I Hate Being Called an Influencer

I Hate Being Called an Influencer

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

Bazzul skirt Pencil skirt outfit


  1. October 5, 2015 / 11:11 am

    I totally agree with you! I feel like ‘influencer’ is just another label people like to slap on themselves to sound bigger or more important than they really are. It’s become overused and saturated that it’s lost its original meaning.

    • Justine Iaboni
      October 5, 2015 / 11:15 am

      So true. It just has so many negative connotations – and yes, if you have to call yourself an influencer, then you aren’t really one!

  2. Seanna
    October 5, 2015 / 11:50 am

    From my view as an outsider it seems like the blogger has migrated into the marketing department

    • Justine Iaboni
      October 5, 2015 / 8:53 pm

      A very astute observation! Definitely forging relationships with brands to work on marketing campaigns because we’re so good at creating content!

  3. October 5, 2015 / 3:08 pm

    seriously such a great post! thank goodness somebody as influential – no sorry – inspiring with your European chic style have enough balls to say ot like it is. Whatever happened to being humble and counting your blessings for the opportunities that come knocking. I’d say that most self-proclaimed “influencers” on their bio forgot to eat their humble-pie. Great and so to the point post girl. x

  4. October 5, 2015 / 8:23 pm

    Great post.. I actually left my last business card as just my name.. that said who uses business cards anymore. I think you create amazing content, from art direction, styling, modeling but I love your writing the most. Keep it up.

    • Justine Iaboni
      October 5, 2015 / 8:55 pm

      LOL I definitely don’t use business cards anymore – but mine had very little other than my name and email address. Thanks for the sweet words. I’m glad you’re enjoying what I’m putting out there in the world. Talk soon!

  5. Ver
    October 8, 2015 / 12:34 pm

    Hm! Never really thought of it that way until I read your post. You’re definitely saying what others don’t have the balls to say and calling everyone out on it! People ask me what I do, and it’s very difficult for me to give an answer I’m happy with. I’m a photographer but also a content curator? I don’t want to be necessarily called an influencer, I’d rather inspire. That’s why I post. I just don’t know how to answer this type of question. Anyway, really love your posts and keep up the good work!!


    • Justine Iaboni
      October 9, 2015 / 7:46 am

      Thanks, Ver! I think it’s something we all struggle with and think about, but don’t necessarily voice. It’s good to know other people were thinking about this! Anyway have a happy thanksgiving and cannot wait to shoot with you! xo

  6. October 14, 2015 / 10:44 am

    Totally agree on the cringe factor of having to refer to ourselves as ‘influencers’ – I cannot take myself that seriously! I generally stick to ‘editor’ or ‘content creator’. Simple and to-the-point.

    • Justine Iaboni
      October 16, 2015 / 12:15 pm

      I like editor and content creator – those sound much more glorified!

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