I’m a content creator

A Concordia student reflects on her quest to become a full-time influencer

Courtesy Amanda Wan

I’m a 22-year-old communications student at Concordia, and for the past three years I’ve been creating content on YouTube and Instagram, accumulating 14,000 followers. Some would consider me an influencer, but I prefer “content creator.”

When I hear the word influencer, I get mixed feelings that are hard to explain. There’s a negative connotation. 

When people hear “influencer,” they think of someone who gets paid to do nothing except post photos on social media. They think of that 16-year-old TikTok star who dances in her bedroom, that 20-year-old who posts a picture in her mirror every day on Instagram, or that guy on YouTube who posts weekly and gets paid for it.

These come off as minimal talents and minimal-effort posts, but this is because people don’t really know what goes on behind the scenes. 

Working as a content creator includes so many things—responding to emails, time management, and planning—not just taking a picture and posting it. 

I prefer calling myself a content creator because I feel people may take me and my work more seriously. I once referred to myself as an influencer on my Instagram story, and I was faced with business students sliding into my DM’s saying “You don’t even have that many followers” and “Who are you even influencing?” 

This makes it feel like a popularity contest. It’s always about numbers, numbers, numbers rather than content. Getting those messages made me feel a sense of embarrassment for the type of work I do and made me feel very undervalued in the community. 

People don’t realize how much work goes on behind every single content creator’s journey. The time and effort that goes into this is crazy—truly not something I knew before stepping into this world. 

There have been nights I’ve stayed up until 1 a.m. editing a video or a photo for a brand collaboration. There are times I forget to eat because I’m too preoccupied with a project I’m working on.

This is a job I love staying up for, but when there is that backlash and negativity I sometimes ask myself if people will ever take me seriously. The baggage the word influencer has gives me a lot of self-doubt, but funnily enough this only motivates me to work harder and get further in my career—to not only prove others wrong but prove myself wrong. 

The world of influencing is magical, and I wish people wouldn’t cast such a dark light upon it. My journey has taken me to Los Angeles three times for VidCon to collaborate with other creators. I spoke on a panel at Playlist Live in Washington D.C. about how to start your own YouTube journey. I’ve made such incredible friends and connections.

The people I’ve been able to connect with all have such unique stories, but we all have one thing in common—wanting to inspire and motivate others with our own journeys. 

I call myself a content creator or a blogger because it really encompasses what the job is—creating content for myself and for brands. Being called an influencer is not something I hate. It comes with this type of job, so it has been something I’ve learned to get used to. 

I have mixed feelings about the word, but at the end of the day influencers are putting so much work into their craft and deserve to be recognized for that and seen in a positive light. 

This article originally appeared in The Influence/Influenced Issue, published January 13, 2021.