What’s in a Name | Ponder This

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Have you noticed that digital content creators are now being called “influencers”? It seems like an odd word choice. What are they influencing?

In the case of ProJared and James Charles, I’m not sure that the influence is all that good.

The term keeps making me picture the Internet Police showing up and saying, “You’re under arrest for surfing while under the influence.”

Though, I do have to say it is better than “Internet celebrity” or “digital celebrity.” Not every YouTuber, artist, or coder reaches a million views or subscribers or what-have-you–they don’t reach that celebrity status. What would you call them?

Calling them “makers” or “creators” isn’t too bad, but it does make them sound like some kind of new religious deity. “And lo, It’s Alex Clark created a video and it was good.”

The influencer term is also better than calling them “YouTubers.” Not all indie creators are on YouTube. Artists, writers, songwriters, and so on “influence” people just as much as YouTubers (for good or for bad).

I guess the powers that name things is still trying to work it out. Internet influencers is a pretty new concept so there’s bound to be some bugs to work out. But, it seems likely they’ll be sticking with “influencers” now.

What would you pick as a name for those who don’t use traditional media as a way to showcase their ideas?


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