The internet has created an awesome place for creators and influencers these days.
Amazingly, an average person can have deals with large companies to promote products for money and underage children are millionaires by performing random acts on Youtube.
Most of us consume all the information coming at us from these influencers and usually, we get attached to them in a personal way. My daughter knows more influencers than she does actual celebrities and it’s fascinating to me. She knows who’s in their families, watches them go on vacation and it’s like she’s BFF’s with them and their daily lives.
When I watch with her, I feel myself connecting to these people as well. The thing is though, most of these influencers (a.k.a real people) are also operating an online business and that’s still a messy unchartered world. Exposing the messy parts of themselves to others puts influencers in a vulnerable position.
When I talk about “influencers” I’m not only talking about those with a strong social media following. I’m also talking about authors, vloggers, bloggers, basically anyone putting themselves “out there” in the online world.
People get upset if someone’s blog changes from recipes to makeup tutorials. Or if an online relationship coach suddenly is getting a divorce. Their brand and reputation are suddenly damaged, consumers feel cheated and the influencer is left naked and exposed to a world where followers unfollow and their business suffers.
A couple of moments in particular come to mind here that inspired this post:
1. Rachel Hollis, an influencer who owns a multi-million dollar media company with her husband. A friend brought it to my attention that she announced her and her husband are getting a divorce and apparently this blew up the internet. People started trolling her online and calling her a “fraud” because she sells inspiration, so how can she be inspiring if her relationship is falling apart? The reality is we all have our issues. I’m sure she didn’t just wake up one day and planned for her marriage to fall apart to upset all of her fans on purpose.
The reality is that therapists can have issues, doctors have poor health, gurus search for answers. We are people and we need to be supporting one another rather than “feeling cheated” when an influencer or expert is honest about their lives. #Respect
2. Before I announced my pregnancy online, I was told by my (now ex) business coach that I should keep my pregnancy quiet because it could hurt my business. I knew this was a bunch of crap because after I had my daughter in my previous practice, I came back from maternity leave with 50 clients a week on my roster. Plus, I chose to get pregnant, it’s literally part of my life design and that’s what my brand is all about!
Most of my clients are parents, and when I work with them I can empathize with them as a parent as well, it enhances our coaching experience. Plus, prior to COVID I had 19 speaking gigs booked this year. Was I just supposed to pretend I swallowed 2 basketballs while I waddle up to the podium?
I am writing this post today to spread the message that these influencers are human
They put themselves and their un-curated lives out there to remind people they are not alone in the first place! So when their lives take a turn and they put it out there, we need to respect their honesty with their followers, not degrade them during a hard time in their lives.
People change. Careers change. People go through various phases in their lives. Relationships grow together or apart. That’s life. Just like I wouldn’t tell one of my clients to stay in their career where they aren’t happy, I wouldn’t tell a blogger to keep blogging about things they are no longer or interested in.
I get that there’s a trust factor too. Like how could a relationship coach influencer help you now that you know they are getting a divorce? Well, just because they are getting a divorce doesn’t mean they don’t understand relationships. It just means their relationship didn’t work out.
Let’s put it this way…does your heart doctor have to have had experienced a heart attack to help you recover from yours? Does your therapist have to have experienced depression to help you with yours? The answer is no. Just because they have had a different experience doesn’t mean they still don’t have the expertise or vicarious experience to help you.
So next time an influencer you follow is experiencing something negative in their lives, let them know you understand things are hard and have appreciated their work online. Their future work may change, it may remain the same. What’s important here is that whatever they are experiencing in their lives, it’s life, it’s human.
I think we can all agree that sometimes things are out of our control or things happen that we can’t explain. What’s important here is having empathy for another human and not shaming them or calling them a fraud because they decided the right time to be honest about their lives.
Putting themselves and their families out there for all to see online takes risk and strength that not many people have. Not to mention all the hard work that goes behind the scenes of maintaining followers, getting noticed, and keeping up with brand demands. It’s a lot and I’m sure they all make it look easy in the pictures and videos that take hours and teams of people to create!
Being an influencer is not an easy job.
I can tell you that the times I’ve had professional videos or photos taken of myself it was not easy at all! Posing to look natural in an unnatural way, smiling at the camera to look natural that feels fake, eye contacting the camera and not the person behind it-it’s a lot more work than it looks like! It’s freakin’ hard!
We all deserve happiness, and sometimes we just have to walk through a pile of crap to get there. In Rachel Hollis’s case, I’m sure she didn’t wake up one morning and say. “I think I’ll get a divorce today, it’ll be swell!” Instead of bashing her, we can still be inspired by her as she continues to operate her multimedia empire under all this stress. You go, girl!
If you are interested in learning more about Rachel, she has 3 books I recommend:
I hope this article gives you some new perspective on how you look at influencers and understand that their lives are just as real, fragile, and unpredictable as our own.