Blogger, vlogger, Instagrammer, Influencer, Freeloader – there are a lot of ‘titles’ floating around about the online space right now as people struggle to know what box to put content creators into. Some have very strong opinions about what it is we do and the majority don’t understand it at all (the latest Panorama show is case and point of that!). And that’s OK. If you’re willing to listen with an open mind and a supportive ear, we’re more than ready to explain!
Yet I find myself caught in this weird middle ground as a mere spectator of the Twitter rows, the Instagram discussions and the creative communities that unfold. I started blogging properly a couple of years ago and fell in love with the creative freedom and online conversation with my followers. But with a small audience and handful of collaborations under my belt, I feel unqualified to contribute to the bigger conversations surrounding the industry I now find myself in. I watch the tweets unfold on my timeline and hover my fingers over the keyboard but never write a word. I simply vent my opinions and thoughts to my husband who interjects with lots of questions about algorithms and bots!
Although I’m a writer by ‘trade’ and am carving a new career out of freelancing, I can’t deny that blogging is also my second business as well as being a passion project. I can no longer shrug it off as a hobby because, some months, I can actually make a pretty decent living from it (THIS is how). I’d by lying if I didn’t admit that the prospects of where this could go doesn’t excite me. I pride myself on collaborating with brands that I love, partaking in projects that I believe in and using affiliate links where appropriate. I attend blogger events, am invited to launches as both a blogger and a journalist and, you know, actually have a blog so it would be naive of me to think that this isn’t now a job. So, why do I still feel compelled to hide behind my laptop screen?
While I feel a solidarity to my virtual colleagues in the industry, I have yet to establish a stance or the confidence to throw my hat into the ring and get stuck into the conversations that surround what we do. As I watched the outpouring of outrage on Twitter about the various documentaries that label influencers as the spawn of satan, out for a quick buck and the odd freebie, I had a wave of guilt that I didn’t feel as affected. I wasn’t outraged and I didn’t feel misinterpreted. I simply put (the poorly made programme) down to rising above the outside noise and rolled my eyes that a negative spin on a very topical profession is just typical of some forms of journalism.
But should I have been? Should I be joining the masses of bloggers, vloggers and Instagrammers cursing the misjustice of it all? While I concur that the stigma attached to this sought-after profession is nothing short of unfair, I simply have the patience that, like all new movements, the rest of the world need time to catch up and it won’t be long until these type of conversations are obsolete. We hope.
But would I label myself as an ‘influencer’? Certainly not. I think of the huge content creators such as Xenia and Tamara very much within the realm of influencer territory – with millions of followers, front row seats and on first name terms with the biggest fashion designers in the world. They influence a generation and have the authority to weigh in on all influencer-related discussions. But as someone who is an online newbie with a small community and a simple love of creating, I’m struggling to find my position in an industry that’s also grappling for a place in the media world.
What do you think? At what point do you think someone is an influencer? Let me know below…
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