opinion on. Not just as a viewer of Zoella’s YouTube channel, but in defence of the new millennial career via digital media. This isn’t the first time I’ve responded to an article bashing Zoe, but with such idiotic points in this article, I just simply could not bite my tongue.
Guardian writer, Zoe Williams, begins by mentioning that Zoella “has been blamed, along with other pedlars of unchallenging fiction – Jeff Kinney, of Diary of a Wimpy Kid – for declining teen literacy. She shouldn’t take this personally, as it was ghostwritten.”
It seems that Williams hasn’t done enough research here, as it was addressed by both Zoella and her publishers, Penguin, that this is a false claim. Zoe did have help in writing this book, but let’s just take a second to remember that Sugg does not hold any qualifications which indicates she is a professional writer. She did not go to university and did not study creative writing beyond Sixth Form. Does that mean she is incapable of writing a book? Not necessarily, but if she wanted to get her stories published, it would be a wise idea to have some help in ensuring her books’ content are all up to scratch in the grammar and to the standard that a publisher will be looking for. Sugg of course has a hefty following on social media, in particular her YouTube channel of over 11.5 million subscribers, so for her to release a book would drum up quite the interest to her loyal fans, thus promoting reading. It’s not really rocket science, is it? No, she may not be a complete wordsmith and her books may be of an easy reading level, but should we be bashing this? Zoella’s demographic is tweens to young adult and while we all like to think that every teenager is capable of reading a YA novel with these big and wonderful words, we know in reality this is not the case. Zoe’s books are quite easy to read and would therefore have an appeal on her fans who may not be the biggest bookworms.