The complicated world of Influencers and The “Gram”
Yes, I’m using that abbrev in jest. Now, that’s just one of the many issues I am finding delving into what SOME consider to be an artistic community that promotes fashion, art, and all other forms of self expression…
BUT! There are some people riding the wave and making us all look bad.
Influencers/bloggers who take this as an expression of themselves and their craft- do it right. They spend hours curating the right shot- the right clothes, the right lighting and despite having a zero dollar budget or thousands for a budget, they put their ALL into each and every photo.
Most, if not all their content, is not done with a quick iPhone- unless spur of the moment dictates this. It’s edited to make it look MORE interesting, not to edit the subject from a size 8 to a size 0 (when both sizes are beautiful). Little tweaks- photoshopping out your hair in your face, or tweaking the exposure and light or adding a cool light flare- I understand.. But editing yourself beyond recognition is not only giving people false standards, but it is also really hurting the followers who can’t understand why THEY can’t look like that.
Your content should be seamless. It should NOT be all sponsored posts. Of course you have to get paid, but use some of that money to invest in content that is totally from you heart and because you want people to be able to learn more. But, the standard should be the same quality, the same effort, and the same intent for both sponsored and unpaid content. That is what your followers deserve.
Authenticity is hard- what is it to be authentic? We aren’t asking to see every TMI moment. But pretending you are a size 0 in photos when you are a size 8 is sending the wrong message. And telling people you LOVE LOVE LOVE this skincare product, only to flip and tell others NO THIS ONE, THIS ONE IS IT, is not authentic. I understand you can have more than one favorite. But, why not explain why you like both and what both products do for you? Instead of just the constant consumer replace that makes your followers think THEY need to have it if you do.
I understand having a curated grid- I very much enjoy when my grid FEELS right and represents what I love. However, take down the veil and give everyone a taste of the real you in either your captions or your stories.
I don’t know how many DM’s I have received because they appreciate my honesty and can relate to my most current life situation- mainly that my life is a MESS. And they trust me more because I am open that not every day is sunshine and rainbows. On some days just waking up and trying is good enough.
I tried botox- I told my audience about it, and I plan to do a post on it when I can really see the results over the following month. SO many influencers and bloggers lie about their lip injections, their veneers, it’s exhausting! It’s ok to admit you didn’t like something about yourself so you fixed it. We are not born perfect, and if getting lip injections is what you NEED to feel beautiful, explain why, and how you decided it was right for you- but NOT right for everyone.
So, I follow a lot of mom bloggers out there and IMO there is a right and wrong way to show your children when you have a blog and social following. I have a child, and he makes appearances in my stories because he is a very big part of my life. And I want to show you all how cute and lovable he is. I want to share those milestone moments with you… But, he is not a content creator. He has not asked to be part of social media and he’s not part of my blog. Therefore- he doesn’t make an appearance on my blog. I’m not talking about family or mom bloggers who clearly have found the balance or their children make cameos once in a while.
I’m talking about the FASHION bloggers who use their children as more swipe up content and will show literally EVERY part of their child’s life- down to the tantrums. I think not only is this incredibly unfair to the children but long term- will it be good for a child to look back on basically 24/7 video of their lives for the whole world to see?
Also, I know we are in the era of Kim K, but even she has lost the rat nest extensions and CRAZY eyelashes. Getting hair extensions or eyelashes or even fake tans, are all wonderful if you enjoy them and they make you feel confident. But to be a crazy orange mess, with hair halfway down your body and eyelashes that look like they just might crawl off you Is a bit extreme. But on this topic, I say to each their own.
I think the influencer/blogger category is still in its infancy. Because of this we can still shift the direction it goes in. Will we be the National Enquirer or the Washington Post of blogs. Will we give our audience meaningful data, or tell them they are only good enough if they buy everything and anything.
Promoting products you believe in, putting art and effort into your craft, and taking ALL of the elements of the job seriously is what I respect in this digital space. Slapping an iPhone pic of the same ooo mee gee swimsuit in a tropical place that you literally don’t even leave the resort from- is not content creation.
Have purpose and respect for this platform, and understand your voice has meaning. Otherwise, you might as well just shill detox tea and get it over with.
I recognize this may offend people, and I’m not trying to say that one of these things alone means you are not putting your heart into it. In fact, perhaps you do ALL of these things and yet you still apply to multiple categories in this post. My distinction in this article goes down to intention and effort. Do you genuinely lead your followers and present them with your authentic self? Do you genuinely put your heart into your content and not just fabricate a perfect life to be aspirational. The most aspirational people I personally follow, put every part of themselves into creating beautiful images. They also, simultaneously tell people who they are. No one has a perfect life. So let’s all remember this grid is a highlights reel, and remember that being true to yourself and treating this like a REAL job, is key.
Don’t flaunt that you only have to work 3 hours a week to make a million bucks a year on your blog. That may be part working smart, but then I would suggest you add at least 15 more hours to that into upping your game and giving your followers even more amazingness. After all, you have the time.
Respect the power and influence you have.
Ending my rant here. Comment what you believe bloggers can work on, I promise to try and respect your opinion and suggestions.