January 1, 2019

Vloggers, Gurus and Influencers... Oh my!!!

Like many “alternative” girls from my era, I had a paper zine (ah, high school in the 90’s <3). Then, in 1998, I started to do what basically came to be known as “blogging” by crudely uploading my “content” as text files to my Hometown AOL space. I got my hits or traffic (if you can even call it that) by putting the link to the files in my profile and sharing it in chatrooms. I also did ezines, listservs, newsgroups, forums, etc. (Web Dinosaur, rawr!)  I wrote about movies/tv, music, books, sex, relationship advice, women’s issues and diary/journal pieces, as well as some bad poetry. Technology evolved and I rode dat wave,  so to speak, using other platforms (i.e. pitas, weblogs, diaryland, blogspot, livejournal…) and eventually launching my own site. During the 2000’s my particular niche was called an E/N [everything/nothing] blog. I liked the dichotomy of that phrase; I wish we still used it. (Maybe I’ll try to bring that back!) I’ve never really thought of myself strictly as a beauty blogger, or even a lifestyle blogger, for that matter.
Beauty Blogger was a decently descriptive, fairly innocuous term though. And it made sense when that began to include or transition to Vlogger, even though saying the word out loud sounded like it could possibly be a part of the anatomy, plumbing tool or household gadget. (C’mon, you know you want to try saying it right now, haha!) My brow didn’t furrow too much until Beauty “Guru” came into play. That sounded pretty pretentious to me. Even Beauty “Expert” kind of grated considering many had no professional experience, but I’ll admit “Advisor” didn’t have quite enough pizazz and “Ambassador” had a bit too much, erm, formality.)
Now the terminology is even worse! The latest buzzword leaves a terrible taste in my mouth every single time I see or hear it! We’re talking full on Sourpuss McScrunchy-face here…  What is this vile vocab? Influencer. 
I can’t escape the mental image of a hypnotist with a swinging pocketwatch, whispering that your eyelids are getting ‘heavy, very heavy" and you are growing "sleepy, very sleepy.’ (Except in this case, it's more like, "You need a new highlighter. You will buy this highlighter." )* snort *
The negative connotations of the word “Influencer” * shudder * make me want to distance myself as far as possible from the label. The “machine,” by design, makes it very difficult to do that if you want interaction, ergo success. I don’t necessarily like the idea of using my powers for evil * muhaha * and swaying purchase decisions or giving undue credence to the latest fad. I want to help people to make their own, hopefully more informed, choices. I want to help them discern the pr and marketing buzz from the actual quality and cost of products. I want to help them find new things to enjoy. I like sharing with others and learning from others.
This is not my job. This is a hobby. If it ever becomes more of a chore and less fun, that’s when I will step away.
I think a lot of people go into this kind of venture with similar good intentions, only to be seduced by the bright and shiny 'Notoriety' and 'Free Stuff.' Bragging rights though- I’ve already had a career that gave me a taste of that, though on a smaller scale. And if I’m honest with myself, those were ultimately downsides of the job and I actually struggled with handling everything that came along with [or because of] that. You start to question who your friends really are, who you are… what is important and why. In lamens terms, it ain’t all it’s cracked up to be, folks!
Also, I have social anxiety and I’m not crazy about being the center of attention. Plus, I can be a little, um, reluctant to part with my money and I do love a good bargain. So, in some aspects, fame and fancy possessions are contrary to the kind of life I want to live. (Sure, I like nice things, pretty things, fun things- but not if they put my financial stability, relationships or physical/mental health at risk.) I’ve learned to value what I have earned. I also acknowledge the privilege I am afforded. Of course, it definitely helps that my conscience [possibly read: guilt complex] is always ‘tsking’ me loudly and clearly if I so much as teeter even slightly towards self-absorption. (Thanks, Mom & Dad! No, seriously, I am grateful for the way they raised me and values they instilled!)

Suffice it to say, you can always count on full disclosure from me and expect me to weigh the pros and cons of the things I like, love, hate or am just ambivalent about :)

All this being said, this is the year that I [ideally] start actively uploading videos on my You Tube beauty channel, where I will be my blissfully awkward, unabashedly cringey and, uh, slightly wordy self. ;) Like, Comment, Subscribe and all that stuff: https://www.youtube.com/user/TousledElegance

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