We’ve finally reached a tipping point where influencer culture, media Twitter, and the general commodification of personal content has soaked through the core of our brains enough to make us realize that something seems off — or at least, feels uneasy — about all of this, and there hasn’t been a more succinct (or more provocative) distillation of it than Allegra Hobbs’ The Writer as Influencer essay, written for Study Hall last week. Here’s a lil’ taste...
The problem comes down to the way we view work, and what we view as “work” in the first place. There is a perception that to simply exist in public space, to influence by living, is not work at all. These influencers who produce photos of themselves, who turn their wider lives into content rather than confining themselves to a byline, are thus dismissed as vapid and shallow, sources of pleasure and no more. The writer, by contrast, is viewed primarily as a purveyor of intellect and meritorious beauty. The writer gives us art, gives us insight and rigor, contextualizes the phenomena that confound us. Their labor is seen as more valid.
Trust when we say you’re going to want to read the whole thing. (h/t Naomi!)
Oh and………...just in case you’re thinking “hmmmm is there a short story that explores a lot of these themes??” boy do we have a self-aggrandizing link for you.