“Influencer” Is NOT a job description!

The shift to home office is a dream for anyone active on social media. It gives you a chance to catch up, clean up, trim down, or expand your networks, which is what I have been doing. Facebook is an absolute nightmare to be on these days, with just about everyone online for one reason or another, uploading ways and means not to go completely insane indoors. This is, however, the source for a lot of preposterous and fake news, so people use your better judgement and do a little research before believing everything that gets posted on your timeline!

Anyone active on Instagram will can confirm that even the topnotch photographers are suffering from cabin fever – either by suddenly photographing family members, pets, and household items, or re-posting archives – guilty! Then there are the professional networks which are generally more neglected on a day-to-day basis but have witnessed an unprecedented surge of activity all of a sudden. Platforms that I seriously neglected for years, procrastinating networking for a rainy day, have become the focus of my attention, and I am able to filter out the more viable social media networks on the desired professional level. Guess what – those rainy days are here, rainy weeks in fact, and it is time to step up the game.

Perhaps it was fate, or maybe even just the right time to turn things around, but I decided to invest several serious hours (days? weeks?) on the networks and much to my amusement and frustration, unraveled some peculiar trends.

The word influencer has been bothering me for some time now, and it just got worse. I neither agree with the title nor the concept, basically because it is based on a bizarre numbers game on social media. The higher the number of followers (we are talking the big leagues here i.e. tens of thousands) to the point where sponsorships and endorsements are involved just for posting a fancy photograph snapped in a trendy place. At least that is how it started, and has since escalated into the work force.

I have problems not only with the grammatical correctness of it all, but also the political correctness. To be an influence in someone’s life is not something you claim for yourself, it is an honour bestowed on you by others based on acts of greatness, kindness, selflessness, generosity, curiosity, and maybe just going about doing your job to the best of your ability.

It takes an incredible arrogance and a distorted self perception to claim to be an influencer. Yes, it takes balls to do so, but that doesn’t make it acceptable or right. My question: Is it correct to claim on your profile description that you are an influencer? Based on what? How do you prove this? What guarantee can you offer? If you ask me, it is more a case of ego influenza which send me running the opposite direction the moment I hear the word being coughed.

Much to my horror, I keep stumbling on professional profiles of people listing influencer as job experience – current or otherwise. I can look past those who list innovation evangelist, change facilitator, change innovator, and other creative ways of re-inventing the much-hated “consultant” role, with images of very expensive professionals hired to jumble everything up in the corporation, confuse everyone, annoy the daylights out of those who painstakingly set up an efficient system, and all for what? To force the company into the universe of social media and mega-networking at the expense of the older generation who still made the transition from mechanical typewriter to power point presentations!

Wake up and smell the coffee people, influencer is not a job description!

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