I have been reviewing interview transcripts from my project looking at how influencers, influencer agencies, and social media companies have been adapting to COVID-19, and want to share a few quintessential snippets, paraphrased:
1) Founder, on his staff offering to take pay cuts to keep business afloat: “Millennials get a lot of shit for all sorts of things from us [Gen X, boomers]. But every single young person in my company is working so hard right now. We [generation, company] wouldn’t survive w/o them”
2) CEO, on the difficulty of getting messages out with news saturation: “Everyone is online all the time now, but our interests are very narrowed to the virus. Human rights issues [that the company promotes on social media] are sidelined because we’re worrying about our own selves”
3) Influencer, on why they are stepping up their COVID-19 related contents: “Everyone feels helpless and depressed, and I also don’t feel like working anymore. But I [millennial] am older than my followers [gen z] and feel a sense of duty to provoke them into action somehow”
4) Content producer, on why they’re still focused on humour while personally undergoing depression now: “This is a very serious situation. I didn’t know how else to help, except do what I do best, which is to entertain. I hope our work can bring some light relief in this time”
5) Business manager, on why she was motivated to continue working through months of lockdown: “To be honest, if we don’t work, we have no income. I need to be responsible to my employees. While I am still in the correct headspace, I need to plan for our recovery straight away”
6) Influencer, on how lockdowns and close deaths gave her clarity: “At some point I asked myself why I am still doing this, promoting consumption and telling people to spend money. I always felt this, but never took action. I need to do much more meaningful things with my platforms”
7) Prolific meme producer, on the PSAs they have been putting out: “I don’t think many of us really think about how [the mass influx of information] is affecting boomers. Since they like WhatsApp memes so much we will make more with an educational intent [to combat COVID19 misinfo]”
8) Influencer, on reactions from his young followers: “We see them posting funny shit online and think they don’t care, are not affected. But really this is how they are coping, by doing what still feels normal. [Parents/adults] don’t understand that this is a support system”
I’ve been trying to find meaning in my (small) work during this (big) crisis, and this project has been fulfilling and meaningful. I feel it’s important to document these contingency precarities.
PS: If you would like to participate in the interviews, please DM. Take care.