Ok before I get into this post, I just want to put a little disclaimer. The word influencer I feel holds so much weight in this day and age. For most people, it encapsulates those with a huge following like Zoella or In the Frow – I’m absolutely not putting myself in the same category as them.
When I use the term influencer, I’m talking about anyone with a blog, or an Instagram feed, or a YouTube channel or a platform of any kind with a following of any size, large or small, where they discuss their passions, interests and things close to them and gain an engagement from their followers. People who have influence within a group of peers. People who can use their voice for a greater cause.
Glad we got that sorted.
So, on to the topic I want to discuss: being an “influencer” in 2016. It’s not exactly groundbreaking news that the blogosphere has gone under some major changes in the last 12 months. I feel like whether you’ve been blogging 1 year or 10 you’ve somehow been affected, whether through the pressure to up your content to the editorial standard our larger counterparts are producing, or whether you’re just a consumer of blogs who’s noticed the increase in quality and volume of content being published.
With these changes seems to come a change in attitude towards those living their life online. I think in some ways, I’ve always lived out a part of my existence on the internet from the original heady days of MySpace when my biggest aim in life was to get coon tails and be the biggest scene queen in Chester, to the original Tumblr days when Tumblarity reigned and I watched my blog climb the rankings on a daily basis – but it’s never been so widely accepted as it is today.
A lot of the ‘older generation’ don’t seem to understand it, but I don’t think that’s anything new. People still seem to get lots of ‘wait you get free stuff for posting pictures of your outfits online? But how is that a job?’ comments, and even at the lower end of the scale people seem to assume that blogging is easy. For the majority however, influencers are just part of daily life. We see them in advertising campaigns, in magazines, on the radio. We watch their videos or read their blogs or like their photos most days – it’s normal. It’s accepted. It’s part of modern lifestyle – the new breed of celebrity.
So what’s wrong with aspiring to be a big name blogger or YouTuber? Why the animosity towards people who want to make this their full time job?
I read an interview recently with Victoria from In The Frow (who has been and continues to be probably my all time favourite blogger) which made me feel a little uncomfortable. When asked what she thought was the top tip for anyone wanting to become a blogger or vlogger, she said she thinks that a lot of her success is due to the fact that she never set out to do this for a living and neither did a lot of her blogger friends, and that if you’re setting out to become a famous influencer then that “speaks volumes”. (Read the full interview here)
As I said above, Victoria is one of my absolute favourite creators and I want to make it clear that I am in no way slating her here, but I am disagreeing with this particular opinion.
I don’t really remember the exact reason why I started blogging. I think it was a culmination of seeing others doing it and wanting to give it a try myself, wanting a creative outlet, craving somewhere I could document my style journey, and a continuation of the life online I’d lead since I was about 14 – but equally it was around the time when I became aware that this could be a full time job and I realised that I would absolutely love to do it for a career.
While that hasn’t happened (yet), my blog is the reason I managed to get into marketing in the first place and forge a career in London so I’m hugely grateful for that.
However, I don’t think my wanting to be a full time blogger and work with my favourite brands is a bad thing. I’ve found something I’m passionate about, something that makes me feel happy and something I love pouring my time and energy into on a daily basis. When most of the big name bloggers started, blogging full time wasn’t really a thing. There weren’t really YouTube celebrities and being able to afford to live in a nice flat in London based on your earnings from your blog wasn’t possible. But it is now, it’s a new breed of job, but it’s a job nonetheless.
I feel like aspiring to be a full time blogger and work with your favourite brands in this day and age is no different to wanting to be a chef and cook in your favourite restaurant, or wanting to be an actor and star in a Hollywood blockbuster. Sure it won’t happen for everyone, but there’s nothing wrong with dreaming of it and wanting it and aspiring to it if it’s something you’re truly passionate about.
My blog is the only thing I can really put my heart and soul into and I’d be lost without this space. If I got the opportunity to focus solely on this and get paid I’d jump at the chance, it would be a dream come true and I’m not ashamed to say it.
What is your opinion on influencers in 2016? Do you think aspiring to blog full time is a bad thing? Let me know in the comments below!
| Sweater: Missguided | Shorts: H&M | Choker: Missguided | Shoes: Public Desire |
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