It goes without saying, but I’m going to say it, there’s a lot going on in the world right now. The weekend was full of protests, both peaceful and violent. I drafted an entire blog post about my feelings, but instead, shared it in this IGTV. It’s not perfect. We’re all navigating how to discuss and process it all. But it got me thinking as I received a slew of comments saying “thank you” as if I needed to be thanked for speaking up against racism. But what really got me, and to be honest I wasn’t surprised, was “thank you for being an influence and sharing this. So many are staying quiet”.
And I’m confused…
As an influencer, I’m hearing things across the internet along the lines of “I don’t want to discuss politics, my platform is about happy things” or “I’m scared to take a stand because a brand may not support me”. I’m here to tell you something, a few things actually. First and foremost, you SHOULD talk about SOMETHING. You don’t have to talk about ALL OF IT. But you should acknowledge, in some capacity, that there’s a total shit storm happening. You don’t even have to share your views if you don’t want to. However you feel you need to address it, in your own way, is 100% the right way. Even if you aren’t ready to talk about it, you can also say that too. It goes back to acknowledging that something is happening. Period.
And let me be the first to tell you that if a major brand won’t support an influencer with a platform for using their voice for GOOD, then you damn well shouldn’t EVER want to work with that brand. There’s nothing else to even say there. You will only lose brand partners if you pull an Arielle Charnas or a Myka Stauffer.
Influencers right now are under major scrutiny and careful eye. It’s quite interesting because I feel as though no one is yelling at their TV for ads, or throwing out their magazines when they arrive (yes I still get magazines, I am old school). But either way, we should pivot. Ads are still happening and are a part of our business. Should our spon-con be approached in a more careful way? Totally. Should bloggers be transforming their platforms into COVID help pages? I don’t think so. It’s this fine line we’re trying to navigate that isn’t easy. Our jobs aren’t HARD they’re easy. Yes, they’re a lot of work, but this isn’t HARD. It isn’t hard to be sensitive, it isn’t hard to tell a brand you’d like to change the verbiage to better align with current events, it isn’t hard to mention you recognize what’s happening right now and are processing it.
As influencers, we have a platform and a voice. People listen and are, well, influenced by us. It’s a responsibility we have no matter the size of our platforms to try to do the right thing. And try to use our platform for good. You don’t have to turn into a full fledged activist, you don’t have to overhaul your content, but just be aware, acknowledge and think about how your words, your choices may affect the people, especially young people, who may be following you.
In addition to speaking up, I think it’s also important to shift going forward. What will we do when the media dies down a bit, what will we do when we’re asked to be a part of a campaign and there are only white people on the roster, what will we do to be the change. It’s one thing to acknowledge the situation or share your thoughts so bravely, it’s another to make a change tomorrow and the day after, and the day after that.
Also, as readers and followers, my message to you is also this.
Influencers are trying to figure out how to navigate this in a way that works for them, just like you are. In addition to hearing “people aren’t posting” I’m hearing “I’m getting hate comments because what I said wasn’t perfect”. Why is there so much hate going around for people who are trying to process this world on their platform along with you? We all have different views, we all have different ways of articulating things, and none of them may be perfect. Unless someone is spewing hate, have at it I suppose. But if people are TRYING to figure this out and share, let’s all be supportive so we can conquer this challenge together. Because clearly, that’s what people are trying to do when they try to speak up.
And none of it may be how you would have handled it. But that’s for you to share on your platform. Keyboard warriors are dangerous in this industry and in the internet world and to be honest, it just spews more hate. If someone is trying to make a stand a statement on what’s going on that is in the general sense a positive post, respect that. For some, it may be really hard and scary to simply do just that.