The Personal is Professional: A study of influencers and pop stars
I spent ages today scrolling through my old photos to find something suitable to use for the trending #tenyearchallenge. I confess I’m not good with trending stuff, but I actually have to do it as part of my job. Because it’s a great way to get noticed on social media. (And why do I want to get noticed on social media? So people discover me and my music, of course!) (NOT to receive unsolicited d*** pics, tyvm.)
As I was choosing photos, I realized I had a ton of photos of myself performing, and quite few of me just looking normal (natural selection, the camera only finds me when I make an effort to look presentable). Faced with the prospect of using a photo of myself dressed as a post-Shakespearean circus performer with my face painted white, I eventually found a normal photo and chose that instead. Why? Because, as I told a friend, “the personal is professional”.
I admit that I thought I had coined a brilliant new term, but a quick Google search showed me I was wrong. HOWEVER!! Prior work on this subject had been about childcare, a scientist’s personally-led career choices, and some marketing blog post about companies needing to create solid social media policies for their employees. There was, therefore, a pressing need for this issue to be addressed in the most updated fashion: by looking at influencers.
Now I love influencers because they get very personal and share a lot with their viewers / followers, and it makes you feel like they’re just like you (but more awesome). At the same time they manage that relationship they have with their audiences, and successful ones maintain healthy, respectable boundaries. For me, this is exactly what “the personal is professional” means in this day and age. What’s more, it’s an incredibly difficult job to do, because it makes things a lot more complicated than just separating your personal and professional life.
Without further ado, let’s look at some case studies to make this blog post more interesting:
I just watched the above video recently, and was impressed by a lot of things. Firstly, the influencer takes the viewer on her entire journey of this challenge which was voted on by her followers. She lets them into a lot of details, like the car rides, the bags carrying, the underside of her chin at the hair salon, her sitting on a toilet while doing her makeup. And finally, the contrast between her photoshoot pics and her video style is so stark – and yet, nobody calls her a fake! (Presumably because she had kept things very, very “real” in her video.) What’s more, precisely because she had showed everyone her entire journey, we are more likely to admire her effort and work, rather than just see the surface photo and pass judgment on her and her character based on the one photo.
(Have other thoughts? Don’t agree with my views? Feel free to comment below!)
Here’s one where an artist posts a photo of herself sleeping on the floor of an airport (with a hilarious caption to boot, she is social media #goals) (not much else to say about Camila except that I love her)
Taking “the personal is professional” on a whole other level, here an actress literally chooses a tattoo – which is personal on so many levels – based on her number of Instagram followers.
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So as you can see, the world is moving quite rapidly in terms of making personal things professional, and it’s time you and I kept up.
Have other / better examples to suggest? Post em in the comments below! I’d love to have more reasons to go on a social media spiral of fun and unproductivity!
And of course, the photos I posted for my ten year challenge 🙂