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Creator Roundtable: The State of Influencing in a Post-Perfectionist World

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at ODU chapter.

Digital careers in our evolving world have become transformative in many individuals’ lives. The lucrative hustle of influencing and content creation has reached an all-time high within our society. Since the rise of the Covid-19 pandemic, our societal shift from portraying a flawless persona to creating raw and authentic content has encouraged thousands of teenagers, college students, and even older generations to hop onto the wave of influencing. Ultimately, this allows people to become their own boss, entrepreneur, and brand representative. With the state of influencing in our post-perfectionist world, the possibilities are endless. 

This developmental career topic has gathered hundreds of influencers, content creators, and other inspired individuals together during a 35-minute Creator Roundtable discussion at the annual HerConference event hosted in New York on June 11th, 2022. The topic was discussed by panelists Macketta Johns, Social Media Manager at Bumble, Eli Rallo, Content Creator and Writer, and Shelcy Joseph, Founder, and CEO of @nycxclothes. The panelists examined generational influences, creator shifts, realness, and the changing face of brand collaboration. Now, you may be questioning the impact of generational influences, more specifically, Gen Z, has on influencing? Prior to our post-perfectionist world, it was normal for influencers to only portray the best sides of their life. Including the best sides of their physical appearance and successes, because it was comfortable to them and their audience. This allowed real-world issues, social injustice, and flawed human aspects to be completely obliterated from pre-pandemic social media. As a result, this made viewers insecure and increasingly self-critical because they were surrounded by, and looked up to individuals who made their lives seem “perfect.” However, with Gen Z playing a big role in our worldly shift, they have impacted the way we inspire each other. With Gen Z’s rise to success, they have opened new doors for conversations that seem “taboo” and sensitive. Our generation has organized a strong voice by knowing their worth and how to stand up for themselves. Making ‘uncomfortable’ conversations now a normal part of life, which is introducing normalcy into the digital environment. With perfectionism being an inhumane portrayal of life, influencers and brands companies are breaking the barrier, due to Gen Z, and creating real, raw, and authentic content that is not only actively transforming their business but illustrating a positive role model for their audience.  

 “Community is the most important aspect.”

Macketta Johns

Now onto the actual panel, “The State of Influencing in a Post-Perfectionist World.” The panel started with an audience poll. The question, “how many of you have thought to be an influencer or work in the influencer marketing industry,” received an adequate amount of hand raises, leading to a series of questions that were answered by the panelists regarding all but not limited to, self-definition, personal careers, and all things content creation. “Community is the most important aspect. Creators who want to foster that relationship with their audience are the people that we want to work with, ” Bumble’s Social Media Manager, Macketta Johns stated. “At Bumble, we’re all about building authentic and meaningful connections, and this lends itself into how we approach influencers as well.”

But the real question is, how do you create authentic content? Macketta Johns has provided inspiring answers during an interview regarding this broadened topic. “You need to know your why. Why do you want to pick up the phone and record yourself? What drives and motivates you will make your audience attracted to you.” In addition, Macketta also shared how being yourself is the key to creating authentic content because not only will your content be true to you, but you will also build a community of like-minded people in your niche. “Your tribe will find you. No matter how many similarities we experience, we are all different human beings at the end of the day.” She then uses the analogy of water brands, to further describe her statement. “There are a million different water brands, but there is something different out there that makes each water brand unique.”

“You really need to be confident with yourself and know you don’t need validation from anyone else. You don’t need other people to validate your feelings or your content.”

Macketta Johns

Now that we have covered the main components of the panel and Macketta’s interview, it is time to get serious. As we all know, influencing and content creation is submerged into the internet and social media. Moreover, this means you are surrounded by millions of people, both good and bad. You are also surrounded by both the positive and negative aspects of the internet. It is imperative to maintain your self-care and mental health whilst partaking in this profession. But how can you when your job is solely surrounded by other people, their lives, opinions, and the dreaded hate/cancel culture? Self-reflection is the key component to maintaining a happy and healthy headspace. “You really need to be confident with yourself and know you don’t need validation from anyone else. You don’t need other people to validate your feelings or your content,” Macketta implied. “I love how Gen Z always supports how you need to take care of yourself first. I believe your followers will value you and respect you more knowing that you’re doing what’s best for you.” 

All in all, there is still so much beauty embedded in the post-perfectionist world of influencing. There is something so enlivening about learning life from your peers. The inspiration, motivation, lessons, and overall knowledge within the realm of social media is incredible. This is a career that is immortal and will only continue to grow, evolve, and change the world. 

Hello everyone! I am a junior and the Editor-In-Chief for HerCampus at Old Dominion University. I’m a journalism major and psychology minor. I have a passion for health/wellness, mental health, and lifestyle. Whenever I am not writing you can find me practicing my violin or fueling my Starbucks addiction.