This is something I often can get disheartened by and upset over, mostly because I really dislike the term influencer. That’s my personal opinion, and I know there’s an entire industry built around that name, but I don’t associate myself with it. I know that a lot of bloggers (not just me) really don’t like being called just an influencer and will often correct people when it’s said, and no disrespect is meant with this, but it’s because they’re two different things.
What is an influencer? An influencer is someone with a large following of people that can influence people to buy things and have their lifestyle. As an example, an influencer might be someone from the show Made in Chelsea or The Only Way Is Essex, or simply a girl/boy that got popular on Instagram for their photos, but they don’t have a blog, don’t write articles or content, and often just use social media as a platform to promote products.
What is a blogger? A blogger, as I’m sure you know by now since I’ve mentioned it a lot and also written a post called ‘what does a fashion blogger do?‘ is someone who owns or writes for a blog, writes articles and content, and spends a long time voicing their ideas/opinions, or covering topics. It can be anything from a lifestyle, food or travel blogger to a fashion, health or specific niche blogger. Bloggers can often be referred to as content creators as well because of the amount of time spent on photography, editing, writing etc. to curate articles they’re proud of.
Of course these two can get crossed over sometimes because a popular blogger will have an influence on their readers, but wont want to be called just an ‘influencer’ because there’s so much more to it than that, it doesn’t represent them fully. When someone just calls me an influencer, I feel like they’re dismissing the fact that my blog is first and foremost, I spend hours on content and imagery, I spend hours engaging and connecting with all of you and trying to build a community. It’s a pretty dismissive term in my opinion. I’m guessing it might be like calling a specialised programmer an ‘I.T guy’ or an Olympic athlete ‘a jogger’ as an example. It’s not fully true.
I have absolutely nothing against anyone and their chosen career path as I’m always supportive and appreciative of everyone else, but what inspired me to create this blog post was a video I saw on Instagram earlier this week. It was a speech by Prince EA (a film maker and creator who gets called an influencer because he has 1.2 million followers) and he made such a valid point about the term ‘influencer’ and whether or not it’s good. You can click here to see the video.
He said, when you’re caught drunk driving, you’re under the influence. When you get sick with flu, that’s influenza. Influence was usually a negative term that meant you’re not in control or thinking for yourself because you’ve been influenced by something or someone else. What I took away from his speech was the feelings towards influencer’s pages – are they really just making you buy another product you don’t want? Are they making you lust after a car, an unobtainable beauty image, a millionaire lifestyle, an addiction to travel, or making you feel shamed about the way you look and how your body looks etc. without realising it? Isn’t this all where the term ‘FOMO – Fear Of Missing Out’ came from? As someone in this industry, do people go away from your page feeling positive or negative? It’s a valid question. What are you influencing?
I’ve given this a lot of thought and I would hope that the general consensus here is that people feel inspired, positive and happy when they read my blog. I don’t want anyone going away with jealousy, a negative mindset, or feeling unhappy because of something I did or said. I’ve always made sure to keep my blog as a hugely positive place, filled with nothing bad or distressing, and only helpful articles. Even when I do my reviews of items I’ve saved up money for, I have them with helpful intentions in mind. I know a lot of you here aren’t going to buy a designer bag because I bought it, but my reviews are there for people searching Google for help and advice on an item they’re looking to buy. We are all influencers in life in some way, as people ask advice, look up to you, your child is influenced by you as a parent etc., but it’s about how you use that, I think.
I don’t want to just influence you to buy something I don’t really care about, I like the fact that you trust me and trust my opinion, then you make your own decisions. I see so many things which aren’t relevant on other peoples accounts, like diet shakes or vaping (even if they don’t smoke) and I personally don’t think that’s right to do that for money, when you don’t use or care for the products. I’ve been offered the same collaborations, especially diet foods, for a lot of money, and I turn them down because I believe in a healthy diet instead. I don’t want to pretend I take diet shakes and in order to look like me you have to buy this product I don’t even use. I completely disagree with it.
I personally care about all of you and I don’t see how promoting items I don’t like is any better than buying thousands of fake followers and ripping brands off because you’re now considered a ‘popular influencer’ or buying fake designer items, claiming it’s real, and influencing others to buy the real one based off your fake one. There’s a lot of mess in this industry at the moment, which is a lot to do with why I quit my fashion blogging career, as you know. Honesty seems to be the wrong policy in this industry, and that doesn’t sit well with me.
