Tough Love Tuesday: What's With The Hate Against Influencers?
the capacity to have an effect on the character, development, or behavior of someone or something, or the effect itself.
a person or thing that influences another.
There has been a tweet going around telling people to unfollow influencers and follow real artists. I've seen friends of mine share it online and I have also seen influencers expressing their complaints about it. Initially, I wasn't going to write a blog post about this, but this morning I watched A Drink with James with James Nord from Fohr Card answering a question about what's the deal with all the hate towards influencers lately. He said that it was a combination of misunderstanding and jealousy. He said that actors or musicians don't get the same hate because they do something that the majority of people can't do. If you don't have musical talent, you are not going to hate on musician because they have that gift. When it comes to influencers, these are regular people who created an extraordinary life, and that can be triggering for some people to see. "I can do that too!" is usually followed up with "why are they making so much money when I'm not." I think that's where the difference lies. Yes, you can do it, but you're not doing it. I can tell you that it takes vulnerability to put yourself out there daily for people to say whatever they want to say about you.
This weekend my boyfriend and I watched Brené Brown's Netflix special, The Call to Courage. If you're not familiar with Brené Brown's work, she studies shame and vulnerability. She says that you must be vulnerable to be courageous. There's no other way to be brave. I'm friends with many influencers, and I know them beyond the photos on their blog, and Instagram and some of them are the most courageous people I know. They show up every day, field some of the most ridiculous and hurtful judgments I've ever seen, but I've also seen them get some of the most supportive comments I've ever seen from the communities they've created online.
If you're alive on this earth, you have influence even if you've never once talked about a brand online. Even if you don't have a social media account. When you recommend something that you enjoy it to a friend or your family, and then they go out and buy that thing that is influence. So why are some people so upset when people get paid to do the same thing?
It can be hard to see people creating a life and a career outside of societal norms. Entrepreneurs can catch flack from those around them when they quit their 9-to-5 job and venture out on their own. You start to wonder why some people care so much about how other people make money. Let's go back to what James Nord said - "misunderstanding and jealousy". I don't believe in jealousy because I think that other factors are bundled up in the word jealousy. Insecurity, resentment, ignorance, scarcity, fear, and shame all of that gets wrapped up into jealousy. Maybe some are scared or feel shame because they also dream about venturing out on their own, but they never did it. When they see someone else do it while creating an amazing life and also get paid to do it, that can cause some deep-seated feelings to arise.
Nord also had a point of why modern art gets such a bad rap. You can see a Jackson Pollock painting which is paint splatters on canvas; people think "Hey, I can do that. Why is this even in a museum?" I even had that thought when I was walking around The Met in New York City. I saw some of the paintings, and I would think "Are you serious?!? I can do that." but the thing is, I don't do it. I never tried. Those people tried. They created something meaningful to them and had a vision, and they put themselves out there. When it comes to influencers, they felt that they had something to share, so they created their little space on the internet.
I think it shows the confusion about what influencers actually do; otherwise, people would not tell you to unfollow them. I have a friend who preaches about body positivity and recently came out and spoke about her eating disorder. I know that she has affected the lives of so many people all across this country and maybe even around the world. I follow influencers who build communities. They speak about loving yourself and how to live a beautiful life on your terms. It goes beyond pushing products.
Now, I know there are bloggers out there stunting for the Gram and not offering any direct value to their followers, but that is still ok. I don't have to follow that person, and neither do you. However, to dismiss a whole industry of humans because you don't agree with the amount of money that they make by doing "regular stuff" that you also can do is a bit sad. I would rather be grateful for these people even if I don't follow them. I'm grateful that there are people out there creating their own path and living life differently. I'm grateful for every person that supports me and reads my blog posts because I know I have influence. I know I have people who respect what I say so I don't take that lately. I make sure to use my little space on the internet to add value, give advice, and maybe influence someone along the way.