Why I dislike ‘Influencers’.

This is a subject that I’m really passionate about. I dislike the term ‘Influencer’. I dislike promoting ‘Influencers’, but I will talk about a couple in this post, or examples sake. I just don’t think they deserve the publicity they get. I dislike the fact that they claim their fame willingly and are happy to reap the rewards of said fame, but hold very little accountability when it comes to the things they do.

  1. Influence is a powerful thing and something that should never be taken for granted, yet I find that so many influencers really don’t give a damn about that fact. They’re just out for money. And damn, if they have a large enough following it doesn’t even seem like they have to work for that money. It just seems to get handed to them. Vegans promoting meat, minimalists promoting stockpiling, devout Christians exclaiming their followers should save themselves for marriage whilst sitting there unmarried and pregnant. It’s a weird, weird world, the internet.
  2. They seem very entitled. “I don’t owe you guys anything” is a statement that really annoys me when I’m watching Youtube videos. You choose to put yourself online. You choose to sell yourself to the likes of coffee creamers and adult diapers for a dollar and then when someone asks you questions the answer is ‘I don’t owe you guys anything’? If you don’t want to owe anyone a response, don’t make the statement to start with.
  3. They seem so disingenuous. There is one particular ‘Influencer’ who I watched peddle a product on their Instagram in four separate photos talking about how amazing it was and how it blew competitors out of the water. Two months later, I saw them make a Youtube video in which they proclaimed they had never actually tried that product. Girl was getting so many sponsored Instagram posts that she couldn’t even remember what she was sponsored for long enough to not put her foot in her mouth. And, when she was called out on it, for her Instagram photos, she deleted the Instagram photos and then began blocking those users calling her out. She presently has 3.7 million subscibers on Youtube and when anyone calls out her ‘slip-ups’, she blocks them. And honestly, she’s not a one off. It happens all the time. On Youtube channels big and small.
  4. Influencers promote mass consumption/over consumption. Honestly, the makeup, the clothing, the ‘HAULS’ the excess of everything that they need to have and brag about having… it’s not necessary. None of it is necessary. But, if you put a smile on your face and slap a filter on it, there’s always someone (a naive soul) on this earth who will spend their money on it.
  5. None of them appear to be making original content anymore. Have you ever watched a Youtube video before and thought ‘Man, I’ve seen this 30 times already!’ Yeah, that seems to happen a lot these days. Favourites videos and fashion hauls, so on and so forth… it’s all the same no matter what Youtube channel you watch.
  6. I absolutely despise when they post ‘Hauls’ and leave the tags visibly on the products because you know they’ve only purchased the things to make a video and then they’re sending the products right back. This isn’t just with clothes, it’s with makeup and toys and home goods and luxury goods. They want to make it look like they’re spending a lot of money when in reality, you’re never going to see that item again because it’s going right back to the store it came from.
  7. “Full transparency, this video is not sponsored, I’m just going to go on and on for the next eight minutes about how much I love this one particular product for no reason.” Full transparency doesn’t mean much to me on the web. People lie. All the time. Especially in the world of Youtube, especially with ‘Influencers’ who live in countries in which there are no regulations stating they need to acknowledge when content is sponsored. If you’re ever in doubt, there’s a 95% chance their content is sponsored.
  8. I wholeheartedly believe they’re given so much stuff that they lose sight of what basic things cost because they just don’t have to buy them anymore. There’s a good chance when an ‘Influencer’ claims something is affordable, it might be… for them… because they don’t buy anything anymore. But for us regular folk, it’s definitely not affordable.
  9. So much drama. Seriously – The majority of James Charles’ audience is young teenagers and look at all the shit he’s pulled this year! Jake Paul and Tana Mongeau held a fake marriage in Las Vegas and charged people $49.99 to watch a livestream of it. Nikita Dragun paid a male model to be her boyfriend. Jaclyn Hill released defective lipsticks and started insulting people when they called her out on it. There’s a reason why Gossip Channels have skyrocketed in popularity this year… it’s because they seem to be the only channels wiling to be transparent and honest.
  10. “I make more than a doctor.” Girl, we get it. You make a lot of money. That totally natural photo of you leaning out the window of your hotel in France to promote a lipstick we’ll never see you wear ever again probably pays you a quarter of my 2018 salary. And those adult diapers you claim to make your 9 and 10 year old kids wear on roadtrips because you don’t like to stop, probably boosted your pay to half my salary last year. None of it seems natural though. None of it seems even remotely real. And I hope that I’m not alone in thinking this.

