Influencers? More Like Lamefluencers!
22 November 2016
Oh yes, time to make myself a bunch of free enemies in the style blogging circles. How fun!
We all can agree most buzzwords are carry a certain element of lameness to them, right?
And boy, do we live in an era of buzzwords.
But even among the sea of lame buzzwords, some of them take the cringeworthy prize. At the top of my head, we’ve got “millenial“, “alt-right“, “silo“… or even “sprezzatura” for my fellow men’s style enthusiasts and the list is damn long.
Hell, if I want to be fastidious I even find “buzzword” to be quite a lame word.
Even beyond these basic cringeworthy buzzwords there is one in particular that I simply just can’t stand, and that is, you guessed it… “influencer“.
But before all you influencers discharge all your mordant hatred on me, please allow me to explain myself. You can hate me later, that’s fine (what’s a blog without goold old haters, right?) but for now, I ask you to please read on…
What Makes An Influencer?
I went to do some research to find the best definition of what an influencer is and found a nice, simple description on this site. I quote the first few lines:
“An influencer is an individual who has above-average impact on a specific niche process.
Influencers are normal people, who are often connected to key roles of media outlets, consumer groups, industry associations or community tribes. Influencers may or may not be aware of your company, but represent control of an audience segment that is important to your business.”
In short, and this time using my own words, an influencer is any person who has a certain knowledge, a certain audience and most importantly, a certain credibility.
In fact, being honest, we all know what being an influencer entails.
This is all fine and dandy, but why my dislike for such word? Am I just a bitter old guy?
“Hey Look At Me, I’m An Influencer”
In reality, I don’t really have a problem with the word influencer per se, what I have a problem with is the way this word being used, abused and misused these days.
The way the exact definition of the word has been distorted on social media and other platforms is what doesn’t sit well with me.
I mean, seriously, it seems nowadays you can proclaim yourself to be an influencer as long as you match the following super strict criteria:
- Consider yourself as even remotely influential.
- Update your bio on any social media platform to include the word “influencer”.
You’re now an influencer.
And yes, that includes all the nice perks that come with being an influencer, of course. ‘Cause that’s what this is all about, right?
Influencers Do Exist, They Just Don’t Call Themselves “Influencers”
I’ll use some very obvious/absurd examples to get my point across.
We all know who Albert Einstein and Salvador Dalí were. We know all the important theories one of them came up with. The breahtaking artistic creations the other one created.
Now imagine if these two distinguished members of the human race were still alive today (wouldn’t that be nice?)
And also imagine they were on social media (that probably wouldn’t be too nice, they surely would have better stuff to do!)
But anyway, play along. Here comes the scary part.
Let me ask you, what if their bios looked like this?:
No. One was a theoretical physicist and the other was a surrealist.
That is who they factually were and how they surely would’ve presented themselves. Yes, even if they were alive today.
Was Einstein a genius? Was Dalí a visionary? Unquestionably yes!
But they would never use those terms to describe themselves, that would be quite presumptuous…. thinking of it, maybe Dalí would’ve gone there in a whimsical fashion.
But back to the 21st century…
Take a minute to think of a real influencer these days.
Most of you surely had a singer come to mind. Or an actor, or an athlete or even a political leader… you know, mostly pop culture celebrities.
Those are the true influencers. And just like Einstein never would’ve called himself a genius, these really influential individuals never would label themselves as influencers.
This is not to say that you cannot become a real influencer if you are not an accomplished celebrity. You can. I can. We all can be influencers in our own niches.
But after all is said and done, it is not up to us to decide when we have reached the coveted distinction of being called an influencer. It is the audience who will deem you as such.
And only the audience.
In the meantime, if you aim to reach influencer status this is all I can say to you:
Try to be your very best, share what you know, give whatever tips you want to give, build a nice reputation for yourself, be aware of your limitations, be super humble and work hard at the things you are passionate about.
With time the “influencer” tag may come… or maybe it won’t. And that’s fine.
Just don’t feel the urge to proclaim yourself as such.
After all, it is definitely not up to you.
“You don’t have to be a ‘person of influence’ to be influential. In fact, the most influential people in my life are probably not even aware of the things they’ve taught me.”
I am aware this post has the potential to be very controversial by its sheer critical nature.
And that is a good thing.
Only by discussing these things we can better understand each other and all these buzzwords that get dropped on us, as consumers, every day of our lives.
So feel free to leave your opinions in the comment section below. Do you agree this whole influencer thing has been exaggerated or do you feel my assessment is off? Let me know why!
In fact, I would love to get comments from anyone who considers himself or herself an influencer… whether it is because of some previous recognition or simply because you have a different opinion on what it takes to be a present-day influencer. Let me hear your side of the story.
And a few final words to all my digital friends that call themselves influencers (there are many and they’re all good friends):
Don’t hate me. The beers are on me when we meet.