Indiana Daily Student

OPINION: Being an influencer is harder than it looks

When most people think about being an influencer, they don’t think of it as a hard job.

Social media has become such a huge part of our lives. Because of the amount of competition from other users, it has become more challenging to go viral and gain a following. Sometimes it can be as easy as filming a video and posting it without a second thought or as difficult as trying to understand the algorithms of different social media platforms so you know what to post and when. 

Some students go out of their way to make content every week or every day so they can grow their accounts and keep people interested. IU sophomore Brooke Duddleson tries to post on her YouTube channel at 1:45 p.m. every Friday since she started her channel back in April 2020. Her channel has 140 subscribers.

“I think the hardest thing is coming up with ideas because vlogging a regular day can get kind of boring,” Duddleson said. “Sometimes it’ll be Wednesday, and I’ll be like, ‘Oh, my God I can’t think of a video idea.’” 

Making and posting content can require so much time and effort. Being a student makes creating content even harder. 

“I’d like for my YouTube channel to be successful at some point,” Duddleson said. “I’m here at college and it is the most important thing to me because I want to get a degree.”

An important part of trying to become an influencer people don’t think of is networking. This can have a huge effect on who watches your content and how many views you get. IU freshman Jake Keller started a sports podcast on YouTube with a friend, and they’ve interviewed college recruits and business owners as well as NFL coaches, players and former players. Their channel has 156 subscribers.

“I’ve gotten people’s phone numbers that I didn’t even know were possible,” Keller said. “I'm the recruiting intern for the football team, and I got that from a bunch of networking.”

Student influencers also have to worry about getting burnt out. Posting too much can cause people to run out of ideas or lose motivation. Keller also has a TikTok that has gained a following after having a few videos get over 100K views.

“Right now I'm just going to casually do it because I don't want to feel pressured to post twice a day every day because it's easy to burn out,” Keller said.

The social media platform determines how hard it is to gain a following. IU sophomore Zauriel Young has a Twitch she has been streaming on for almost four years. Her account has 524 followers.

“What made me want to start was being involved in the community and making my own community,” Young said. “I have people who have been there throughout the whole three years who’ve watched me grow.”

It can be easy to get out of touch once you start to gain a following. IU junior Zach Watson has a fitness Instagram. If he were to do a brand deal, he said it would have to be a company that's affordable and good quality. His account has 527 followers.

“It's one of those things where if I show people that I don’t spend money, they can see that they can do the same thing too,” Watson said.

Although I don’t have experience as a viral influencer, I do have experience trying to gain a following for the TikTok for the swim club at IU. I have managed to get a couple videos to go viral, but most videos have not gotten more than 1,000 views. Although it is just for fun, it stinks seeing videos that I put so much of my time and effort into only getting a couple hundred views.

Olivia Franklin (she/her) is a junior studying journalism with a minor in political science. She is a member of the swim club at IU and the Women in Media organization.

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