I’ve injured my influencer muscle.
When I was 20 years old, I started blogging and after more than thirteen years I can admit: I think I’ve injured my blogging muscle. ‘Influencer’ culture used to be an exchange of expressions and was seen as the inferior side of media. The term ‘influencer’ (yuk!) itself didn’t exist. The concept was simple: you shared snapshots of your daily outfits, make up or healthy breakfast with the world and moved on with your offline life. A professional influencer landscape as we know it nowadays didn’t even exist (we didn’t even have Instagram!), so your words held less weight. They were taken with a grain of salt, even.
“It’s only fair to assume we are now much more responsible for what we promote and the behaviour we encourage.“
When we look at the landscape now, it becomes very clear it has changed and so has the role of the ‘influencer’. It’s only fair to assume we are now much more responsible for what we promote and the behaviour we encourage. Most ‘influencers’ still make their money by either promoting brand and products or encouraging to buy something through affiliate links. A phenomenon that didn’t exist when I started out and something I’ve somehow always struggled with.
Sticking to what works.
While the influencer landscape grew, it did some growing on my own. Personally, I could no longer come to terms with the (shopping) behaviour I was encouraging. By receiving all the packages I did and accepting all the freebies (even though I didn’t even ask for them) only added to the noise. I barely shop for clothes anymore and can’t really be bothered by influencers promoting the latest IT bag/shoe/whatever. Looking at my YouTube behaviour: I no longer watch hauls (I think they are damaging!). I also shifted from shopping for quality over quantity, and much prefer to stick to what I know works for me. I actively avoid certain fast fashion brands because I know the pieces are designed to be temporary and replaced.
The downside of this as an influencer is that our (or worse: your!) shopping behaviour is typically what we feed off. Promoting the next item is what gives us likes and followers. This is something that is still – unfittingly – valued by brands and agencies. Once I started sharing less collabs and less about the new stuff I had acquired, my number of followers decreased. As much as people commented they liked my new approach; the numbers seemed to tell me otherwise. It seemed like you preferred the more-more-more version of me. And for quite some time I found that difficult to align with how I personally felt about my job.
For as long as I can remember I’ve loved writing and everything surrounding this is superficial to me. At the same time the superficial is necessary in order to enable me the time and freedom to write. This is my long-winded way of explaining why I post less than I once did. I don’t want to just say things just for the sake of it and I’m working out where I fit in to the bigger picture.
“I like to believe I am not necessarily losing followers, I’m just strengthening my tribe.“
The process I’m going through is something I’d like to write more about. Looking at the DM’s I often receive this is something quite a lot of you enjoy reading about too. So apparently, my influencer muscle was injured for a while, and luckily not permanently damaged. I like to believe I am not necessarily losing followers, I’m just strengthening my tribe. Welcome back.