Corona steals sheen from influencers glossy lifestyles
Lifestyle bloggers and YouTubers have thrived on posting feeds that portrayed a near perfect life. Some live by the mantra ‘fake it till you make it’. But now they are facing threats following the lockdown and curfew.
Harriet James @harriet86jim
When Sally Njeri, a Kenyan lifestyle blogger based in Dubai began her blog two years ago, it was a dream come true after many years of checking out YouTube channels and admiring other influencers doing the same.
Her blog, Just Redinta, is inspired by her job in a luxury store in Dubai where she expresses her fashion style and trends. This has kept her busy whenever she is at home.
Now that she is at home following the corona pandemic, she is dressing up for no one but herself in her apartment.
She can’t go out and take photos for her Instagram account. This is her new reality.
“Given the fact that we have a 24-hour curfew, working from home is almost not practical for me.
This has brought my day job to a standstill. It has also disrupted content creation for my blog since photography is limited to home environs,” she narrates.
In recent years, lifestyle influencers have become ‘creators’ of ‘content’, posting feeds that portray beautiful, carefully crafted lives.
Influencers have cashed in on an explosion in corporate advertising, as brands turned to online personalities and digital platforms to help create marketing buzz for their products.
Their salary mainly comprises brand collaborations, sponsored deals with their perks including designer clothes, free trips and being invited to high-end events.
All this ends up on their wall as content for their Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and even YouTube platforms.
While some people take this content at face value, as a light-hearted piece of fun, in most instances, bloggers have been accused of portraying a perfect life and living fake lives.
With the pandemic, people are being forced into self-isolation or quarantine.
And if there’s nothing to do outside the four walls of their own house, they are naturally going to gravitate towards the Internet for entertainment, and that includes video. So bloggers have been forced to rapidly change their content.
Going through many timelines, its business unusual. “I’ve not been doing well to be honest, but I promise to be better. These uncertain times can give you a lot of anxiety.
I want to focus on some things I’ve always desired to get done—so just three hours a day for my passion project,” posted renowned lifestyle blogger Natalie Tewa.
One of her passion projects, according to her posts was working out and was disappointed that just when she was about to begin, the lockdown happened.
This has forced her to adapt to the situation and she is glad with her progress in working out from home.
According to sociologist Gladys Nyachieo, people have the tendency to compare themselves with others as it sets a yardstick on where they stand. This has been the role that influencers have played over time.
“More than any other platform, Instagram confuses our social comparison radar. Influencers set up the standard by which most people live their lives.
We are constantly trying to find out if we are more attractive or accomplished than others, and influencers fueled this kind of pressure with their way of life.
With the Corona pandemic, people have been forced to live their real lives, which sometimes are not rosy,” she says
Before Covid, Sally had the leisure of filming for her vlog in the diverse modern filming locations that were readily available and free in most social spaces.
The weather conditions in Dubai also favoured her. For now, she is picking up professional skills relevant to her craft such as learning how to take and edit videos and photos, researching on icons in the fashion industry and reading books, things that she had always procrastinated about.
“Being a creative, I have been stretched to come up with innovative ways of changing my filming scenes around the home to keep the content fresh.
I’ve also learnt how important it is to have an emergency fund because you never know when you will stop having continuous flow of income.
In fact, I’ve realised I can save a few coins on expenses such as gym as I now workout at home.
Never shall I take ‘normal’ things for granted like being outside the house or having a balcony to escape to,” explains Sally.
Gladys advises influencers to look for new, more honest ways of reinventing themselves and assisting their followers cope with uncertainty.
“There is something freeing, in terms of online identity when we don’t spend time on it, trying to think about what to post or how to impress followers.
Staying away may mean getting a new identity that is real making them connect with their followers in an authentic way,” she concludes.