Social Media Influence(R)

I spend a lot of time thinking about time, to try and find a way to make the most of it; time is after all the supremely sought-after currency out there.

There are tons of useful tips on how to manage time efficiently, even though personal circumstances will in the end dictate how we implement those best practices in our real life – or not.

While stealing quite a bit of my time, Internet and YouTube in particular for me have been a wealth of information. I can honestly say that I would have eschewed lots of mistakes, had I been exposed to that level of knowledge pre-social media era. The amount of invaluable and free content on YouTube alone is just incredible; the astounding diversity of the offer is accelerating the obsolescence of television. I think the main attraction on TV now has to be the fictions, because everything else and more can be found on social media (not to mention the streaming platforms that are the other major threat to television).

As time passes, social media platforms are now becoming inescapable, making them irresistible platforms for companies of all sizes to advertise their product and services.  Venture capitalists pour astronomical amounts of money in this fascinating industry, and are here to make the most of this boon while it lasts. Take You Tube; it weighed $120 billion in 2020, a capitalism jewel that’s for sure. It’s not only You Tube big bosses reaping all the big cash fortunately, as life is not too shabby for the so-called influencers either, the bread and butter of the business.

However I don’t know about you, but to me it seems like the social media scene is slowly getting saturated and becoming a bubble not far from bursting. Up to last year, the main players were Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and You Tube; since then the Chinese powerhouse TikTok has erupted to shake the status quo, but it will surely not be the last addition to the circle. Being a content creator on those platforms is the hot ticket, very lucrative for many influencers.  If more come in to claim their share (more platforms or more aspiring influencers), revenues will likely get diluted and maybe the quality of the content might suffer from this as well.

For now we’re still in a somewhat monopolistic situation where the throne belongs to the big 5. The pandemic has dramatically increased the social media following, as the likes of YouTube or TikTok became the substitutes for staples like restaurants, theatre or clubbing during the multiple lockdowns. Being a YouTuber is now a full time job for many. Small businesses that found it hard to reach a sizeable audience for their products or services via traditional media like TV or radio can now enjoy significant exposure via influencers. Bigger businesses are obviously not missing the mark, neither are politicians, well established personalities or even journalists being influencers now too. Digital marketing is a hot commodity, and the influencer lies at the heart of this gigantic social network machine.

It’s also worth noting that the most prolific influencers, namely YouTube vloggers are paying a hefty price for their success; I saw a recent interview of a prominent vlogger who was explaining how creating content nearly around the clock was sucking life out of their life experiences. They’re enticed to document every moment online, significant or not. The financial reward is too good to resist, as stacks of views translate into brand deals and steady ad revenues and soon enough personal life and content creation are completely enmeshed, leaving little chance to balance in their lives.

The so-called gig economy (freelancing industry) in which social media influencing is deeply rooted is obviously not the most stable industry despite the possible lucrative revenues. Algorithm biases, the tokenism of non-white content creators, pay gap between men and women (surprise…) are some issues among others plaguing this social media industry. Also, voices are rising to address the issue of the ineffectiveness of collective action to better protect the creators’ rights; the TikTok Black creators’ strike staged 2 months ago for example was to denounce the lack of credit they get for their hugely popularized content constantly going viral. Did it change much? Not really, as the amount of content coming from other sources is so significant that such collective action doesn’t pull much weight.

How to hold these giant companies accountable then? Industrial action has always been the way to go for workers to put pressure on their employers and achieve advancement of their work conditions. Financial precarity is a reality in the gig economy, so hopefully we’ll see a shift happening with the new generation of platforms coming in.

This is way too long of a post at this point, so much more to say on this topic but I’ll end with sharing my top YouTube channels, tricky task considering the 100+ channels I’m subscribed to!

Khadidja Mbowe

Comprendre L’Afrique

To My Sisters

Alice Capelle

Karen Britchick

For Harriet

ARTE

Pick up Limes (I had to add this one, a couple of weeks after the original post)

What are your favorite ones? Going to Ikea now, wish me luck…

5 thoughts on “Social Media Influence(R)

  1. « Digital marketing is a hot commodity, and the influencer lies at the heart of this gigantic social network machine. »
    Everything is said in this sentence dear Deborah!
    Zinfluencers are not really zinfluencers, they are both slaves and gurus. Slaves to their audiences to whom they have to provide very low quality substantive content, gurus of their audiences very often made up of ignorant people to whom they tell only bullshit, slaves to brands and money.
    As life picks up, I have banished opinion leaders, coaches and other dream merchants from my Youtube view. In my humble opinion, they contribute to softening the brains of people who have become very apathetic with lock down.
    I watch without moderation the mainstream youtube channels like ARTE, ECHAPPEES BELLES, BBC which allow me to discover the human, political, cultural, geographical, historical and ecological diversity of the planet earth.
    The same goes for channels like Comprendre l’Afrique, Le précepteur and Hygiène Mentale which develop my thinking and my critical mind, my vocabulary.
    From time to time, I enjoy vloggers like Xiaomanyc or Pape San.
    Did you survive your trip to IKEA?

    Like

    • Love your comment girl, you’re totally right when it comes to the quality of the content nowadays, and the impact on our critical thinking. Many thanks for the recommendations😉
      I made it out of Ikea in one piece, and extra unplanned items in my shopping bag as usual…

      Like

  2. “pay gap between men and women (surprise…)” : i smiled hard, not to laugh at 02.00 AM. Always funny to realize how any inequality will reach all spaces of the society. Thanks for the recommendation.
    On Youtube, i am not the biggest content fan, it feels full and sometimes i don’t know where to find. I follow some channels for specific purpose: gospel music from different countries, artists that i like, Online Channels that i am fan of (Marodi TV in Senegal, Red TV and Ndani TV from Nigeria), Motivational content but not from “coaches”, rather channels with videos (Inspire, Lion of Judah, etc..). Thanks for your recommendation, i will definitely have a look.
    On the article itself, so on point. I could write a whole essay on the subject lol. My general though: people must find their truths. Search and find yourself, then you will be able to build the content that makes sense for a real audience and on another side, find the content that helps you. I have made a vow not to depend on algorithms. If nonsense comes on my timeline (Instagram, Facebook, Twitter), i take action for it not to appear anymore. That’s my way to take the best advantage of those platforms.

    Like

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