Why are influencers looked down upon?

Off late, it has become fashionable to deride, bash, ridicule or dismiss an online influencer. And this trend seems to be growing unchecked. While I am okay with anyone pointing out what is wrong with anything, There are some disturbing things that I am seeing with this trend. And I thought that it would be a good thing to discuss on my first post here.

So, without much ado, let’s get to business. The first problem I have with the“bash the influencers” brigade is the fact that these are people who are themselves at various stages of using or are already using their social media accounts for very clear personal gain from tweets or updates. In that case, they’re doing exactly what they are decrying, in short, it looks like a horrible case of sour grapes online if you ask me.

Then there is a set of folks who want endorsements on social media to come with a disclaimer. My issue with this logic is the fact that endorsements lose a lot of their perceived value and the brands will suffer from that. Think of this, if every film star or sportsperson started a TVC with “Hey, I was paid to do this!” the ad kinda loses it’s point right? In a print ad, does the brand say“Hey, We paid this person to do this”? So why should Social Media be any different?

To me, it sounds odd that we are on one side hailing the Social Media phenomenon as the next best thing for brands after sliced bread and on the other we are putting down brands for trying to leverage it. Did you do the same when print and TV ads came out?

There is also concerted effort to make influencers sound like hacks who do nothing but paid tweets, nothing can be farther than the truth. It takes sustained effort to become an influencer and even more to keep the impression and engagement numbers going. Try it and you will know it. The sheer effort on a daily basis is dizzying to say the least.

Am I saying that mindless tweet peddling is good? No I am not! Am I saying that people who sell you shoes today, underwear tomorrow and computers the day after on twitter are experts? Not at all!

What I am saying is, there are bad apples everywhere and using them as a unit of measuring anything is nothing short of disastrous. And I also believe that brands have the right and freedom to choose what medium and what sort of campaign they want to run! Don’t like it? Don’t read it! Don’t mention it! It will die off by itself.

What is very wrong is just blindly going after endorsers, agencies and brands sitting in your office for doing what they think is right! For I see that many of the decrying lot work in agencies that do exactly what they are decrying.

So, that’s that! Yes, there are bad and mindless auto tweeters everywhere. But then there are those who stick to specific niches based on their knowledge and these are people who’ve been on SM for years! So don’t take a bad apple and pronounce judgement on the entire Apple farming community!

The article was first published here by Shakthi Vadakkepat, Founder, The Quill.