Dear Influencers: Time To Check Your Privilege - Miles + Smiles

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Dear Influencers: Time To Check Your Privilege


First and foremost let's start with an open mind. I know thinking about privilege and even accepting it is hard. Talking about it is hard. As a person of color I see privilege happen all too often, But this is not about race, because contrary to what some people may believe (and stop saying this is China's fault or that this is a Chinese virus because that is racist) this virus that is changing our society as we know it knows no skin color, no social class, it has no boundaries.

So if you clicked on this thinking this is about you, it probably is. Sorry not sorry.

I am disappointed on the influencer community. This moment in history has shown us so many uncovered areas we didn't even know they lived within us, a moment where we HAVE TO think about an "us" vs and "I" because if we don't the consequences will be catastrophic to say the least. Yet, I am seeing posts on the daily about influencers posting about their fourth designer purchase during quarantine?! I'M SORRY WHAT?! 

Let's back up and take a deep breath... 
I am not going to talk for the people who are struggling right now because although I have had tight financial moments, nothing, and I mean nothing compares to the uncertainty people are facing right now. I, for one, feel ridiculously lucky and privileged. I have a full time job at a corporation, within the last two weeks got a raise and a bonus. I was able to buy a home right before all this happened so that we didn't have to worry about sharing the same spaces with 300 other residents as in a building. I am lucky to have a pretty decent house with plenty of areas where I can work from and a backyard and front yard. On top of all those blessings I have a platform where I can reach thousands of people and get paid to do so as well. I am not saying all this to boast but I need to remind myself that not everyone has everything that I have in this moment in time. 

When I saw stuff on instagram of influencers refusing to cancel their trips then the pandemic started it really broke my heart. Then I started seeing all this luxury posts and luxury dupes going around. It just leaves me thinking and understanding why we have such a bad rep in the world. 

According to Google, the meaning for privilege is a special right, advantage or immunity granted or available to a particular person or group. By nature our industry was set up to succeed on this conditions (at least the working from home part) so why not take this as an opportunity to deepen the connections with brands, marketing agencies and most of all, your followers. And I don't mean deepen the connections by making them buy stuff they don't need. Let's be honest people are spending FAR less in non-essential stuff so why are we shoving down their throat a million affiliate links for them to click on?

I was pleasantly surprised with Paola Alberdi. She is a Mexican blogger based out of San Diego and her main niche for a while has been luxury items. Well, to my surprise she just did a blog post and an IG try-on on Amazon lounge wear. So, yes pivoting your content is possible if you just listen to what is going on outside your walls. 

Here are somethings that I have been questioning for myself:

1. Am I considered a "average" person? Probably not for all the reasons I just spelled above so, that puts me in a bubble because I am limited to what I live.

2. What are some of the privileges that I have? How can I still relate to people that don't have the same privileges? I am able to work from home both my full time job and my side hustle. On staying relatable, it is as simple as watching the news and seeing the reality that the world is facing. In case you havent heard, 6.6 million people have filed for unemployment in the US. To this also add that not every country in the world even has an unemployment program!

3. What do my followers want to see? This is so important! you just have to simply ASK THEM! I recently put on pause my Target Finds Mondays because it just didn't feel right. So, I asked them and they are 50% in and 50% out. Then I decided to pivot the idea to do finds for smaller boutiques that I have worked with in the past, as I know corporations will survive but them... that is a whole lot harder. 

4. Is my business model solid enough to survive an economic depression? Running a business model based solely on affiliate link is extremely fragile. My main motto in this influencer journey has always been to get paid by brands, brands have the big bucks. I personally want to bring useful content to my followers, and now I want to show my followers that I am not immune to any of this, as an extrovert I am suffering. I have had my ups and down days and I want them to see me as a human, not just a sales person. 

5. How can I use my platform to support people/small businesses that have supported me in the past? I cannot stress enough that we have a voice, a platform. Please use it for good! Small businesses all over the country (and world) are struggling to stay afloat. Maybe you won't get that commission but your are helping a family or a few families get their next meal. I think you'll be ok without those few extra buck don't you?
 
6. How can I use my platform to drive awareness and help flatten the curve? Thankfully (for the most part) we have all done a great job at communication how important it is right now to stay home... but what else? Are you using your swipe ups to drive people to find out if they can apply for the forgivable loans the government announced? are you following CDC guidelines and wearing a mask when outside? like it or now, we are role models... INFLUENCERS. If you ask me there is not better time than now to influence the world.

7. Are you speaking out against hate crimes? The number of hate crimes against Asians has significantly gone up, from physical to verbal abuse and this is simply despicable. SPEAK UP! 

Please know that I am writing this with a big love for this beautiful industry we have created but we cannot cannibalize it into a slow, painful death where it has given a lot of us the opportunity to be our own bosses. Now it is the time for us to rise as an industry that did everything they could to help the world, that used our voices for a greater good. 


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