• Nikki J

Following Farce

Image copyright: Meghann Stephenson

So you’re looking for a new job, you have experience, a degree or maybe even both. This should give you exactly what you need to apply for it right?? WRONG! We are now in a crazy world where social media seems to dominate. Don’t get me wrong I am a huge fan of social media, but when your social media following is taken into account when you apply for a job, it is an absolute joke. We are hoping to just be considered, yet, for some new roles that seem to be appearing you must have a high number of followers before you even apply.

Are you freaking kidding me!!

(I actually read that sentence aloud whilst typing as I am actually in pure shock).

On what planet does your social media following mean you can do a job!?

Image copyright @Melsyillustrations

Having the title of influencer should not mean you are qualified or have the experience to carry out a certain role. I am sure there are many influencers out there that do have the experience along with what they do on social media but the majority of them do not and many of them haven’t even actually worked other than on social media.

I completely understand that being a social media influencer isn’t exactly plain sailing. I’ve been there myself trying to get a number of ‘perfect’ Instagram outfit images, so I know it does take time but that doesn’t mean they will be great for a particular role.

Image copyright @Melsyillustrations

There are a number of influencers out there that are genuine and are doing a fabulous job, but there are so many that were just in the right place at the right time and, there are even a number of them that are lying to their followers. We can all pop into a fancy restaurant or pose next to a fancy car, or edit our image to an inch of its life. This doesn’t necessary mean that they dined there, it doesn’t mean they own the car and it doesn't mean that the image is real.

I am all for moving with the times, but when you work your ass off to get the qualifications and experience you need for a particular job only for an influencer to swoop in and take a job that they may not even be able to do is ridiculous. Having a high follower count does not mean they will be good at the job and having less followers doesn’t mean they can’t do it.

The reason I went to university when I was 28 was because I originally wanted to be a buyer and this required a degree. Are these positions going to start being advertised towards only those with a high following? Did I put myself in over 20k of debt to be overlooked due to my lack of followers

Image copyright @Melsyillustrations

We are constantly being told that “it is only Instagram” and we shouldn’t pay much attention to the lack of followers/likes etc due to our mental health, but now when our careers could potentially be on the line do we need to start caring? Should our mental health now suffer even greater because apparently I don’t even get a shot at a job that I can actually do. Is there any point in trying?!

With social media it can be a catch 22. You need a high social media following to get great opportunities, yet these opportunities would bring you the followers. How the hell does this make any sense?!! There should be no world where a social media account trumps any experience or degree.

Image copyright @Melsyillustrations

A few years ago during fashion month, brands were looking at the model's social media accounts before they hired them. Surely this means that you can never make it as a model or in any role if they continue to do this, as you need that first job in order to increase your followers. If you aren’t given that chance what the hell are we all doing?! This doesn’t mean giving the chance to someone just because they are new, it means giving the chance to someone that can and is willing to do that job.

Surely it is all about employing the people that are best for the role. If that means an influencer based on their experience then that’s great, but if it is just down to the follower count alone, these companies really do need to have a word with themselves. It is all well and good employing an influencer to help sell a product, that is what their careers are all about. However, that doesn’t mean that they can now become a beauty or fashion editor, just from uploading images to Instagram.

The fact that the front rows at fashion weeks are no longer just filled with buyers and magazine editors is one thing. We shouldn’t have to think that someone with zero experience is going to be favoured for a job just because of their followers.

Image copyright @Meganhess_official

There are so many people out there that can take a pretty ‘instagramable’ image yet they just haven’t been ‘spotted’ and due to the number of influencers out there these days they probably never will.

This is not a personal attack on influencers. I follow a number of them that are amazing, and many of which are doing other things for their careers and not just relying on Instagram. Do the latter not realise that if Instagram disappears tomorrow they are completely screwed!? Yes, they may have a website but how are they getting traffic there without social media? Remember when we thought myspace was the way to be seen? That has completely disappeared along with all of your following.

The fashion and beauty industries are extremely hard to get into, you have to work so hard and gain as much experience as you can. Since I graduated university I have been working my ass off to just get each client, never mind the hard work that goes into it when you have actually got them. After hearing that this is happening it has really made me think why the hell am I bothering. It is hard enough trying to be a part of this industry, never mind succeeding in it, and as I don’t have a high number of followers this apparently now means that I can’t do the job. I am not the best at what I do by any means but I am great at what I do. This shouldn’t be overlooked just because of followers.

Image copyright @Melsyillustrations

No, I’m not bitter because of my lack of followers, don’t get me wrong it makes me mad when I am doing exactly the same as other accounts with thousands of followers but it is what it is. I don’t begrudge anyone being successful on social media or anywhere else but I do begrudge people being offered jobs they don’t have the experience for because of social media.

We survived a world without social media for such a long time and when you think about it social media probably is one of the reasons why many of the high street stores are closing. Do we really want to add to this by only employing influencers?

The brands really need to wake up. Employ the best person not the best social media person, unless it is a social media role of course.

Image copyright @Hnicholsillustration

Social media is like a popularity contest and last time I checked applying for a job was about experience not how many people ‘like’ you. I don’t recall ever being asked in an interview how many friends I have so why does it matter how many followers I have. Being popular online isn’t the be all and end all, and I really hope other brands/companies don’t follow suit.


South Wales, UK

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