The danger of the number game...
To give you an idea of this post, I’m going to reference a episode of Black Mirror I watched. It was set in some dystopian future full of leaf powered cars and houses in bubbles. Basically the premise of the episode was that ranking created by social media will one day completely control ever aspect of our lives from the job we have, to the car we rent and the people we can socialise with. It also reflected the importance appointed to you by your ranking, with higher ranking individuals only associating with those of the same ranking. As dramatic a concept that is, it is in a much smaller way becoming a reality. For example, events only allowing in people of importance. The importance indicated by a blue tick, a K after their following number or their gold play button plaque.
*dresses + skirts from Elizabeth Evadney*
So I have been analysing and observing my timeline (on Instagram) for a while now. And have noticed the same thing over and over. It seems that there is some strange, exclusive world of the over 5K influencers, filled with events, paid partnerships and opportunities that the nano-bloggers, (my term for the under 5K bloggers) who also are apart of the blogging community, contrary to popular belief, just can't seem to break into.
Maybe I'm paranoid or maybe I'm so tired or receiving messages in the inbox of my dream collaborations, only to click on the link and be greeted with a big red box that tells me
'you're just not relevant/good/useful enough'
Okay, it doesn't actually say that it actually says 'you currently do not meet the requirements to apply'. But the sentiment is still the same. You and your creativity are not valuable. And they won’t be until you reach our requirements.
While I understand where some brands are coming from, wanting to have a minimum threshold of at least 10K for influencers in their campaigns for the sake of sales and exposure, they also need to understand, that the micro/nano blogger community is a real and too often untapped community.
And if they gave us a proper chance, this community could be very lucrative for them. They also need to realise that including us in campaigns where influencers of a higher following are being paid and then gifting "us" items in return for content isn't always okay. I will take the same amount of time to create, (or maybe more as I don't do this full time) content as full-time influencers/bloggers. The number of people that follow me does not diminish the value of my time.
I am aware at this point I just sound like I am grumbling. Maybe I am but hey, a girl has to vent every now and then.
These exclusions put in place by brands, PR agencies and campaign apps, have an effect on how we smaller bloggers and influencers view our work. It creates a mindset where you devalue your content. When big names send you an email asking you to create content for free, that on average will take a day complete and finalise to your satisfaction, you feel so compelled and intimidated. Because you’re so chuffed they even found you amongst the sea of big fish bloggers, you think 'wow they really relate and are interested in my content'. It creates hope that 'well if I do it for free now, they’ll be so impressed they’ll definitely pay me/or consider me next time next time'.
This is us devaluing our work. We forget that our content differs from everyone else’s and that is our unique selling point.
That is why I can send a media kit with rates, and ask for this partnership to be a long standing one, instead of being forgotten in your inboxes.
Now this might not be the case for some of you reading this, but after speaking to a few bloggers and Instagrammers there is a element of frustration amongst us. We are so grateful for the opportunity but at the same time, creating the content loses it’s spark. Like the one you felt from your first blog post or from that one picture on Instagram that inspired you to keep creating. Now making money isn’t the only issue here. I will happily continue to create content without a pay check, because the DMs and constant positivity I receive, make it even more worth it. I love creating anything from a photo to a story video. The issue is sending a brief in which you want me to essentially go to the moon and back for you, all for the “chance” of being reposted or receiving a discount code.. We’re human and like it or not humans work on the premise of incentive. It would being amazing to be given some.
In summary (I thought I was done writing essays) I guess that I’ve reached the point where I’ve received one too many emails, DMs or notifications, that hint at the prospect of being taken seriously as a blogger, only to be let down in the end.
I also guess that I find it scary how dependent our society, (grab an inflatable we're getting deep) has become on the numbers after our usernames. We have in a way started to value peoples relevance and worth on whether or not they have more than a few hundred followers. That’s scary right? How many times have you had a conversation with someone about someone else and commented on their following as apoint of reference to their social life, connections or fashion sense. No? Well then you deserve a golden star. I've heard that conversation and sad to say have had that conversation, and had to check myself.
Social Media is such a small bubble. Although with it’s saturation of influencers it sometimes feels huge. We can't equate someones value based on their online presence. And we should'nt.
Let's not allow Black Mirror to be right.