Chiara Ferragni is a famous global influencer. Following the switch from MySpace to Instagram, she has basically invented a unique lifestyle through the use of social media and managed to build an empire by the name of The Blonde Salad, of which she is now CEO. All this success allows her to make a living from her career. Forbes nominated her the most important fashion influencer of the world. She has a clothing line under her name and even her youngest sister, Valentina Ferragni, is now a famous “colleague”. She has been a testimonial for several brands and a Barbie was made on her image. Together with her husband, the Italian rapper Fedez, she has been defined an “iLeader”. We can all understand why her success is impressive. She made her passion for social media a weapon for profit, and she does it well.
Obviously, she is not the only one and most probably the word “influencer” will be soon added to a category of jobs one can choose from. Indeed, Condè Nast Italia launched in Milan a “Social Academy” to study influencing marketing. Moreover, in Bari, Puglia, an institution called Omniapro recently set up a public educational body for the promotion of craftsmanship Santarella and a course to learn the steps to become a successful fashion blogger: from knowing how to open a successful blog, all the way up to the use of photography and videography at one’s advantage to attract followers. Omniapro declared that this is “the job of today”. Over 700 students have applied, despite the fact that you have to be resident in Puglia, over 18 years old, and unemployed to participate.
By creating and spreading social media content thus, you become an artisan of the third millennium. This is what the 21st century looks like: “We all want to be Chiara Ferragni”.
I truly do not intend to become a dream-breaker or to diminish Chiara’s successful work. However, it’s a matter of ambitions. This is why other kind of people come to my mind. Michele Obama. Sonia Gandhi. Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Ginni Rometty. Or even Serena Williams. Some of the many women who, besides having a dream, were not afraid to go after it, going further than their fame. Women who have tried to support important causes such as poverty.
Now, we surely do not have to save the world tomorrow, but the intention in my previous words is to point out that, those who achieve their dreams have already become influencers. Brands have been frequently criticized in the case of fashion bloggers, for evaluating their testimonial based on their number of followers, while overlooking audience quality. This is because “influencer” should imply a trend or a way of being beyond fashion itself. So, the question is: what do we wish to “influence”?
The phrase “under the influence of…” entails that something must be taking power of us, as these influencers are doing. Or are they? Are we so blind that we cannot see beyond pictures or videos, or the way social media hide and narrow one’s perspective of someone else’s life? Then, I also wonder why it is so hard to make skeptics believe climate change or the importance of recycling.
Too many now use the term “influencer”, because they share and wish to spread their own lifestyle and tell others that what they do is possible: losing weight, developing a fashion sense, traveling and much more. However, despite coming from a self-improving mind-set, this approach seems narrowing because it only observes a category of ways of living.
And if we all become influencers, then nobody will be.