Influence. Influencer. Two words we hear, speak, type on a daily basis. But what the heck do we actually mean?
To someone who does not have a blog or Instagram, they might think of an influencer as someone who lives that perfect life, goes on free trips, gets gifted really cool pieces, and makes a ton of money posting his or her life. Actually, now that I think of it, even those with Instagram accounts and blogs can often get caught up in this picture perfect life – myself included.
PS: At the end of the day, everyone goes through their own shit. I don’t care if you post about all of the amazing places you go or the thousands of dollars you spend on items, YOUR LIFE ISN’T PERFECT. Just keep that in mind the next time you’re scrolling through your Instagram feed.
*gets off soapbox* AHEM. Now back to our previously scheduled post;)
What does “influence” actually mean?
The formal definition of influence is “the capacity to have an effect on the character, development, or behavior of someone or something, or the effect itself”. Makes complete sense, right? While this is the traditional meaning of influence, I think over the last few years the meaning has completely changed.
To me, when I think of or use the word influence, I often associate it with a celebrity, blogger, Instagram-star. I rarely use that word in regards to any other concept. Crazy, right? Influence has become such a big part of my brand, the work I do on the blog, and how I perceive others. At the end of the day, my goal is to influence others in some way (whether it’s to buy, feel, change, etc.). For me, I’ve definitely changed my perspective on how I want to influence those who come to my blog. Over the last year or so, I started opening up more, and writing more though-provoking pieces. In turn, I’ve learned more about those who come to my blog or follow me on Instagram…and have seen the way I’ve influenced these individuals. Therefore, I’m influenced to continue writing these types of posts. Funny how that works, huh?
What do influencers actually do for consumerism?
There are some really crazy statistics that show influencers’ impacts on consumerism. Let’s face it: We are changing the way people are shopping. Influencers are responsible for a boom in the retail (whether digital or brick-and-mortar) space. That is pretty unbelievable if you ask me. No matter what social media platform you’re on or what traditional advertising magazine/newspaper you’re reading, there’s been a shift from celebrity to influencers. Between Arielle of Something Navy launching her own line at Nordstrom to Julia of Gal Meets Glam producing dress after dress after dress, there’s something to be said about influencers. And the power they have. People are really influenced by the content and products influencers are putting out there and/or promoting. So many people love to hear what influencers have to say about products and services, and it’s so cool to think about how many people’s thoughts and actions are altered because of an influencer.
Does influence ever mean something negative?
You know what, I think that influence actually can have a negative connotation. For the sake of this post, we’ll stick with influence in the digital world. Sure, it’s great when people influence others to buy a new item, shake up their wardrobe to feel more confident, lead them to try a new service, or travel to a new place. But what about the flip side? What happens when influencers become “harmful” (let’s use this term lightly) to others. Social media is no joke. If I scrolled through my Instagram feed right now, I would see beautifully staged shots, pretty OOTDs, and gorgeous locations. I wouldn’t see if someone was going through a hardship: maybe they’re sick, maybe someone close to them just lost their job…you honestly just never know. While I understand that social media is meant to be a perfectly curated version of our lives, sometimes that’s a tough pill for others to swallow. Sometimes people just can’t grasp that Instagram is just that: curated. It’s intentional. It’s on purpose. It’s meant to be perfect. That’s why I try my best to always remain real on the ‘gram, and not take it too seriously.
There are so many factors in the world that influence our every day lives. Now, in 2018, those with blogs and a big social media presence are at the top of the list when it comes to being extremely influential. We’re at the top of the game right now, with no end in sight. When it comes to being an influence on others, I can only hope that I continue that this space I’ve created continues to be a positive place.