As the clocks turned 9AM on this crisp and sunny spring morning, once again I find myself ‘logging in’ to our daily sales meeting, where I find myself greeted by the team ‘digitally’ not for the first time this month (and I imagine not for the last time) as we navigate a period of change and uncertainty.
FYI – If you’re not wearing a hat in team meetings, you’re missing a trick!
Just yesterday, I was on a group Facebook messenger video call with a bunch of my best friends where we were discussing our subjective experiences, during isolation, while playing with filters that allowed us to have some lighthearted fun and helped us maintain a sense of camaraderie during this testing phase of life.
Given that these new ways of working and socialising have been adopted by many across the country, it is beyond clear that we are a generation that are becoming fully adapted to what is essentially a truly ‘digital & social first’ world and that many methods of communication that we thought weren’t possible as kids are being disproved on a daily basis.
What makes this change exciting to me, and I’m sure for many others, is that we no longer need to rely on print publications/magazines or recycling old TV shows to produce novel entertainment and content when we’re bored.
Many content creators are filling our time (and feeds!) with memes, TikTok #challenges and Instagram stories to help keep the people from losing their minds.
What’s great is that all of this content can be produced from the safety of our own homes!
Enter the rise of Influencers and home-made creativity:
Expression of creativity and the speed at which we can share creative content with each other, has allowed people to help each other cope in these tumultuous times. Virtual gyms are becoming the norm, talk of virtual coffees is rife and dare is say that… soon we’ll likely be having virtual house parties!
(If you’re thinking of having one, a new social app called Houseparty is currently sitting at the #1 spot for free apps on the iOS store)
In this blog, I’m keen to highlight 3 ways in which Influencers in the digital and social age are keeping people engaged and entertained from the safety of their homes and how beyond marketing and advertising, Influencers are becoming an increasingly powerful players in shaping the world we live in.
In times where people have been panic-buying food supplies and with restaurants & pubs across the country temporarily forced into dormancy, it’s been a great opportunity for those at home to focus on self-improvement in the kitchen.
One way that this has become more accessible to people in the digital age is through a spike in free Influencer cooking blogs…
According to a recent article in the FT,“global views for cooking shows are soaring, increasing about 45 per cent in the first three months of 2020 from the same period last year, according to YouTube. Michelin-star chef Massimo Bottura, for instance, has hosted a show called Kitchen Quarantine every night at 8pm on Instagram TV since his famous Modena restaurant Osteria Francescana was forced to shut down earlier this month. The videos have been streamed hundreds of thousands of times.”
Now, more than ever, it’s time to brush up on your culinary flair and tune in to Instagram for some grade-A foodspiration! Gone are the days of tuning into Ready Steady Cook (Sorry Ainsley!)
Which Ainsely are you today?
In the last few days, my housemates and I have been trying to harness the good weather and spare time for some good old-fashioned fitness training. There has been no better time to band together and do your best Arnie impressions (I don’t mean yelling ‘get to the chopper’ from the rooftops!).
However, beyond filling old barrels of paint with water and trying to bicep curl milk cartons, we are running short on inspiration.
Fortunately for us, and many others across the nation, social media and Influencers are allowing us to look to social media stars to replace the gyms we never really went to in the first place!
But let’s forget about our poor gym habits, and focus on this feel-good story covered in CNN:
Joe Wicks – for those who don’t know who he is (myself included before researching for this piece) – is a world famous YouTube & Instagram ‘Body Coach’ who has taken his platform of influence and harnessed it for the benefit of children (and adults) across the country.
In being the definition of ‘more than just a pretty face, with perfectly shaped pecks’ he’s taken it upon himself to ensure every kid’s favourite lesson is accessible to all by conducting daily P.E. lessons to help keep our home-bound children fit and healthy, in a time where the focus on well-being and health is of paramount importance!
Joe has not let quarantine prevent him from inspiring kids from the comfort of his living room!
Here's a smile you can trust!
In case you wanted to take part, here’s a link to his YouTube channel where he’s committed to 1hr a day (5 days a week) for streaming his Physical Education sessions:
A great cause here and one less hour a day for anxious parents to keep their kids entertained!
3. Fighting Fake News
In an age where there has been a lot of negativity circulating around social media and its part to play in the spread of fake news, here’s an example of a UK Govt initiative which looks to harness the power of social media stars for tackling that very problem – neat right?
According to Business Insider:
“The UK's Department for International Development (DFID) will hand £500,000 ($US630,000) in funding to the H2H Network, which previously fought misinformation during the Ebola outbreak. Some of that funding will go to influencers charged with handing out accurate information and pointing younger viewers in Southeast Asia and Africa to official public health advice."
Some of the social media influencers being engaged as part of the program are:
Bianca Gonzalez, a health expert and YouTube vlogger from the Philippines with over 7 million followers on Twitter @iamsuperbianca
Dr Jahangir Kabir, a Bangladeshi health expert and popular TV presenter with over 1 million Facebook followers @DrJahangirkabircmc
@KlikDokter – An Indonesian health blog with over 4 million Facebook followers
The UK Government says that the aim of the program is to help spread accurate health information "and to reach younger online audiences that are more susceptible to fake news".
So, there you have it, Influencers aren’t always trying to sell you ‘fit tea’ and overpriced Yeezy’s.
Many Influencers, particularly in fields related to health & fitness etc. have over a period of time built genuine trust between themselves and their audience/followers who often look to them for advice and take their lead on health initiatives.
They can use their trusted platforms to inform their audience and the wider public about the spread of potentially harmful rumours and medical misinformation and as per all previous examples, they can do this from the comfort of their own homes!
In critical times like now, it’s important to champion good causes to aid the wider population and Influencers can be an effective medium for driving positive change!
…and that’s a wrap!
3 ways in which Influencers are helping us cope in these disconcerting times!
There are perhaps no meaningful takeaways from this blog, but as we continue to become digital and social natives, expect more home made influencer content to be dominating our feeds and permeating our society as people try to keep entertained, healthy and most importantly safe as the weeks come to pass!