It kind of blows my mind that “influencer” is…

  • a) a recognized profession now
  • b) something people are actually proud to claim

“What do you do for money?”
“I try to be popular on the internet so people will buy the stuff I tell them to.”

It’s hard to imagine. So here’s a peek behind the curtain via Ask Reddit:

IRL friends of social media “influencers”: what is it like?
byu/superfuncity inAskReddit

Let’s see what Redditors with the inside scoop had to say.

1. “A lot of getting ignored.”

I dated one. Not super popular but followers in the 100k range last time we spoke.

I remember a lot of getting ignored and only receiving nice gifts/acts of kindness when they could post about it.

Asking me to go to nice places (they didn’t drive) only to leave me on a bench somewhere while they took pictures.

Huge strain on the relationship, especially when they started to get bigger and there was more demand for content.

– 42charlemagne

2. “We’re all using each other.”

She hasn’t come to anything I’ve invited her to in 5 years because she only goes to events that “further her business.” Regularly says things like, “we’re all using each other for something.” Sometimes she texts me the same exact thing word for word over a couple of days, and it’s obvious she just copy/pastes the same thing and sends it to all of us and then forgets who she has sent it to.

She still reaches out to me multiple times a year and claims I’m one of her best friends, but it sure doesn’t feel like it.

I’ve told her as much, but she just says “this is my life now, my business comes first and if you can’t accept that, then I guess you’re not a real friend.”

– Cirrus-Ramparts

3. “Always on the phone.”

Friends with a high profile athlete who is pretty popular on insta…. he is always on the phone… never lives in the moment.

If we are doing anything fun? well, it basically didn’t happen unless the world knows about it.

Its just annoying …I cant imagine living for the approval or satisfaction of others.

– Neither-Act1355

4. “A wannabe.”

I know a wannabe influencer.

She will reply to her own posts from her husband’s account praising herself.

Then she will reply to those posts as herself thanking him, it’s hilarious, like inception for Facebook.

– Sydneyfigtree

5. “She quit her job.”

I post travel photos and have about two hundred followers. 200, not 2000 or higher.

My friend somehow thought that was influencer status and decided to copy me – except she quit her job so she could travel more and “grow her own brand”.

In 2020. She lost her apartment, her car, and still hasn’t found a job, but calls herself a professional influencer all the same.

– oikorapunk

6. “Awful.”

Awful. One of my best friends fell real hard into Instagram, and for a few years it was tolerable and understandable, albeit annoying and strange. Everything needed to be documented in specific ways, so lots & lots of photos, even if it took away from the moment. But the strange part was how, when she’d share things, the captions always told a slightly different story than what actually happened. Like just off enough for me and my other friends to say, huh, that has a weird quality to it.

Fast forward a couple years, and she gets engaged. Boom. This was the catalyst for the worst of the influencer mentality to come out. I was in the bridal party, and it was a nightmare. No gratitude, just demands. Demands for expensive trips and expensive parties and all kinds of things that were above and beyond the means of her closest friends. And all the demands were because she had a “following” and had certain expectations to meet.

It was really heart wrenching to witness someone belittle their best friend and maid of honor for trying to plan a sweet bridal shower because it wasn’t going to be at an expensive restaurant or art gallery.

It reached its peak for me when, after the in-state wedding became an expensive destination wedding, there was the demand for an out-of-town bachelorette party a few weeks before. I was honest and said I couldn’t afford the bachelorette (mind you, I made about a thousand sacrifices over those months to afford what I could), and was promptly bridezilla’d and told I ruined the whole experience and that I was an awful, fake, inauthentic person.

It got so bad that the bridal party fractured and disintegrated, she lost two of her best friends (myself and the MOH didn’t even attend the wedding after all her behavior and blow-ups), and we’ve barely spoken since. All so she could have an instagrammable wedding that would look good for the few photos she ended up sharing of it. And, true to the weird strange re-written reality ways she had, she published a public “apology” on her blog for her followers and family that completely distorted and rewrote what happened, painted herself as the victim, and got her the sympathy points she was looking for.

Ppl really lose themselves when they create an artifice for social media. I learned a lot from her.

– whenthesunrise

7. “Hasn’t changed her at all.”

I’m not sure if this counts as an “influencer” but one of my close friends is a small-ish music streamer on Twitch.

If I said her username you probably wouldn’t know her, but she’s successful/popular enough to where she makes a comfortable living from streaming.

She’s been doing it for several years now and it hasn’t changed her at all.

If anything she’s now just more willing to pay for stuff when we all hang out because of her newfound disposable income.


8. “To be honest…”

To be honest it’s really sh*t. I feel like I’ve been completely forgotten about and like I don’t matter anymore.

I think that’s just some weird misguided jealousy but it still hurts because I miss talking to my friend

– EmeraldSunrise4000

9. “Not worth it.”

Sad. In the beginning they started because they got offers from brands because they were so popular on Instagram and it was a lot of fun for them.

Now they don’t ever post pictures or videos without a filter. Rarely ever like a picture on the first try and don’t you dare post any pictures of them without getting their approval for it.

