Guy Tal (via Om Malik) is concerned about potentially collapsing (he says “consolidating”) a panoply of different terms for experts, celebrities, and other well-known or well-respected kinds of folks into a single, all-encompassing umbrella term: influencer.
What qualifies one to be considered an influencer? Certainly there are some online personas offering useful, knowledgeable, generous, and beneficial advice; and some who offer excellent insight and interesting food for thought. Some have interesting biographies we may relate to, and good stories to entertain or even inspire an audience. Some skilled and creative artists offer beautiful, profound, witty, or humorous narratives worth reading just for the joy of it; and some possess demonstrable subject-matter expertise to open our minds to new knowledge and insight. But to all of these, there are also many exceptions. It seems to me that if being an influencer can be reduced to just a single trait, this trait is no more venerable than just the ability to draw attention to oneself; and that, to me, is not sufficient ground for allowing a person to influence my thoughts or actions.
It’s not clear to me to what degree this linguistic collapse is happening, but I’d be perfectly happy to limit the use of “influencer” to describe not just “the ability to draw attention to oneself” but the ability to draw attention to oneself for the purposes of advertising the products and services of your lifestyle sponsors.
As my bastardized and paraphrased Leslie Knope gif says, “You’re ridiculous and influencers is nothing.”