blunt proposal to become an influencer
I was recently taken aback by a suggestion from a “connection” regarding how I should spend my time living in China.
The guy, a Chinese product specialist, suggested I start making videos. He also suggested that I should “sell some shit,” try to gain followers and become an influencer or “KOL” (key opinion leader).
My initial reaction was just, “Hmm, okay.” I didn’t engage much with his words because I wasn’t interested in that path. Reflecting on it more now, I feel it’s worth sharing my perspective to push back on the mentality.
While becoming an online personality is a valid career path for some, his casual, even pushy manner in advising this course of action struck me as rather audacious. What troubled me was the blatant assumption that my main priority should be self-promotion and commercial gain.
He spoke as if the sole purpose of living abroad is to monetize one’s existence and brand oneself as an influencer. There was no consideration for what truly motivates and inspires me. His pitch also implied that the level of “success” is measured by the number of followers and going “viral.”
Some of the most meaningful contributors to expat communities have built respect over the years through quality engagement and leadership, not fleeting internet fame. The lasting impact is about serving others, not self-aggrandizement.
While new technologies bring opportunities, not everyone aims to become an “influencer.”
cover image: remix of a flork of cows comic panel.