One put it simply: “I think we’re all a little tired of being at the mercy of social media algorithms and want to take control of our content and our livelihoods.”
There is someone who agrees with them: the Mossers. In a 2022 TED Talk, he expressed his opinion that while platforms have had most of the control over how content is distributed over the past decade, he believes the next decade will be one in which power returns to individual creators. According to Mosseri, Instagram is ready to return the power of the Internet to the people who built it.
“What if we imagined a world where creators actually owned their relationship with their audience—they didn’t rent it, they owned it—and where we were all invested in their success?” he said.
However, Caitlin doesn’t want to be influential forever. Although she is proud of herself and loves her job, being an influencer takes a lot more out of her than a more normal job would. Caitlin can’t just work eight hours a day and then focus on her family life. Her life is her business, and in order to be successful, she has to let people into her personal world. After so many years of being fully exposed to the masses on the internet, she’s getting tired. She knows it’s not sustainable. She can’t do it for the rest of her life.
He doesn’t think about destroying his accounts or anything. But she doesn’t want to be tied down to showing her life for a living. Kaitlyn might hop on Instagram from time to time and show off little bits of her life, but not be the focus of her life. “I don’t want to always be killing myself to be that big on Instagram,” she said.
Couldn’t she just stop showing the personal side of her life and focus solely on fashion or lifestyle? Some might say yes. Caitlin doesn’t think so. In her experience, the only way to truly be a successful influencer is to be able to blend the personal and the professional. Caitlin came to the conclusion that there was no way she could achieve the success she was achieving and still stay away from it. She knows what people want. He just doesn’t know how much longer he will be able to provide them. And if he doesn’t do his best, if he does the job only halfway, he doesn’t think he’ll be able to continue.
Like many influencers, Caitlin is thinking about diversifying. Her goal is to create a product. The product could be launched after her success as an influencer, and she could use her platform to get it up and running. Her current idea is a line of hair products that contain only “pure” and natural ingredients, but still function as traditional hair products.
Once she is able to launch the brand, Caitlin would like to hire a team to promote it organically and run the brand on a day-to-day basis. Then, slowly, it can begin to withdraw. She can stop posting on Instagram Stories. Anything less can share itself. She may pop up on Instagram or blog from time to time, especially in support of her brand, but she will no longer rely on sharing herself to generate income. Her brand and her business will no longer be her, it will be her company. That’s the goal.
From Swipe Up for More!: Inside the Unfiltered Lives of Influencers, by Stephanie McNeal, in arrangement with Portfolio, an imprint of Penguin Publishing Group, a division of Penguin Random House LLC. Copyright © Stephanie McNeal, 2023.