Why does the term "Influencer" feel so icky?


To me a social media "influencer" is not only someone with a large social media following, but someone who *actually* can be "blamed" for said following's choices; otherwise you're not (or should not be) an influencer, but merely a popular internet persona. Somehow I've always gotten the vibe that most blog readers look down upon the "influencer" label (myself included), and that the bloggers themselves preferred the "influencer" label over "blogger" because it sounds more important and/or respectable. Am I the only one who doesn't think that "influencer" is a dirty word? There is such a negative connotation attached to it!!

My personal Instagram account commands around 16.1K followers who, I am sure, go there not to read what I have written or hear my daily interests, but because I am either an easy target or because they genuinely like my dance and fashion posts. Sometimes, I get paid to post photos from sponsors and although it doesn't happen on the regular, I am still eager when it happens. So I suppose this makes me an "influencer." However for some reason, I struggle with the term "influencer." What I find so bothersome is that I want to own what I am and be explicitly honest with myself and the Internet. I'd like to think of myself as "an ordinary girl with an unusually large following" instead haha. 

I think so many of us content creators (I included) have the struggle with this because we don't want to seem conceited or arrogant. I for one know that I battle with the fact that some viewers look at me as self-absorbed because I am promoting myself as a brand or marketing tool. I often question myself if I am I posting too much or if I should create content and post "fillers" that doesn't necessarily attract my viewers attention so I don't seem that way. For those who don't know me personally only see me through what I post. Viewers may picture me as someone who has a photographer following me on the daily, always dressed to the 10, or a girl with a "perfect" life. Unfortunately social media has created this construct that has (to what I believe) changed many people's mindset on how they should act or portray themselves and others on these platforms. With the advancement of technology comes the ability to create a new self, a new image, a new representation, which is ultimately a new identity. It disgusts me, but I guess I too am guilty for following the rules of the construct. 

Furthermore, "influencing" is a powerful thing and can be great in the right hands and detrimental in the wrong ones. It is important to remember that if you are wanting to be a "social content creator" what I like to call it, you have to be the most authentic version of yourself. I know that although I want to please my viewers, I also should think of my own happiness first. Instead of "influencing" my viewers, I instead would hope to impact their lives with what I have to do or say. I take my platform seriously and make sure to be honest, aware, and responsible with the ideals and topics I discuss. All in all, I am just "an ordinary girl with an unusually large following" who has demonstrated an ability to both grow and sustain circulation. That alone, I think is extremely powerful more so than being an "influencer."





Candy Tong