Candidly Cartier: “Influencer” is Not a Dirty Word

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Influencer Filth

More and more on social media I’m seeing the word “Influencer” tossed around like absolute filth. Whether it’s disdain for those who flaunt their lives like they’ve been sponsored to take their next breath (you know who you are) or annoyance that content isn’t authentic, there’s a real hate on these days for people who make a dolla dolla bill or two from content creation.

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influencer

/ˈinflo͝oənsər/

noun
  1. a person or thing that influences another.
    “he was a champion of the arts and a huge influencer of taste”
    • MARKETING
      a person with the ability to influence potential buyers of a product or service by promoting or recommending the items on social media.
      “influencers can add serious credibility to your brand”

influencer

Influencers – They’re Just Like You!

This idea that the common person is like a celebrity is an interesting shift in the makeup of our society. They haven’t done anything particularly spectacular, or so most people think. From my view, someone of influence finds beauty in the mundane. This is a new(ish) form of art combining the written word (yes, captions can be poetry), photography (okay – hiring photographers for your OOTD is a little much), and graphic design (you know how much editing goes into some of these ‘grams). Most of these people are also crafty AF in the way they live their lives. They’ve carved out a niche where (well, the successful ones) can follow their bliss daily. It doesn’t happen overnight, however. Building a business, even if your brand is yourself, is hard work. The competition is bloody fierce.

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On Sundays we brunch! @orettatoronto had great atmosphere, fantastic (and quick) service, and super tasty eats! We shared a bottle of prosecco and: • Bombolone Milanese $19 Fried chicken thigh sandwiche, bombolone bun, spicy bacon aioli, slaw. • Uova Burrata e Tartufo $19 Scrambled eggs, asparagus, burrata, black truffle, focaccia. 🍳// #brunch . . . . . . . . . . . #bhgfood #buzzfeast #buzzfeedfood #droolclub #feedfeed #foodblogger #foodgawker #seoulfood #foodstagram #forkfeed #prosecco #Sundayfunday #huffposttaste #kitchenbowl #kingwest #sweetmagazine #tastespotting #thefeedfeed #thekitchn #torontofood #toronto #브런치  #맛집탐방 #먹방  #eatingfortheinsta #cravethe6ix #brunch🍴

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Influencers – They Eat!

I get it – going to a restaurant with friends and having your dining companion make the table wait until the food is cold is incredibly obnoxious. When the food arrives and everyone scrambles to create a table with the greatest aesthetic standing up on a chair with a portable flash in one hand and their phone in the other, it’s obnoxious. This behaviour really takes a toll on the guest experience of every other person in the restaurant. This detracts from the carefully prepared and plated meal they restaurant’s team has put together. As someone who has worked in the hospitality industry for many, many years and has worked with chefs and bartenders passionate about their craft, I wonder if the food even tastes good or if it’s just pretty. I wonder if these “influencers” can tell the difference between tarragon and turmeric.

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Influencers – They Shop!

This is the thing about “aspiring influencers” that drives me up the wall. Influencers Faking Brand Deals is nothing new. I knew of plenty of people doing this while I was in Korea in an attempt to secure new business. I also knew of desperate women who would be given discarded goods from influencers within the Korean Beauty Space who would put “#gifted” on everything. No, you weren’t gifted sh*t, little girl. Your friend who spent hundreds, possibly thousands of dollars becoming a skincare expert gave you the crap she no longer wanted, and you gave it a glowing review.

Making Money Blogging

Building  blog and a brand costs money. Most of the people I knew when I started blogging were trying to share the latest and greatest spots in the city giving directions in the process. Heck – I made a whole video about how to get to the Raccoon Cafe in Seoul when I was still living in Busan. I shared restaurant reviews where I spent a pretty penny and felt I got great value. I was never “doing it for the ‘gram”, and the friends I met through the blogging community (at first) weren’t either. We just wanted to share cool things we found in English for people who might not be having the easiest time navigating in Korean. The secret to making money blogging? HARD WORK.

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Passion Projects Put to Work

That’s the thing – most content creators turned influencers built a website and started writing about life hacks, amazing products and fantastic deals they genuine adore and want to share. I began my blog, The Toronto Seoulcialite, while in Korea because I was leaving the marketing world and didn’t want to become irrelevant and undesirable as a potential hire upon my return. Now I work as a writer for a law firm because:

  • I was a teacher – I taught spelling, grammar, syntax, and flow. These are essential skills in my daily tasks at work.
  • I learned about my audience, SEO, link-building, social media marketing, and wordpress. These are desirable skills within my industry.
  • Once I realised that there were companies who wanted to partner with me, I amped up the business of blogging. Creating pitches and proposals for companies with whom I desired to work became necessary. Paying for for products and experiences was normal. Sometimes I could organize a partnership to offset the costs of running my blog. I wasn’t a hack job with my mouth wide open hawking a food product I would never eat, if you know what I mean. Now, I research companies and write marketing materials to show how our team is the best fit for a particular project.

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Influencers – The Hate is Real

The problem with influencers in our 2019 society is that thing have gotten out of control. What used to be an industry of finding cool things, expressing honest emotions (This Crazy Thing Called Life isn’t sunshine and roses. Sometimes sh*t gets real) is now a forcefield of gritting a smile and showing no weakness. The glossy, glamorous lives of aspiring influencers aren’t real. These people in Facebook groups trying to get you to join pyramid schemes so you can “travel the world for free” are conning you. The reason content creators had influence was because they weren’t perfect, they were passionate. The start-up nature of sharing your life’s ups and downs was real; authentic.