I’ve fallen into these traps myself, numerous times, when I start looking around on accounts and I touched on that a bit in a post I wrote about Happiness From Self Acceptance & Self Love so I try to make sure I only follow accounts that are down to earth and genuine. I’ve got lost in moments where I end up thinking I need to have a bigger bum, I need higher boobs, I need a lot more make-up, I need to pose this way and wear this, I need to travel everywhere, in order for me to get more followers and likes. Then I quickly catch myself and think hang on, that’s not me, I’ve been influenced and now feel bad about myself and think I need to change, when I don’t. Insecurities can rear their heads, especially if you’re a teenager and going through a lot of changes in your body, as well as mentally, so it’s a dangerous game. As a collective, we really need to make sure that what we’re promoting and portraying is authentic to us, what we believe in, and truthful.
I’m not saying all influencers are bad though, they aren’t, they’re normal people like you and me, but often can portray a lifestyle they don’t even lead for the fame side of it, which is missleading because people who follow them don’t realise it’s not true. I’ve heard stories about some who got into serious debt buying all these designer items and going to amazing locations just for Instagram, then borrowing clothes and other items from family or friends, and living a lifestyle online that they didn’t live in real life, leading them to almost be homeless then start asking readers for help… which is just wrong. It’s a lie and it’s false advertising. There’s a difference between showing your positive and happy side online, curating pretty photos and leaving the negative for offline, which is fine, but lying and portraying something that’s not true isn’t ok, in my opinion. It’s not the right kind of influence you should be portraying. What are your thoughts on this? As bloggers, how do you feel about promoting absolutely anything to anyone even if you don’t like it? Or do you have rules?
This is slightly off topic, but also to do with it, but there’s also another aspect that is now happening because of the influencer craze. It’s the disassociation of humanity. I get upset when I’m not classed as a ‘real’ or ‘normal person’. It’s happened to me a lot lately, on Instagram, just because of my job and I’m treated differently. If I like someone’s photo that I don’t know, sometimes they message me to ask why, ask if I’m a fake person, or wonder why I would even like their photo because ‘I’m a model’ or ‘I’m famous’ (said with air quotes)…
I’m understanding of where the perception comes from as most famous people ignore fans due to the high volume and their own safety, but I’m not famous, and just because I have this as my job, doesn’t mean I’m no longer a real human like you are. We’re all equal, I’m exactly the same, regardless of how many followers I have. I’ve spoken to lovely ladies with millions of followers and they’re just the same, normal girls. In reality, we don’t have a number over our heads. In person, we’re just normal people, so I think this is another issue where influencers have gone a bit wrong. We’ve objectified them and see them as something more, or untouchable. So if that’s something that’s ever stopped you reaching out before, commenting before etc., then put that thought out of your head. You might get a reply, if you’re respectful and kind, I know I always reply so others hopefully will too. Like I said up there, we’re all the same, we’re all influencers in some way in life, to our pets, children, neighbours, friends, family, but online, has it really become this negative thing? To quote Prince EA “When you call yourself a ‘social media influencer’ what are you influencing?”.
I would really love your opinions on this. I’d love your honesty in how my blog/social media makes you feel etc., whether it’s negative or positive. We’re all equal here in this community. Lorna xx.
This article is so good! Thanks so much for sharing! This is exactly how I feel too, when people call me an influencer it completely dismisses the fact that I spend hours working on content and don’t just tell people what to buy but actually share meaningful posts xx http://www.justsavxnnah.com
Thanks for sharing your thoughts on it too, I knew I wasn’t alone with this xx.
I do not like, too, the term: influencer
I may be silly, but how can a person influence people?
a politician, maybe, and again
It can be quite easy to influence people actually, usually by the power of persuasion, the fear of them missing out on something, or if they admire/trust you, they trust you on buying something you promote, which is why it can be such a scary industry!
I also don’t care for the term influencers.
I think it’s such a misleading term.
Hi Lorna, a really nice post. It is difficult to find ya good balance when looking at influencers and bloggers. Of course you want to create your own style, but sometimes I feel like I keep asking people in real life and on blogs what good fashion is even when I email you, haha. Of course I listen to the advise, but I find it highly important for the personal asking the questions and people answering them to be honest and appreciate each other’s opinion.
