It’s a job? “Influencers”, between fantasy and reality

Mexico (AFP) – Is it really a job? Luis has no doubt that he does. Two years ago this young Mexican left his position in a bank and became an “influencer” with millions of followers on social networks.

But it also recognizes that digital success can be a flash in the pan if there is no consistency or quality, in a changing universe and ruthless competition.

Posting comedic videos, Luis Mendez, 25, has earned 11.7 million followers on TikTok and 6.4 million on YouTube.

He also fulfilled the dream of every creator: “monetize” his content, he tells AFP during the international convention of “influencers” Vidcon, in Mexico City.

It is a complex process in which platforms pay based on the number of views, the country where the videos are viewed, their duration and associated advertising.

“You can live from creation on YouTube,” says José González, in his twenties with 830,000 subscribers on that platform, where celebrities such as the Mexican Luisito Comunica captivate 39.4 million people, without mentioning figures.

For Luis Méndez, the path began after leaving the bank in the middle of the pandemic and focusing on his career. Thus, he managed to viralize a first scene in which he parodies a child who asks his cousin for a “snack”.

Seven months later he received his first payment, which he invested in a cell phone and a computer.

With the star upon them, they now ask him for advice. “I tell them to be consistent and identify what they want. Having a viral video can be easy, the hard part is keeping it,” she says.

– Tough competition –

One of the most recent videos of Susy Mouriz, a 16-year-old Panamanian, had 5.8 million views on YouTube on Sunday. In it she plays a student who is late for school.

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Consolidated among Vidcon attendees, Susy has 7.8 million followers on YouTube and 8.7 million on TikTok. But her biggest challenge was convincing her mother to help her produce her first content, which spread like wildfire.

For this young lady, creation for now is just “hobby and fun”. For Conny Merlín, a communicator, it became her “source of income”, although she started “for the love of art”.

“If you do something just for money, you’re not going to be successful. It has to be part of what you like and what you’re good at,” says Conny, who entertains 2.2 million people on YouTube with content for children.

But in the competition for digital leadership, with figures boasting fame and wealth, all is not rosy. The dizzying rise of creators made the fight for fans and profit sharing even fiercer.

“Before it was a little easier. Now there are more creators. It’s not bad for me, but it’s more demanding,” Ximena Michaus, who at 20 years old has hooked 1.9 million people on TikTok with focused videos, told AFP. in children, who progressively turn to an adult audience.

Although the platforms offer countless niches, from makeup tips to keys to succeeding online, they also have limits.

“The spectrum of the new platforms is not that wide. The most viral content has between seven and ten trends. From there we begin to see a series of repetitions,” Andrés Vidal, a communication professor at the National Autonomous University of Colombia, told AFP. Mexico.

“That’s the dangerous thing about platforms. Originality is lost and the possibility of becoming the next celebrity is reduced,” he adds.

– Risk of deception –

In the frenzy for digital success, initiatives are emerging to channel talent, from marketing companies that promise to turn creatives into entrepreneurs, to institutes that offer programs to train “influencers.”

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“When you have valuable information you just need a push,” says Mariana Salgado, marketing manager for Latin America at the firm Hotmart, during a Vidcon conference.

Faced with the proliferation of “empty content”, Delgado defends a vision in which people with specific knowledge have a positive impact.

With an informal appearance, in the Mexican city of Puebla a technical institute offers a program to model “influencers” that has generated ridicule. With about 50 registered, it plans to start in October, Costa Rodríguez, a representative of Greenfield High School, told AFP.

“We hope to bring Luisito Comunica (…) to tell the boys that it’s not just about being famous,” but that they discover “how they can contribute to society,” he says.

Ximena believes that algorithms, editing or audience segmentation can be taught, but never to be an “influencer”.

There are those who create a “false expectation, a deception for the boys” because “it is not something that is learned simply by handling a cell phone,” Vidal warns.

It’s a job? “Influencers”, between fantasy and reality