Imagine trying to get a group picture with all of your friends for your birthday but having you take almost one hundred shots to get one that your influencer friend is happy with.

Also in the beginning I would like and comment on all of their posts but now that’s not enough. They expect me message it others, share it on my stories and my page (something about new rhythms and likes not being important anymore). I hate posting stuff to my page but I do it any way to be supportive.

It is so tiring. They do get free things sometimes though that they sometimes share with me. Not worth it imo.

– yonewredditwhodis

10. “Pretty mundane.”

Pretty mundane, honestly. My friend is conventionally attractive, and if you look at her social media, you’d think she were a supermodel millionaire who goes on tons of trips.

She’s actually chronically unemployed, and has an income of less than 10k/yr. Her boyfriend makes about $60k/yr which is enough to afford them a very nice 3 1/2 bedroom apartment, and she has tons of props she uses to make each room look different from day to day so it seems like she’s always in a new, exotic place.

They take two trips a year to fun, tropical places, in which she takes many photos, and posts them as different places throughout the year.

She’s a very kind, considerate, sparkling personality, but whenever we hang out, I tend to be a shoulder to cry on as she laments about her lack of success in life. It’s quite sad, honestly.

But with her creativity and personality, I think she’ll achieve her dreams eventually.

– LemonFly4012

11. “Lost touch with reality.”

Two of my distant cousins, they’re sisters, and are relatively well known YouTubers. I remember the first time I met them, I was 9 years old and saw that one of them was fiddling with a program on her laptop. I asked her what it was, and she showed me her editing software (thinking back, it was probably iMovie) and basically told me about how she records videos and posts them to YouTube, and that she had about 5,000 subscribers. She was really passionate and excited about it, and it seemed like she could go on and on for hours. I don’t think she got paid a penny. I thought it was cool at the time but didn’t think much of it. Just a hobby, I figured.

Fast forward almost 10 years and she has nearly 9 million subscribers, lives in a beautiful house in LA, and makes more money than anyone else her age could dream of. Her sister graduated college, but she saw her success and fell into the same “influencer” trap as well, because that’s where the money was/is. So they both “influence” full-time and have a whole team of people to do editing, assistant work, PR, managing, etc.

I would say the most obvious thing is that the first sister I talked about seems to have lost touch with reality, simply because she’s been doing this for SO LONG. She acts much younger than her age to get views and maintain relevancy, and she’s gotten very used to living a privileged life, so much so that she frequently complains about “how difficult her job is” when there is no doubt in my mind that, if it were to all disappear tomorrow, she’d be like a deer in headlights working something like a 9-5. Considering she doesn’t even edit her own videos or set up her own camera, she has hardly a thing to complain about, especially sitting in front of your vlog camera and crying to the people who are watching your videos and essentially paying your bills about how stressful your job is. I mean this girl literally has an assistant to fetch her coffee and salads (as if she has no time to do it herself, maybe having an assistant is just an “influencer” or “status” thing to do??). She lives a very spoon-fed life, and seems to frequently forget it.

Fortunately the college-graduate sister is very down to earth, and even she seems to acknowledge the ridiculousness of the whole thing. But at the end of the day, they’re doing very well and I will always wish them the best. I just find myself wondering how much longer it will last for them.

– julesjules76

12. “Fake and staged.”

Exactly as fake and staged as you imagine it to be, the on-camera moments are completely non genuine.

It is in the end just an acting/modeling job and not their real personality.

– SagittariusA_Star

13. “Incredibly annoying.”

So incredibly annoying. I actually ended up cutting her off because everything had to be a photo opportunity. We could never just go out to lunch, or see a movie without it turning into a photoshoot. She never did anything with our friend group unless it was ‘aesthetic’, and even then, she was so focussed on getting us to take photos that a. she didn’t get to enjoy the activity, and b. it started bringing everyone else down because they couldn’t participate either.

And this sounds so petty, but she could never just show up in a t-shirt and leggings (because photos, obviously). Like even sleepovers and movie nights had to be a big production and sometimes you just need to stuff your face with popcorn and look like a slob! It’s good for the soul!!

She’d also complain a lot about how hard her job was… Our friendship group at the time consisted of an EMT, two nurses, a teacher, and me who was juggling university, tutoring, and working retail. Like, I’m sure she had challenges and all jobs are hard sometimes, but… girl…. you get paid to take selfies with free stuff, and show up at events looking pretty…

– MutedApricot

14. “Always bragging.”

a girl in my homeschool group in middle school was always bragging about how her parents had a youtube channel with thousands of subscribers.

she was really arrogant about it and i didn’t enjoy spending time with her because she was a brat.

the funny thing is nobody ever believed her (including myself) until one day i stumbled across a video of theirs while scrolling through youtube.

sure enough, they had thousands of subscribers. she hadn’t been lying and i was shocked. now they have well over a million. they dont upload very often anymore though

– Escapist7427

15. “Bully.”

She became a horrible self-centered bully.

– Gremlinnut

Sounds like it might not be totally worth it living life under the influence.

Do you know any “influencer” types?

Tell us your tales in the comments.