Honesty is definitely key, I am always honest whenever I can be, so you’re right there.
Ah that social media talk. Ha!! Social media is great, but of course I’ve had my bad time with it. I would rather be called a blogger than influencer. If someone happens to be influenced by anything I post, then I hope it is positive and motivational.
That’s a good way of looking at it, it’s how I look at it too.
This was a well written post Lorna, and I think you’ve written down exactly what I think but that I struggle to finds the words to say. Despite being a blogger I feel I struggle with finding the right words!
I want people to feel encouraged, inspired and happy visiting my blog, not envious and jealous and insecure. Just as you summed up so eloquently. I think it’s important to keep it real and it always makes me smile to see people who think similarly. They are the bloggers (like yourself) that I end up following!
Hope that you had a great weekend 🙂 We had a quiet and relaxing one here.
Away From The Blue Blog
I’m really happy you resonated with it 🙂 Encouragement and inspiration is such an important part, and as people who have a platform like we do that is read by tens, hundreds, thousands, millions, it’s important to be trustworthy and truthful 🙂
I honestly don’t have a super large following so I’ve been rarely called influencer lol, but for some reason, I don’t like the term quite much. From justified reasons to prejuces, influencers don’t have a good rep out there. I remember being in awkward conversations with people who would say influencer are just lucky hoarders, ouch.
There are many things that are not exactly ethical coming from influencers, which is a shame because no matter how many followers you have, your integrity should never be touched.
I’m glad you agree that integrity is vital. That’s also quite shocking to hear the term ‘lucky hoarders’ as I don’t even think that’s correct, they’re paid and sent stuff to promote, which I don’t think has anything to do with hoarding lol.
I saw Prince EA’s video and I vowed never to call myself an influencer again! This post is so relevant. Influencers definitely have influenced why the word of the year is toxic.
S | Je M’appelle Chanel
Glad you saw it too! It is toxic, it’s such a vast/generic term that it’s not even helpful, or accurate, or descriptive.
I’m scared to be called influencer because I have more responsibility on what I’ve influenced about. I rather want to inspire others with my creativity and positivity especially through my written posts. I admit there are instagrammers that leave me feeling small because of their perfectly curated and lavish lifestyles that almost don’t look real anymore. But then I can take them as an inspiration too on how to take photos that are eye catching though not really copying them and their lifestyles. Very encouraging and interesting topic Lorna, thanks for sharing your thoughts about it.
As long as everyone can see that it’s curated and meant to be seen that way, I think that’s fine, but for those who assume it’s real life and are led to believe that, it can be so damaging. I’m not too worried about those who travel everywhere and have beautiful photos, that’s amazing and it’s wonderful to see parts of the world I wouldn’t see myself, but it’s the fakeness and promotion of absolutely everything, influencing people to buy it all when they don’t even like it, or changing the way you look in order to fit in etc. I just feel like it’s going down a negative route and might eventually end bad for a lot of people.
Excellent post Lorna 🙂 I enjoy reading your blog because it is positive and I know you won’t promote things like diet shakes, etc unlike people who only use social media/photos on Instagram to gain a following. Some of your recent blog posts have been a bit of a wake up call for me in attempting to navigate my life towards things that actually make me happy/less stressed, so thank you for blogging and I hope you continue to blog in the future 🙂 xx
That makes me so happy to hear that, thank you, Amie 🙂 To know that I’ve actually inspired you and you’ve gone and made changes in your life to make yourself happier is so lovely to hear. This is the kind of thing I hope for when I’m writing my articles, so thank you for being a reader and always following along. It means a lot to me 🙂
This was very interesting to read. I don’t like the word Influenser but I’m struggling to find a word for people who have huge folowing on Instagram… About the diet drinks, I have been asked to promote different diet teas or some kind of diet drinks but never accapted because (I agree with you) it’s not ethical to promote soemthing that I will not use for myself. Happy Monday.
Nina’s Style Blog
I’m glad you’re agreeing on the being honest policy with what you promote, Nina! Perhaps we should come up with a new word instead of influencer?
Honesty in blogging is key- your readers come to your blog, your Insta, etc., because they trust you; you can’t abuse that! Love your take, lady!