Personally, I cringe when I see #AD #SP #Sponored #Partner or any other remotely similar thing included in Youtube Videos or Instagram post. It immediately makes me think ‘well, I know what the company told them to say, so how about I go and find a video or post that was not sponsored to be able to see a real review. Because these ‘Influencers’ have cornered the market of the very real reality that is people use google for review of products before they buy.

Men, women across the world are making millions of dollars advertising products to people online that they’ve never seen nor used and they’re being less than transparent about it. And not just money they’re getting either. They’re getting free trips, tickets to Coachella, being given vehicles and so on and so forth. It’s just not real. They’re chasing this fancy, exorbitant lifestyle so hard that they’re willing to sell anything in the process.

Think it’s just adults doing this? ‘Ryan’s Toy Review’ is a multi-million dollar making seven year old that deceptively markets, through his Youtube channel (with help of his parents), a multitude of products to young school and preschool aged children in violation of rules from the FTC. It’s estimated that 90% of the content on the channel is sponsored, leaving just 10% to be organic genuine content. If adults have a hard enough time trying to determine what is and isn’t sponsored on Youtube, imagine how impossible that would be for a preschooler.

I guess the point of this rant is just to say, don’t believe everything that you read online. Odds are, if there’s money involved, there’s more to the story than what you’re being told.

Life with social anxiety.

Drawing by user: 12littlegiant21 on DeviantArt.

I once read somewhere that social anxiety is self consciousness on steroids. That’s actually a pretty perfect description of it.

I’m not very good with people. If you don’t start the conversation, it’s very likely that we won’t have one. Every day activities like ordering a coffee or purchasing groceries can be extremely difficult for me. I live with a fear that I’m being judged. That if I slip up, that if I am not perfect, people are going to remember that, that it’s what I’ll be known for… forever.

People who know me describe me as quiet. And most days, I’d describe myself that way too. I’m quiet to those who don’t know me. I’m quiet because I worry – about what they think of me, about being enough for them, about not being an embarrassment.

People who don’t know me often describe me as having permanent resting bitch face. They say that I come across as cold and… uninterested. I listen, I hear, I understand, I just… don’t know what to say back when they talk to me. I stare blankly into the abyss hoping for something to come to mind, but it never does.

Small talk is awful. I mean downright awful. Having a simple conversation with someone – a coworker, a bank teller, the bus driver, anyone really… it takes a great deal of effort for me. Effort that quite often comes across with people believing me to be a closed off shell of a human being.

Some days are better than others. But some days, it’s all I can do to not live in terror of my non-existent flaws. Because they’re there. You may not be able to see them but I can definitely feel them.

I overthink absolutely everything. Even the smallest of interactions can send me into a fiery spiral of anxious energy that I don’t know how to control. It’s something that can keep me hiding in my house for days at a time. And I wouldn’t tell you if that was the case. I’d simply either not answer your calls or, make up excuses to try and convince you (and myself) otherwise.

I can say that their words don’t matter to me, that they have no value and there is no stock in what they say, but they still hurt. As much as I don’t want them to, some words cut like a knife.

There are handful of people in this world I feel truly understand me. Those who love me, those who appreciate me, those who tell me things like ‘I’m robbing the world of the chance to know me’, because they know I don’t like meeting new people. They know I have a hard time with human interaction. They know I’m afraid of what people will think and they love me anyway. That, well that’s the kind of love they don’t write books about. That’s the kind of acceptance I think we all seek to find.

I believe that people sense I’m a good listener. I think they can tell that I’m hearing them when they speak… not just ignoring them and moving on but actually processing their words. I think it’s irony in a sense… being terrified of human interaction whilst people find you to be the best listener they know. And yes, I know I just misused the word irony.

