I recently had an opportunity to read a post from BuzzFeed about friends of influencers and how they are “IRL.”
The article titled People Who Are Friends With Influencers Are Revealing What Their Lives Are Really Like, And It’s Actually Depressing came from a Reddit post asking for insight behind the scenes of an Influencer and how they are in real life.
When I use the word rebuttal for this blog, I am not saying what users have posted in response to Reddit is not a reflection of the truth of influencers. In fact, I have heard those horror stories as well, so I know them to be the truth, in some situations.
Why do I have a right to contribute my opinion about the topic you may ask. Well, the simple answer is that I am the husband of an influencer. My wife is growing her following and has been for roughly 2.5 years. Starting off with a very modest 100 followers give or take, she had Instagram for about 10 years before she decided to make a career out of it. In 2.5 years, specifically focused on building her following and brand, she has amassed more than 90k followers. I am going to repeat that, for 10 YEARS she had only 100 followers. In just a quarter of that time she has grown that base by 90k+, averaging out a growth of about 37k per year. Only recently has that growth been something that can be monetized or used in the sense of a budding career. I know, 90k followers, not really Kim Kardashian numbers, but it is crazy none-the-less. And I am damn proud of her!
Now that I have provided reasoning on why anyone should care about what I have to say, and you still may not, I am going to explain why those stories are not a depiction of our everyday reality.
We knew these stories, we knew the view of influencers leaned towards the self-centered, dismissive, lack of participation with others, all about “the photo,” and preoccupied sense. So, when sitting down talking about making this a lifestyle, we promised ourselves that would not be us. We had a growing family, at the time our son was only 2, so not being present was not an option. He was our life, and if this lifestyle change was going to impact that, it was not worth it. No matter what my wife has going on, family comes first. The career, although time-consuming, always took a backseat to major family events.
Most of her work gets done when Adam Jr is at school, out with his grandparents, sleeping, etc. He has never had to compete for her attention. I also do not have to compete – which is obvious with another baby on the way! Yes, we do get a lot of work done for her career while together, but that is my choice. This is all her, she is the genius behind the IG handle, I am just along for the ride. I love being a part of what she does. I do not want, need, ask for recognition. If she needs a picture for something, I ask if I can help. If there is a blog post she is being paid to do, I jump at the opportunity to provide insight. If she has a stay somewhere, I try to find a way to be there with her and our mini, even if I have work while there. I am not a cog in her scheme, I am a partner who is there to provide support. Maybe that makes my perspective of influencers different, or maybe it is her approach at being an influencer that does it.
We get a lot – I mean A LOT of products, trips, money, fun and exciting adventures because of her hard work. We get to give our son stuff that we only dreamt of as 4-year-old children. We do not let that change his attitude though. If we go on a trip, we try to explain that this is for work, it will be fun, but without mommy putting in hours upon hours a week, it would not be happening. Essentially instilling the concept that hard work pays off, no matter how cliché that sounds.
Another thing that Jen has always been adamant about when talking about building this career is that it cannot and will not be fake. She does not promote products that she does not really use, products that are not safe, products that go against her beliefs. If there is something she is asked to promote and she is not “OK” with it, we will discuss, and if I would use the product, I do not mind being the one in her photo. If neither of us would use it, or it is something we would never subject our son to use, then sorry not happening! Keeping up with the theme of not being fake, she did not want all posts in her Instagram account to be products or staged photos. We must have real life photos, experiences with family, celebrations, heartbreaks, whatever shows our true selves, those photos need to front and center.
Anyone who knows her or follows her knows we had a heartbreaking event last year when we lost a child in utero. She could have shut down, and believe me she wanted to, but instead she used her platform to talk about a subject that tends to have a negative stigma. It was hard for us, our son, our families, but turning her back on others who experienced the same loss was never an option for her. Her Instagram platform is the perfect place for her to help others, not just herself and her family.
Now imagine doing this all while being a complete introvert, which she is, self-proclaimed. Putting her life out there for so many followers where she does not personally know 99% of them. She is constantly opening the door to view her everyday life, the lifestyle she chose. The stress of deadlines, the stress of rejection, the stress of trolls is constant, but she does not hide. Every post under a microscope, no matter if it is a product promotion post, or a photo of our family enjoying a day at the park. She does it with class, honorably, and professionally. Did I mention I am damn proud of her?
So, no I do not agree with all the post responses in the Reddit/BuzzFeed article, but I also do not reject the fact that it could be how it is. I can only speak to experience, and my experience with my best friend being an influencer has been life changing, for the positive. She is present, she is engaged in our day-to-day lives, she is caring, loving, and the best we could ever ask for. To my wife, keep being your best self and providing the loving atmosphere that you do for our growing family. We love you as a wife, mom, and influencer!
If you do not already follow her, check her out on Instagram: our.life.in.pieces