BAZZUL skirt FW15
We were just getting over the hump of derogatory connotations and the self-proclaimed job title: “blogger,” when the powers that be graciously proffered an ever more pejorative alternative that is now en vogue to use when referring to people like me. Hello, my name is Justine and I’m an Influencer. How 007 of me. Cue the cringing.
Whoever came up with that word should be taken into custody and never be allowed to see the light of day, again. I mean, we used to think blogging was a bad word but now that the bloggers have graduated into influencers I feel as though we can’t shake society’s steadfast intent to keep us from ever introducing ourselves without having the slightest urge to vomit a little every singe time. I wasn’t ever really proud to be a blogger and there’s no relief from the shame now that I’ve somehow overnight become an Influencer.
And it’s not that I’m ungrateful for the changes happening in the industry – yay, brands finally want to pay us for our hours of hard work and creativity with more than just a sweater, forging real working relationships based on mutual respect – but it’s the job title that I have a problem with. You should see some of the titles being shelled out at agencies these days: “Influencer Manager”, “Persuasion Expert,” and my personal favourite, “Influencing the Influencers.” Oh, and for anyone who writes the word “Influencer or Digital Influencer” in their social media byline? I automatically cannot take you seriously – have you seen yourself, lately? I mean, as Socrates said, the unexamined life is not worth living.
You wanna know what I really think? I think we’re all using the word and we all secretly hate it but we do it anyway like air kisses in the front row.
I’m not here to influence. Just saying the word makes me feel dirty. I can’t influence you to wear a certain clothing brand or cut your hair – nor do I want to. I want to inspire. I’m the kind of girl that loves to over-examine every aesthetic decision I make, from the plate I use to serve a mid-afternoon charcuterie to the lipstick I apply before heading out the door. If I’m doing the groundwork then all of you should benefit from my hours of research. Allow me to make the mistakes and then inspire you when I get it right. And by all means, add or subtract whatever you feel necessary for your own sanity. Like, why couldn’t they call us “Inspirers”? It’s just a few words off in the dictionary and yet a world of a difference in meaning.
The real issue here is that there is no agreed upon definition of what people like me do. Am I a blogger? Am I a stylist? Am I a writer? A content curator? A creative director? A lifestyle expert? There is no consensus. (Not even on my tax report). Your social media byline is a blank slate upon which you can scribble whatever brand of bullshit you feel best captures your outfit pictures and flat lays. But please, please, don’t put Influencer. There’s got to be a better word to describe the reason you wake up in the morning that sounds less cheesy than that, even if what we do is in fact sometimes very cheesy indeed.
What are your thoughts about the word “INFLUENCER”? Leave a comment here or drop me a tweet @justineiaboni