Last week, I watched Samantha Ravndahl’s Q&A video where she talks about the “influencer” industry and her job as a content creator, and some of the things she said really made me think. The topic of this Thursday Chats blog post is a result of her video, which is rare because I wrote it in a week. Normally it takes me a few weeks to gather my thoughts together coherently enough for a Thursday Chats blog post! 😆
Most of you probably know that blogging is a hobby for me. I’ve always had a 9-5 job, and that won’t stop anytime soon. I totally understand why people quit their jobs to blog full-time, and I totally support it, but it’s just not something that fits into my life plans. Some of the reasons why I prefer to blog as a hobby rather than do it full time:
- I like the steady income a full-time job provides and the lifestyle that income provides. It’s not to say that I wouldn’t make money if I started blogging full-time, but it would take a while to start getting steady income. Also, I could make a lot less than what I make now, or I could make a lot more. In terms of finances, I’m more comfortable where I am now rather than taking a risk.
- I enjoy the challenge. Work can be really frustrating, both in terms of the actual duties and the politics of working in an office setting. However, I ultimately enjoy the challenge and the satisfaction from reaching my work goals, completing projects, getting feedback from my manager, etc. As introverted as I am, I would also miss the adult interaction and the relationship I have with coworkers that I’m close with. I feel like I would enjoy working from home for the first two months, but I’d get pretty lonely after a while.
- I’ve worked hard in my career to get to where I am. I spent another two years after university getting my designation, and then working within the company to get to where I am today, and I feel like I still have room to grow. I know life goals can change, but if I stopped working, I feel like I would be wasting all of the time and effort I spent building my career.
As many reasons as there are for me to stay at my full-time job and blog in my free time, there are just as many reasons for someone to quit their full-time job to create social media content. It offers flexibility, the possibility to be able to make more than you ever could at a “normal” job, and you’d be doing something you’re passionate about. While I like my job, I wouldn’t say I’m passionate about it.
For a lot of content creators who blog or make videos full time, a lot of their followers see it as their jobs. I’ve noticed once in a while in YouTube coments that some viewers get upset when the YouTubers deviate from their upload schedule by missing an upload. I honestly couldn’t tell you a single YouTuber’s upload schedule, but I know it matters a lot to some loyal followers. Should we hold YouTubers accountable for keeping up with their schedule?
One could argue that since content creation is their full-time job, their schedule is basically their work deadlines, and therefore they need to stay on schedule. In a traditional workplace, there would be consequences if someone missed a deadline. In that sense, I can definitely understand why people get upset when content creators are late with their videos or blog posts. At the same time, I’ve always seen content creator jobs as a more casual career – blogs and YouTube videos are entertainment for me and aren’t necessities. Yes, viewers/followers/subscribers are technically the “customers” and should be kept happy, but content creators technically answer to themselves. If I miss a deadline at work, it may affect my coworkers or up the chain; if I miss a deadline as a content creator, it affects only my own growth and opportunities. I personally don’t care if people miss posting a blog or a video, but I can understand why other people do care.
Another point I found it interesting was how Sam said she probably would not have gotten “work done” on herself if she wasn’t in the beauty industry. It’s honestly pretty sad that there’s a pressure to look a certain way because of her job – no one should have to feel like that. It’s one thing to get eyelash extensions, or microblading, etc., but to get Botox or lip injections seems extreme when it’s not something she would have wanted for herself if not for her job. It’s easy for us “normal people” to say that content creators don’t have to give in to that pressure, but in an industry where looks matter and you’re on camera all the time, it’s unfortunate that influencers feel like they all have to have the same look in order to make it big – big lips, a small nose, no wrinkles. In this sense, I definitely wouldn’t want to be in the industry.
I’ve seen a lot of criticism about content creators not using their platform to talk about things that “matter” such as social or political issues. Sam mentioned that at one point, she had started talking about things she cared about, but it got to the point where followers would ask her “why haven’t you talked about this yet, or this, or this?” because there was just too much going on the the world, and it got too overwhelming for her. It was like a lightbulb went off in my head after hearing her say this. I had also wondered how influencers don’t use their power to…well, influence their followers on important world issues, but after her explanation, I can totally understand why content creators don’t really mention them. They’re not Stephen Colbert, they’re beauty bloggers who talk about beauty and fashion – it’s hard for them to talk about school shootings, religious conflicts, and equality issues (for example) but not address other equally important topics.
Sam also mentions in her video how she worries about what she would do once the content creator wave ends, as she has no skills that she can apply to any other type of job. This is a legit concern if they still want to work just for the sake of working – other than video editing and makeup application, they may not have skills that can help them in a traditional workplace. However, in terms of finances, I feel like they shouldn’t even have to work. If the big creators really make as much as Sam says they do (at least several hundred thousand a year) – they wouldn’t even have to worry about working after the bubble pops if they used their money right. They make the same amount of money in a year that most people might make in 5-10 years. In a three-year timespan, they’ve made as much as someone who has worked for 15-30 years. There is no way they would be short on cash if they were good with their finances. I could be wrong, though. It’s a big risk to put all of your eggs into the content creation basket, but the rewards may be worth it.
Sam brought up a lot of good points about being a full time “influencer” that really made me do some reflecting. What do you think about blogging as a full time job – are you a full-time blogger, or do you want to do it, and why or why not? Should followers keep content creators accountable for making deadlines? Should they talk about things that “matter”, or try to diversify their skills so that they can find jobs if “influencer” is no longer a job 10 years from now?