The most frustrating part of social anxiety is that I know I’m being irrational. I know the decisions that I make and the actions that I choose are not those of a rational human being. I can’t help it though. I’ve had anxiety for as long as I can remember. I’ve had anxiety for longer than I knew what anxiety was.

Social anxiety is hard to explain. If you’ve never experienced it, you might not understand why I don’t want to go out in public without my headphones. You might not understand why I try to get into and out of public places as quickly as I can, why I try to avoid conversations with absolutely everyone at all costs. I’m an introvert, but it’s so much more than that.

I’m trying to remind myself that there will come a day when people see me for me. When I allow them into my world without fearing what they think. I’m trying to believe that there will come a day when I set the standard, when I am the rule and not the exception, when I can play ‘Words With Friends’ without worrying if they’re really my friend. I’m trying to convince myself that I can overcome this feeling, that the anxiety won’t always win.

Until then, please go easy on me. Because like I mentioned earlier, if you don’t start the conversation, it’s very likely that we won’t have one…

Is there such thing as privacy in 2019?

As adults, we make conscious decisions every day to be recorded, wherever we go. And as adults, we are able to make these informed decisions, no matter how much they make us cringe, because we are aware of the ramifications of our choices.

If we didn’t want to be recorded, we simply don’t have to go to that place. Of course that would mean that you likely wouldn’t go anywhere anymore. Nevertheless, I digress.

Where does that leave children?

I ask because I believe that it should be a parent’s choice whether or not they choose to share pictures of their children online. And I don’t believe that anyone should post a picture of someone under the age of eighteen without expressed written or verbal consent from that child’s parent.

A friend of mine works a relatively public job. He’s no Justin Bieber or anything, but let’s just say that he’s ‘google-able’. Because of the nature of his job, he’s aware that he’s in the public eye and that it could be harder for his kids to lead a normal life. He and his wife have a policy that they’re not going to share photos or videos of their children online. They want their kids to be able to make the decision if they want to lead public lives when they’re old enough to do so.

My friend has been to the school, to the baseball association, to the gymnastics studio, and so on and so forth to inform all of these places that he and his wife don’t want photos of their children appearing online. He does this to make sure that the places they’re taking their children are either: okay with this, or if they’re not okay with this they are informed so they can pick an alternative option for their kids.

Last week as my friend was dropping his son off for his first day of Kindergarten, two mom’s took pictures of him and his son in front of the classroom and posted them on facebook.

These weren’t innocent ‘caught in the background’ style photos. These women went out of their way to take photos of my friend and his son to post them to Facebook and brag about who’s child is in their child’s class.

My friend, simply trying to give his kids as normal of lives as he possibly can, was hit with snide remarks and a swift ‘not a chance in hell’ from the mom’s when he asked them to please remove the photos from their Facebook pages. One of the mom’s went so far as to say that if he doesn’t want photos taken of his children then he ought to home-school them.

As I mentioned earlier, I think that the only person who has a right to post a child’s photo is that child’s mother. Clearly, though, not everyone thinks the same way that I do. I can’t lie, I’m having a hard time seeing the other side of this argument. When he told me the responses he got from the women after asking to have the photos removed, I honestly couldn’t believe what I was hearing.

Does privacy is exist in 2019? Do we forgo any privacy we might have, even for children, if we leave our houses? I don’t have kids, so I’m not seeing this from a parent’s perspective, but to me it’s a little creepy to purposefully take a photo of someone else and their child to post to Facebook and brag to your friends.

I don’t think that my friend was out of line in requesting the photo be taken down. But I’m curious where other’s opinions lie with respect to the subject.

*Please Note – I am all for parents sharing pictures of their children. If you want to share pictures of your own children – go for it! I love pictures and videos of cute kids. It brightens my day. I just don’t think anyone should have their decision to not post pictures taken away from them. Each parents decision should be respected.

When it rains it pours.

I’m typing this on my dad’s computer. My computer went kaput yesterday. I’m less than impressed about it. My computer has thousands of dollars worth of design and editing software on it, so it’s really not just as simple as wandering down to the store and purchasing a new laptop. Replacing this computer is going to cost an arm and a leg.

