Gen Z creators on social media fame, the inevitable trolls and more at TechSparks 2021
With many followers come great responsibility. As people across age groups spend more time online, social media personalities have genuinely become today’s ‘influencers.’
Their content ranging from everyday fashion and leisure trends to politics and brand promotion, has a significant bearing on their followers. TechSparks 2021, YourStory’s flagship tech-startup conference, featured three Gen Z content creators sharing insights on the tricky virtual fame, the inevitable trolls, hopping on trends, and the finance behind it all.
For Aryaki Joon, the influencing factor felt real when travelled after months of creating content online during the pandemic-induced lockdown. “The bubble burst and the realisation hit when people from different cities came up to me. I thought what I am doing is real, and I am leaving a mark,” she said.
For Tarini Shah, things got serious when money started trickling in. Then came the contracts, and commitments became legally binding. She also realised that fun and passion could be monetised as well. “It becomes serious, and you are happy as well because it's your passion. So, when brands came to me, and they thought my content was worth paying for, I thought it's my time, and it's serious,” Tarini remarked.
Taneesha felt a sudden responsibility when her stories helped several kittens and puppies find homes. She realised that people were not just reading her stories, but she had a big audience.
The teen concurred when Tarini said that slow and gradual growth, rather than overnight fame, made it easy because the audience grows with you.
Keeping it real
What goes behind the scenes to put together content an audience can relate to? Aryaki makes sure to jot down ideas and lets them sit for a while and see if it still strikes a chord the next day. However, spontaneity in creating content is critical. They all agreed that it is a mix of the trends and what works individually at the end of the day.
Tarini likes to portray the reality of the ups and downs in her day and life instead of posing happily and glamorously in front of the camera.
Taneesha, who claims to be an intersectional feminist, said she is vocal about most issues like body positivity and anything connected to the LGBTQ community and added that most influencers spoke about them unsparingly.
She said that trolls and receiving hate messages are an inevitable part of an influencer’s online presence. “There will always be someone who will want to criticise you. But I don't think that should bring you down because I think when I say something, it shakes their belief so much that they feel the need to say something to me,” Taneesha quipped, adding that she has grown immune to hate and it would now take at least 30 to 40 trolls to affect her.
It’s okay to negotiate money
There is a lot of money in influencer marketing as brands and businesses turn to them to reach the masses. However, all three of them shared that estimating how much to charge, especially when starting, can be difficult.
Tarini shared that there have been times when brands have reached out quoting more money than she had in mind, and eventually knowing your worth in a pool of creators came with experience. Having management companies also helped.
“Once you start getting that finance, you understand that you are worth what you are and asking for more is not wrong. You need to ask for more money because that is something you deserve. After all, you are putting a lot of effort into it. Knowing that ‘you are your USP is important, and you are worth the money,” she added.
Tarini agreed that managing both education and work was not easy, and it takes sleepless nights to have the best of both worlds.
Juggling college assignments and exams with content creation, Aryaki said, "It's kind of overwhelming. But I think it's also preparing us for the real world because it doesn't work according to you. You have to adjust and manage.”
In true Gen Z style, Tarini said she is taking it one day at a time and enjoying the process by doing what makes her happy.
Edited by Rekha Balakrishnan