What is a social media influencer?

There are many questions we need to ask about social media influencers. These include, why, who, what. 

The second most important question you need to ask about social media influencers is “why”. The most important one is “why in the name of all that is blistered and battered and bruised by big black bulldroppings?” but we shall not discuss that here. We shall leave that for your social media and attend to the less effusive interrogation.

 

What is a social media influencer? Well, this is what happens. One day a woman wears a lot of makeup and proportionately less clothing and has a photo of herself taken by a very expensive and highly advanced camera. Then it is edited for about fourteen hours by an engineering school graduate. The result is then posted on a telephone app such as Instagram, Snapchat, Twitter, or Tik-Tok. Don’t even think of daring to suspect that you might hint at considering to mention Facebook in this conversation. Being a Facebook social media influencer is like trying to sell charcoal to a hydroelectricity dam. You are in the wrong place, at the wrong time, doing the wrong thing and in every other way being the wrong person.

 

The photo will have a bastardised quote from Mr Mandela, Mr Gandhi, Ms Malala, Mrs Obama, Rumi, and maybe, if the winds are blowing east and the owl is flying north, Taylor Swift.

 

But no one notices or cares, because we are concerned with the bikini picture.

The bikini picture gets a loooooot of attention.

So does the next. And the next. And the next. This attention accumulates and piles up until one day a slick Millennial in jeans and a tie and spectacles with non-prescription frames, i.e. a marketing/advertising/PR worker, stops to think, “if only my brand could get that much attention.”

And as always happens when marketing/advertising/PR people think, catastrophe occurs. That is what an influencer is. 

They take that person whose bum and bosom so many people are ogling at on social media and they pay her to pretend that she likes a type of soda, beer, pizza, hangout, party event etc.

I have mentioned only women influencers in this piece so far, not because there are no male influencers, but because they don’t look as good in bikinis and I will take whatever excuse I can to ignore them. 

Though, for the record, there are male influencers who wear bikini thongs on Instagram and get paid to say that the hotel they have been paid to stay in is genuinely the garden of Eden, all while shirtless. 

Does it work?

Khhhhhhhmmkkkhkkkkkhhhh. That is the sound my throat made when you asked that question. Does it work? When was the last time you made a financial decision, say about which beverage to quench your thirst with, or which telecom company to use, or which business establishment to patronise basing on what someone in a bikini thong was paid to pretend to like? If the answer was “the last fifteen times,” then I am going to post a photo of the latest Tanzanian Slay Queen above a Josef Stalin quote so you can visit my website, bazanye.com, and download my book.

If the answer is, “Do I look as if I treat my hard earned money with the same contempt I treat that question?” then never mind.

So why does it persist? Because marketing people are not clever enough to know that they are not clever, certainly not cleverer than everyone else. They think that they are so cunning that they can manipulate us out of our money with smoke and mirrors because they are not clever enough to realise that we are not as stupid as they think we are. 

Why does social media influencing exist? Because marketing people exist. They may be useless, but they are harmless. Let them be.

Also, did I mention, they pay for us to have photos of bikinis?

editor@newtimesrwanda.com

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