I’ve ordered a new battery for it, I am hoping that might help. The battery has to come from the United States though, so it might be a while. In the mean time, I’ll be trying to use my dad’s computer, or, my phone. I’m going to try to stay away from my phone though because when I used my phone my spelling goes from bad to absolutely horrendous.

I’m being dramatic. I know that. But… I use my computer for a lot. It’s a piece of me. And I really, really, don’t want to have to replace it. Thus, I’m pouting today.

How to not be an asshole.

A list and reminder of how to be a decent human being.

  1. Understand that you can disagree with someone and still respect them.
  2. Understand that everyone on this earth is entitled to their own opinion.
  3. If you feel like insulting someone, don’t.
  4. If you want to talk down to someone, remember that you, too, live in a glass house.
  5. If you dont like someone, for whatever reason, you don’t have to he friends with them. Go be friends with someone else.
  6. Remember that just because “they” say it doesn’t mean that it’s true.
  7. If you consistently get the urge to punch someone, take up kickboxing or karate or some sort of physical activity to help get out your aggression in a positive way.
  8. Try to not judge, wherever possible.
  9. If you disagree with someone’s parenting, unless the child is in danger of severe harm/abuse, butt out(this is a very clear distinction). It’s not your child. Whether the parent has rules about screen time or junk food or lacks curfews or anything of the sort, it’s not your child.
  10. If you do not agree with the choices someone is making keep it to yourself.
  11. If you feel the urge to yell, try waiting until you’ve calmed down to have a conversation like a mature human being.
  12. If you dont like the way someone is leading their life, remind yourself that it’s their life, not yours.
  13. If you find yourself bullying someone and you realize you’re doing it, stop. You can make the choice to change.
  14. Operate based on facts, not personal opinions.
  15. If you dont have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all.
  16. Road rage is not productive. There are bad drivers all over the world. If you feel like swearing or screaming or gesturing, remember they likely won’t hear you or see you. And if you get the urge to do something more drastic, pyerhaps you should worry more about your anger issues rather than their lack of driving skills.
  17. Don’t drive with your high-beams on in traffic at night. Also, don’t tailgate people on the highway.
  18. Do not push your religious beliefs on anyone.
  19. Apologize. Always apologize.

A note from someone near and dear to my heart.

*Please note – I did not write the following. These words belong to someone I know, I am simply passing these words on through my blog in hopes that their quest can reach a wider audience.

Hi friends, family and strangers who might be reading this,

You may or may not know that I have been battling Multiple Sclerosis for several years now. MS has take many things from me; my ability to maintain a fulfilling career, my ability to play sports; even my ability to walk. I’ve had to adjust to significant changes in my lifestyle and one of the toughest has been a move to an assisted living facility that does not allow me to live with my dog Snoop.

MS causes depression in 50 to 80% of MS patients. As much as I try to put on a brave face, I’ll admit that I often fall into that category. Something that can pull me out of that despair is my bond with Snoop. Even on my worst day I know I have to drag myself out of bed long enough to make sure Snoop is fed and taken to the park at least twice a day. I am unable to physically make it through a day of work but Snoop gives me a sense of purpose and structure in my life. When your disabled it’s easy to feel isolated from the able bodied world. Snoop helps facilitate social interaction when I desperately need it and keeps feelings of loneliness from becoming all consuming.

The benefits of the human-animal bond has been well studied and chronicled in many scientific journals. Alberta recognizes service animals that perform physical tasks for their owners and the job they do is invaluable. Unfortunately Service Alberta doesn’t yet recognize Emotional Support Animals despite their proven positive effects on those living with depression, anxiety, PTSD or numerous other ailments.

There is a petition collecting signatures online for the cause and we’re asking for the support of those who, like me, understand the truly invaluable benefit to having an emotional support animal. Please, if you’re able, sign to support us in hopes of making change that will help everyone with mental health issues.

Petition: Allow emotional support animals in Alberta

Thanks for reading. If you think it’s time for Alberta to take mental health seriously on more than just “Bell Let’s Talk” day…Please sign and share this petition!”

Thank you.