11 Dec 2016 Influencers, An Experiment
In a Bloomberg article and video spot, journalist Max Chafkin chronicles his time as an Instagram influencer. He went from schlubby new-dad writer guy, to hip fashion-plate glossy #liveauthentic like-magnet. Some really interesting insights into how the process of becoming an influencer works and how it doesn’t.
Influencers have their place and the more we as an audience become accustomed to the reality that they exist in a sort of life-style magazine format then we can stay sane, but we’ll also have to be reminded from time to time, as Chafkin writes, “Instagram, the app for sharing photos that is also, according to sociologists and my own experience, a perfectly designed self-esteem subversion service.”
The goal of the experiment, “to persuade someone, somewhere, to pay me cash money for my influence” was a success by the thinnest of measures. Chafkin received a fashion tee from an LA designer in exchange for a post. Given he spent roughly $3500 on photography, styling, consulting, and bots and social-media services to attain the following necessary to warrant “influencer status,” that’s not the best ROI.