Le Stylo Rouge
I’ve actually never liked the term influencer either, but I assumed that was the just one of the ways people classify bloggers, which was fine. I also dislike the idea of being inauthentic for money and promoting a product that one doesn’t actually believe in just for the paycheck.
As for portraying the reality of life on social media, for me that’s often difficult to do. It doesn’t mean that what I post isn’t real, it’s just that it’s such a small portion of what my life is.
Thanks for sharing your views on this topic.
Kathrin | Polar Bear Style
Thanks for sharing your thoughts too!
This post is so relevant and necessary right now! The term influencer definitely grates on me a little, I find it more off-putting than anything else. It’s so worrying that people have gone to such lengths like getting into debt and misleading their followers into buying into some kind of fantasy life. You made so many valid points that I totally agree with and stand by myself. I try and keep my blog a colourful and uplifting place when it comes to fashion but cover lots of honest posts where I talk about mental health and struggles like confidence and self-esteem etc. Your blog is a place of positivity and encouragement, I love how you keep it real! I can only imagine all the people who read it take away nothing but positivity and happiness from it! ♥︎
Sophie | soinspo xo
Awh thank you so much, Sophie! That’s so kind of you to say those things. I genuinely hope so!
I’ve heard a couple of people say this about the term influencer. But I don’t think it’s the word itself that is bad. It’s how some people use it in the wrong way.
In fact, I would argue to say that we are all influencers in our life. For those around us, we talk about certain things, ideas and even products and we get influenced by our friends. The difference is if we do it with honesty or not.
Happy Thanksgiving, Lorna
Hi Jodie, that’s actually what I said in the article, we are all influencers in life to our friends, family, children, co-workers etc, but it depends on what we’re influincing and how we are doing it, it has to be done with honesty in the right way. But I still dislike the term as it comes with such negativity behind it and doesn’t carry any weight or skill behind it either. Happy thanksgiving to you too! xx.
I personally do not mind the term influencer per say but yes being an influencer and blogger can overlap and be separate. I don’t judge if someone is an influencer and they earn a good living doing that then kudos to them. Advertising in the modern sense has been around for over 100 years. Of course much has changed with in that space but if thats how people pay their bills well it could be worse. But yes it does create FOMO for sure and I feel IG has become one big advertisement. But on the other hand I can’t blame people fo wanting to be in control of their own careers income etc. Here in the States raises have gone out of style and this creates a lot of turn over in the workspace so I can see how being an influencer is appealing.
I don’t blame them either, I mean I created my own career and job too, so I’m in that group, I just don’t think it’s right when they fake everything, promote anything and everything (including casinos) just for the money and don’t actually care about the longevity, many are in it just for a quick buck and I find that so disheartening. Every career should have honesty and integrity.
I was never called an influencer (as far as I can remember) probably because I don’t have a large following, and I’m not active on other social media apart from blogging anymore, but I wouldn’t like to be called one. Ever since that term first appeared, I felt somehow uneasy thinking it might be applied to me. I feel like to be an influencer you need to be some kind of celebrity or to be Instagram famous, which is not something I aspire to. I always preferred blogging to other social media because it seems to be more content based (not saying that some instagram accounts aren’t also content based but generally speaking blogging is where you can find more quality writing in my experience).
There is a lot of competition and sometimes even craziness in the fashion influencer/blogger world, but I think this is the case with almost any kind of social media career. Fake people are everywhere today. For instance, there are many professional reporters who lie and make up stories. I remember reading about one reporter from USA who stole photos from some random Croatian girl’s facebook and created a fake Middle Eastern activist girl- he won tons of awards before they figured out that all the interviews he did were fake. Imagine being that sloppy…. Similarly, a lot of book bloggers spend more time taking photos of books than actually reading. I personally can tell when someone claims or pretends to be more widely read than they really are, but not everyone can tell.
I don’t think this obsession with status and material things is related only to the fashion world, one can find it everywhere. I know these are hard times we live in, and everyone is struggling sometimes, but I think we should keep some moral principles. Imagine if I advertised diet products after a weight loss related to Chron’s disease…that would be a pretty messed up thing to do, wouldn’t it?
