Am I a hypocrite for writing such a blog post? Why not read on to find out for yourself.
While the desire to be popular has existed among youths since the dawn of time, the tools made available these days to just about anyone makes for a slippery slope for those who just want a quick shot at fame on social media without understanding its implications on mental and emotional health, and worse still have no notion of how digital marketing actually works.
Is social validation really the best thing since sliced bread?
While I can’t over generalise by saying that choosing to become a social media influencer makes you a bad person, there are some very real consequences that come with choosing to live such a lifestyle for the uninitiated.
So here are my ten reasons why you probably should not become an Instagram influencer, or at least not everyone who wants to be one is a good fit.
1. You are one heck of a confused person
Influenza or influenzee? You may think you command a decent social following but you say yes to almost everything that seems like a good idea. Instead of being the strong personality and persuasive opinion leader, you are someone who is more likely to be influenced by others, and are even willing to compromise on your own values and ideals.
2. Validation means everything to you
You lose sleep over the number of likes or comments you get on your latest Instagram post. Yeap, it bothers you that much.
3. You may lose your friends
If this is a knee jerk decision just because you want to be famous, be ready to lose some of your friends who are a little more narrow minded or whose values are directly at odds with this kind of life.
Not nearly enough people realise that there is already a stigma associated with being an influencer – because many arrived via illegitimate means or have the wrong motives and have tainted the industry. Oh and by the way, real influencers never refer to themselves as influencers.
4. Hello Depression
Numerous online articles have documented how Instagram has taken its toll on the psycho emotional health of influencers, including but not limited to depression. Research suggests that the social platform creates anxiety and makes us regularly compare ourselves to others. Small wonder why so many people fail to understand this statement. “You are enough”.
5. You have boundary issues
You have a problem saying no to people. You also get the feeling you are always easily offending others, which compels you to allow them to encroach into your physical, emotional and cyber personal spaces. Because you “feel bad”.
The opposite may also be true, you are easily offended when others put up their boundaries against you, and you often take this as a personal attack.
6. You do not know your mission and life purpose
It is normal to not know for sure how your life is going to pan out, even if you are trying your best to figure it out. But there is a difference between not knowing, versus not living your life with purpose.
Becoming an influencer without knowing your greater mission, will make your posts all about you and nothing else. There is no greater purpose, nothing that serves or benefits society or leaves a positive legacy.
7. You have a history of bullying
Oh yes, cyber bullying. If you do not know how to love and treat others with respect offline, imagine the damage it could wield online once you have amassed a sizeable following, and how devastating it would be.
Slamming others, controversies, scandals, drama and conflict always bring about the highest engagement and viewership, but is this something you want most people to remember you by?
8. Jealousy and Hate are real
Be prepared to deal with other people’s insecurities. If the words “jealousy” and “hate” were merely terms you used for fun in the past with your friends, start getting familiarised with their very real effects because it will come in the bucket loads.
This includes hate mail and personal DMs, cyber attacks, and passive aggressive behaviour. Not just from online followers, but from your real life as well.
9. Everthing you do is simply ‘For the Gram’
You find yourself significantly altering your daily habits in order to please your audience. While it may come naturally for some personalities to regularly pose and be funny, not everyone is naturally like that.
If you find there is no congruency between your online and offline life, then something is really amiss.
10. You over post on product endorsements and branded content
The top reason you wanted to become an Instagram influencer was because you secretly thought you could enjoy freebies and have your own discount code under your name.
You use not so subtle ways to try to get brands to notice you, not knowing that it actually makes you look desperate for attention.
And what you did not know (as you are not a digital marketer) is that posts with direct in-your-face ads tend to have the lowest engagement and likes, so when you see your endorsement posts do poorly, you overcompensate and try to cheat the algorithm by buying likes and comments – not knowing that to the trained eyes of marketers, the fraud is made immediately visible.
Yes, even some influencers “verified” by influencer agencies are guilty of this.
John Yeong is an Instagrammer ( @thejohnyeong ) but strongly advises people not to follow him on Instagram unless they truly enjoy his content or like him as a sports presenter. He enjoys blocking follow-unfollowers and gets high on making fun of his closest friends.