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Now, “engagement” is easy to fake. You can pump some money into Facebook to promote or pay off a bot farm to like the image for you. It’s infuriating that PR companies – people who are supposed to be professionals in this field – don’t see through the fake followers and inauthetic content. It’s sad to see companies partner with “influencers” who are guaranteed to bring no reach, engagement, or revenue from the rates they charge. I can totally understand and respect why the every man or woman gets a hate on for the influencer life. The hate is real.

When it comes down to it, there will always be people of influence. When genuine, and not pay for play, an influencer is someone honest who gives a review you can trust. With cost of living at an all-time high, that trust should be sacred. Influencer isn’t a dirty word, we’ve just forgotten the meaning.

Candidly Cartier: What Are You Doing New Year’s Eve?

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What are you doing New Year’s Eve?

New Year’s Eve always holds a little magic for me. Call me childlike, call me whimsical, call me a bitch in sheep’s clothing – this is the time of year where I set all sarcasm aside and am genuinely hopeful. There are plenty of “New Year, New Me”, “New Year, Same Asshole”, and “New Year, New Memes” running around my Facebook feed, but I think it’s a great time to step back and take accountability for the year coming to a close and the opportunity to come.

New Years Eve Toronto Lifestyle Blog, Sparkler

Hard Reset

Some people say that special days set the tone for the next year. I think they’re kind of like hard resets to as close to factory settings as you can get. They make you assess where you are and are optimal as pivot points if you’re unhappy with particular elements. On New Year’s Eve, I make tangible goals. On my birthday, they tend to be more sentimental. Even on Valentine’s Day I make goals, but that’s usually to pick up as much chocolate as I can while it’s on deep discount!

Coconut, Camera, New Years Eve Toronto Lifestyle Blog

Planning for Paradise

If New Year’s Eve sets the tone for the year, December 31, 2017 was a very good indication. Last New Year’s Eve I spent the day updating my resume, applying for jobs in Canada from Korea, finalizing travel itineraries, and decided very last minute to go to this huge hotel ballroom party with one of the most entertaining friends I met in Korea.

Bar, Lights, New Years Eve Toronto Lifestyle Blog

Step 1 – We can have lots of fun!

That evening we went to my friend’s bar for a quick sip of holiday cheer. When we arrived, the bar was completely empty. One and done, we hopped across to another’s friend’s restaurant which was picking up speed, and we were able to have a couple of cocktails and mingle with some people who, looking back, were really important to me over the course of my time in Seoul. We took a taxi down to Gangnam and the hotel was already insanely packed.

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Happy New Year!

There were plenty of familiar faces. Some of these people taunted and tormented me the majority of 2017. I saw one fall on her face and welcomed the little bitch called karma to the party. I bumped into someone I dated right after ex Co-P when I was 100% not ready to be going out with anyone. Closure was good. I met some readers of The Toronto Seoulcialite and That Girl Cartier who ended up coming to my going away party in March. We all mixed and mingled and I got to hang out with a lot of  amazing friends I had made over the course of my 3 years abroad. At midnight, I even got my New Year’s kiss!

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Working Girl

If NYE 2018 was an indication of the year to come, I think it was pretty spot on. I continuously worked on my resume and interview skills. In Canada, I worked a contract position for a major non-profit before getting a job I love at a big Bay Street law firm. I am so incredibly lucky to have this position working under the management of someone I adore, and with two smart, strong, beautiful women who round out our part of the team. We have a host of characters in our department and each brings a magnitude of skills and swag to our dynamic. In 2018 I took trips to Borneo, Bali, Orlando, and Reykjavik. Landing in Toronto, I brought back the most important people (some I never thought I’d be so close to after 20 years of friendship <3). Anyone who had previously brought negativity to my life was ravaged by karma (see December 2016) or just didn’t make it back into my life.

New Years Eve Toronto Lifestyle Blog

Disappointing Dates

I dated a lot – whoa man, did I ever date. Like that NYE party in Gangnam, nobody was particularly special, however. I went on a lot of first dates which amounted to absolutely nothing. Even people from dating apps I’d never met assumed that (I guess based on age? I’m 31) I wanted to drop it all and get hitched right away. Nope, I’d like to have a connection with someone and would like to go on regular dates, but don’t really see that happening with someone in Toronto. 2019 – feel free to surprise me in that department!

2019 – Back to that Fitness Grind

In December I began a program called F45 which stands for “Functional 45 (minutes)”. It’s circuit training you take at your own pace with several trainers moving throughout the stations to ensure your technique is correct, you’re not getting injured, and you’re giving it your all. I’ve decided to partner with them (they call me an “F45 Ambassador” #fancy!) because I’ve tried a number of similar classes throughout Toronto in November and December, and this was the only one I felt was accessible to every body (skinny fat, big boned, bloated, or big and buff) and at every stage of the fitness journey. As much as I loved (and I LOVED) Big Hit, I need something that’s convenient to home or work, and these studios are popping up all over town. St. Clair West is convenient to get to from work then to head home, and I love the community that’s developing at this relatively new studio! I’ll be taking a class on December 31, 2018 and anticipate F45 will be a bit element in my personal growth (and physical reduction!) through 2019. FREE WEEK – CLICK HERE

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Peaks and Valleys

A concept recently brought to my attention is that our life should have peaks and valleys much like the lines on a heart rate monitor. When the line moves, we’re alive. When the line is a plateau for too long, our heart has stopped beating and we’re dead. The past few years have has such epic highs and deep, deep lows. I now find that I’m teetering awfully close to the plateau. Honestly, I’m kind of bored. I hope that this year I can find the beauty in the break, strive for more epic highs, accept any tragic losses, and keep this wildly passionate heart beating. If not for the simile, at least for the caloric burn.

New Years Eve Toronto Lifestyle Blog

Happy New Year

Love,

Cartier