Quiet Desperation

Sadly, there’s no such thing as an influencer vaccine


Jennifer said, “I watched a great documentary about the Fyre Festival.”

I am systematically out of touch, with the hope and intention of keeping it that way. I told her I didn’t know what she was talking about.

Jennifer said it’s a documentary about influencers.

I looked into it

“Influencer marketing identifies individuals who have influence over potential customers” (Wikipedia).

Apparently it’s the latest marketing trend.

The doomed Fyre Festival didn’t do the concept any good. The organizers are facing eight lawsuits, and a smile on my face.

The festival was touted as a “luxury music festival,” scheduled to be held on Great Exuma, a Bahamian Island. Concertgoers were promised luxury villas, but received FEMA tents instead. And prepacked sandwiches.

There was another influencer story about a half-dressed woman who was not allowed to enter the Louvre because, well, she was half-dressed.

Her name is Newsha Syeh, and she has 238,000 followers.

Yahoo Lifestyles reported, “She wore a low-cut black dress that stopped just below her seat and continued down to her ankles with sheer black material in unique patterns.”

She said, “Picasso would have loved my outfit.”

I don’t want to become 238,001 and rely on Syeh to assist me with anything, not even which way to drive on a one-way street.

However, over 3 billion people worldwide actively use social media, and they are regarded as a perfect audience for influencers, who guide their followers at decision-making time.

During my research, I kept seeing some of the same words and phrases over and over.

Influencers strive to “grow their channel.”

Influences should “look at analytics” in order to “grow their channel.”

Influencers should post “on a consistent schedule” to “grow their channel.”

I want to marry a lighthouse keeper, and keep her company.

This all sounds like a laugh track to me: a device that tells you when to laugh, even when something isn’t funny.

It turns out, after years of (my) scrutiny, that people actually want to be told what to do, wear, buy, think and believe.

That’s why we have kings and gurus and prophets and motivational speakers, and it’s also why we have people who pretend to be kings, gurus, prophets and motivational speakers, to take advantage of our wills and wallets.

Maybe I have a calling for it and don’t know it. Unfortunately, I don’t have enough followers to be an influencer. Influencers are required to have hundreds of thousands, or even millions, of followers.

But there may be hope. There is something called a “micro-influencer.” Of course there is.

Micro-influencers can start to influence with as few as 10,000 followers. My problem is my channel. I don’t have one. And I don’t know what my niche is. But once I do, it will be just a matter of time before the saps come out.

As Ulysses Everett McGill (George Clooney) says in “O Brother, Where Art Thou?,” “Hard times bring out the saps.”

And these are hard times. It’s not easy making up your own mind anymore. That’s where influencers come in.

Meanwhile on Instagram: Newsha Syeh said, “Angels run naked in my veins.”

Right, and mixed metaphors run naked in mine, where thin gruel always has something to hang its hat on.

Craig Marshall Smith is an artist, educator and Highlands Ranch resident. He can be reached at craigmarshallsmith@comcast.net.




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