Have I missed something? The term “influencer” had once popped up and taken the social world by storm a couple of years ago, thus shaping today’s so-called influencer culture. I have no idea how, when and where it has even evolved from. I was probably living in a bubble of my own during that period. Does this mean its predecessor “guru” is now deprecated? I’m still trying to get my head around that CGI virtual influencer.
First and foremost, I dislike this term; I also wasn’t keen on “guru” either. It has become a term where anyone can declare themselves as an influencer within the social media bubble. It’s a bit cliché now don’t you think? Not denying that it is a huge market and isn’t declining any time soon, however, there are some toxic aspects that have paved its way into modern culture. For many, the Instagram life and culture is something to aspire for and is “goals” despite being 95% unattainable. What constitutes as being an influencer, seeing that industry standards are nonexistent. I suppose you can’t define those standards either.
The term has generated backlash by those who, dare I say, have a big ego. With a large number of followers on Instagram, they believe they are entitled to receive freebies in return for exposure. To put it bluntly and saying it as it is, no one is entitled to anything. If some don’t get what they want then they’ll throw their toys out of the pram. Well, that’s maturity, mannerisms and professionalism gone out the window right there.
Is it wrong for businesses to call them out? Honestly, not one bit. I don’t think “influencers” understand the implications giving away freebies has on their business, very much so for small or just starting out businesses. It’s risky and the results are not always mutually beneficial. You may have tens, hundreds of thousands of followers but have a low engagement rate. This certainly is not benefitting the business as much as you had thought. To yourself, yes, however to them, no.
If you genuinely love something, wouldn’t you want to support them by recommending and spreading awareness?
A large number of followers ≠ fame ≠ freebies.
Influencer or Fraudster
How do you differentiate between an influencer and a fraudster? Who’s in it for the greater good and who’s in it for the monetary reasons.
Buying an abundance of fake followers and engagement brings in fraud, making it easy for people and brands to be fooled. It’s sad to see how far people would go just for wanting a shortcut, an easy way in rather than working hard, as a result, leading a superficial life. For those clout chasers, you can see and smell the desperate aura. This can be taken one step further. Some of the wild and outrageous claims I’ve read were weird, wild and outrageous. To take it even one step further is to scam people. It’s disheartening. It proves they’re motivated by money, accepting any opportunities regardless of whether it fits in with their style and niche.
On a brighter note, there are people out there who are wholeheartedly genuine and 100% themselves even if you can’t relate to them. I admire those who are honest, disclosing all ads and sponsorships, selectively choosing opportunities from brands they genuinely love and simply, not mugging us off.
Where’s the Originality
“There is nothing new except what has been forgotten.”Marie Antoinette
Has it reached the point where nothing is original anymore and anything new descends from the tried and done times? Or has it always been like that since the beginning?
When we see something that has become a hit, it does encourage us to try it out for ourselves in the hope to recreate said success. There’s just one thing – differentiating between getting inspiration and blatant copying.
Everyone inevitably goes through many trialling phases when it comes to finding the right style. It’s OK to be inspired whilst adding your own flair and personality to it. That is what will stand out from others. Bringing neither flair or personality, it’s just another image drowned in the perpetual, oversaturated crowd. There’s a select few that straight-up copies every single detail, hence the existence of a copy cat culture.
It’s also turned into a competition. Gosh, it feels like I’m back in secondary school again. Once people see something they like, they would want to do better, one-up one another by attempting to attain more likes/followers, better content etc. Then drama blows up.
This post may give the impression I’m a bitter woman but that’s not the case. Not everyone wants this lifestyle, can achieve it nor is suitable. This path isn’t for me as my career lies elsewhere. In reality, the influencer lifestyle is not sustainable and has a limited life span. Once the next big thing arrives, people will move on and the market will change. So what’s next?