Long story short, there is nothing wrong with collaborations or even influencing other people’s shopping choices as long as we’re candid about what and how we’re presenting something. Not every influence is good, no matter what we’re lead to believe….and rethinking how we influence others (and to some degree ourselves) with things we do is something we should perhaps all do, at least once in a while
Ivana, I absolutely love what you said! I think you nailed it perfectly. I hadn’t heard that story about the journalist doing fake reports though, that’s terrible! And you are right, there is fakeness everywhere. I fully agree on how morally wrong it would be to promote weight loss from diet pills if it was lost due to a medical condition. Yet, I think a lot of celebs actually do that. Or when promotion of face creams or hair pills or make up is happening and they say they use it all the time, when really they have hair extensions, false eyelashes, or used it once. I never know what to believe anymore. I’ve become quite cynical and I actually stopped believing most things I see on Instagram, even when it’s down to follower count, I no longer believe it. Unless it’s the few girls I know are genuine and trustworthy, it’s just such a shame that an amazing industry has become so corrupt.
Such a great article. You wrote about all of main topic, and I also last week watch that video and it is really amazing.
You perfectly explain difference between blogger and influencer, and sometimes it is problem that people think that is the same.
I completely agree with you that many girls went in wrong direction trying present life they don’t live. Also I notice that many influencers forgot why they started and they stop enjoying in their job and life under pressure.
Blog – http://www.exclusivebeautydiary.com
YouTube – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x0z4DJRubak
Yeah, that’s a huge thing too! Many do get too overwhelmed with all the work they take on that they no longer enjoy it. I ended up in that position not long ago where it wasn’t fun anymore and became too stressful. Hopefully things sort themselves out for everyone.
above all, I find the word “influencer” in the social media context quite crappy and offensive, because the act of influencing someone intrinsically implies that this someone has been influenced and thus it imposes subduing. So influencing implicitly means a violation of free will. And I wonder who the heck coins such demeaning words? Is it that people deep inside subconsciously always want to be subdued in some way or another?
On the other hand there is nothing wrong with being a good example or help people (so the word and not the act of „influencing“ is what I dislike). Provided a person is honest though !!! (resonating with what you mean with diet foods for example). Blatantly cheating or pretending, doing something just for the sake of money is self-destructing and living for someone’s approval is living his/her life in your body and this does not hold only for the social media but is true in general. These things obviously don’t apply to you. Among other things, I remember a video of yours about the Philips shaver, where you made those funny sounds with mouth and finger movements at the end. I mean, you really liked that device and describing it and the whole thing was soooo genuinely cute!!!
So I wouldn’t „tag“ you as an influencer, at least not in that „being controlled by…in order to do…“ sense.
I am here, because:
1. You’re very beautiful and sexy as hell, I doubt anybody here disagrees on that.
2. You always ask for, need and respect your readers’ feedback and I think this pours vital energy into your blogging. And obviously you are honest about it, establishing and keeping the connection with us, so it’s rather your nature than seeking profits in that. Personally, I don’t care how much followers you have nor does this have any positive or negative impact on me; I just enjoy your posts and admire your creativity and honesty.
3. You have a unique and catching way of positively looking at tough things in life which (referring to a post about a month ago) is exceptional and rare nowadays. I selfishly profit from that 🙂 I am really glad that there are people like you out there dear Lorna !
I had to go back through my video to find out what you meant about the noises, ha ha! Now I know, when the hairs are cutting and it does a crackling noise, I love that sound. I’m glad you liked the video. I would like to do more in general, but honestly finding the time for it is so hard, especially with the editing involved.
It’s also nice to hear your opinion on my blog post, and so kind of you to say such lovely things, very nice of you 🙂 There are many things I turn down, in fact I’ve probably turned down 80% in the last 2 months alone, as it’s just not suitable for me, so I’m glad that’s appreciated! I love that it’s more of a community here and everyone else’s opinions are involved too!
To be honest, the term “influencer” has never really come into my radar in terms of blogs so it’s not something I have given any thought to before. Certainly I have never felt that you are looking to push any of your readers in any direction and I know that you only feature items that you genuinely like. 🙂
It’s hard for me to compare what you do with what other bloggers do though just because I read so few blogs… I imagine I wouldn’t enjoy the kind of blog that was coming across as pushy.
On a lighter note… I’m not easy to influence anyway. My family and closest friends all know that I can be almost ridiculously stubborn. LOL
Thank you, Steven 🙂 I’m glad everything is always coming across well here! That doesn’t surprise me that you’re stubborn though, ha ha!