Authenticity – Influencers Should Never Have It Take A Vacation
I read a surprising article about a couple, the Smiths, who run the Instagram @The_greatescape.blog, which claims about 28,000 followers. The blog details their two year round-the-world trip. The article is about Ms. Smith admitting that she wasn’t honest in her blog about the couple’s experiences during their three months in the Dominican Republic.
She’s apparently unaware of the first rule of being an influencer — authenticity.
She’s quoted in the article saying “In all honesty, influencers are too scared to tell the truth and feel the need to show the beautiful side. Most people only want to hear the positive things.”
I have no idea where she came up with that notion, as it’s plain wrong. I represent several influencers, ranging from micros to very successful macros, and have for years. None of them have any problem being honest with their followers, even when it’s not beautiful.
Influencers know not to misrepresent if they want to stay relevant and be successful. They understand it’s an absolute requirement to always be candid and real, warts and all, and not solely convey unicorns and rainbows.
Instead of the Dominican idyll the Smiths painted, Ms. Smith now claims that beginning days after their arrival there, she was sexually assaulted, nearly kidnapped, her husband came close to being robbed, and that the police there are corrupt and useless.
She owed her followers that truth from jump, not just when she learned the Smith’s experiences there weren’t unique. Her Dominica blogs could have enticed others to go, and unknowingly put themselves in similar danger.
While the Smith’s experiences there were horrifying, other things she said in the article also didn’t seem candid.
Because of their experiences, she said she and her husband isolated themselves there for protection from any further dangers. They found some safety in a local community of expats.
However, they didn’t leave. The Smiths stayed the entire three months originally planned.
Why? Ms. Smith claims they couldn’t afford to change their travel plans. (I guess possible additional physical and sexual harm was more cost-effective).
I’ve traveled extensively, both for leisure and business, here and in several foreign countries. I can’t imagine that they’ve preplanned every detail for the entire two years, and couldn’t quickly change their travel plans, and get out of Dodge (well, Dominica) for a situation that personally dangerous. Like most leisure travelers, they’ve likely discovered and will make discoveries for which they’ll want to take unplanned side trips or explore where they hadn’t originally contemplated. They’ll also likely find (and hopefully bail out of) other places that don’t only have a “beautiful side”.
I wish her and her husband the best, but her several incidences of online dishonesty will likely cause followers to bail, post negative comments, or both.
Influencers should never retreat from what’s real. If they want to create fiction, they should write novels.
Just sayin’ … TM