Not being the target demographic for social influencers who ply their trade as vloggers doesn’t mean that I don’t subscribe to some of them. For me it’s Car and Tech rather than fashion and lifestyle. It means I understand the rudiments. For my areas of interest it means that young blokes with fancy cars get free rides, press junket invites and YouTube ad revenues. I notice lately that they seem to be making more regular videos, I assume because YouTube has changed its monetisation model which means they are feeling some financial stress. I don't think it's as easy as it looks.
Not withstanding my old bloke interests, this week I read on the printed page about a spat that broke out between a 22 year social influencer and a Dublin hotel owner. The young lady (let’s call her Kay) emailed the hotel and asked for a free room in return for publicity. The owner of the hotel responded in a manner worthy of Michael O Leary and then posted an anonymised version of the email on their Facebook page. No mention was made of Kay’s name in the post. Rather than just ignoring the slight and putting it down to experience Kay decided to make a video explaining how she had been exposed and disrespected. As far as I can see the hotel guy had not exposed her, but she was so upset at being “disrespected” she exposed herself.
Cue media backlash. Kay’s fans flamed the hotel and its owner. Newspaper columnists have jumped to the defence of Kay, saying she is a naive young person trying to make a living. Now call me an old cynic, but I can’t help feeling that this young lady is a little more Machiavellian than she may appear. By exposing herself to being “exposed” she has managed to get plenty more coverage than she would have otherwise, certainly I would have never heard of her. I am not sure I buy her innocence and naivety.
The establishment in Dublin has also done okay out of this. I am sure that they have many more visitors to the Facebook page and there are many posts of support. The owner has also reacted with bloody minded humour, starting to sell a range of “I got exposed by” merchandise.
Everyone wins. So is it a stitch up?
As an erudite Irishman once wrote “There is only one thing in the world worse than being talked about, and that is not being talked about.”