My thoughts on the Elle Darby story

The internet and social media has changed the world; it has changed advertising, shopping and how we connect with people. Some would argue that it’s changed us for the worst, that the generation growing up now have skewed values and rose-tinted perspectives of how the world is and what they are entitled to. Other’s would argue that the internet and social media has provided a platform for people to step above the “status quo”, an opportunity to unapologetically follow their dreams and “live their best lives”.

why this story makes me sad…

The Elle Darby story makes me sad for so many reasons, but mostly because of the negative backlash online from people who are more than happy to tear down bloggers and ‘social influensers’ that the pervious week they were more than likely liking, giving thumbs up to or buying products because of reviews and recommendations written by them. I completely understand that some people don’t ‘get’ blogging; some people didn’t ‘get’ Facebook when it started either, or Instagram, Snapchat or Twitter. However, despite that these platforms and apps have been hugely successful and created a new wave of entrepreneurs and young business people.

I read so many of the comments in response to the Elle Darby email, many of which said she should go out and get a ‘real job’, but what I want you to stop and consider is that not so long ago jobs that you now need qualifications for, did not exisit and were more than likely not considered ‘real jobs’ either when they first began to develop, like social media managers, website designers, app designers and more; from the very minute the internet and computers were born it resulted in a new generation of ideas, concepts and as a result, careers and jobs. 

One of those jobs is the so called ‘social influencer’, a title that I am not particularly fond of; it’s not like these young men and women are sitting at their laptops or behind their cameras, sending out brainwashing waves to influence other people into doing something (or buying something) they don’t want to. They are simply people who have made a living sharing advice and reviews about products, places and brands that they love. I am still to hear someone refer to the people behind Vogue, Elle, Cosmopolitan or any major beauty and fashion publications (or other publications for that matter) as ‘print influencers’, and yet have they not been doing exactly the same thing for years on paper, that bloggers are now doing online – reviewing, sharing advice and opinions, inspiring?

Was Elle Darby wrong to write that email?

I can’t deny the way she went about connecting with this business wasn’t the best way of doing it and the email she wrote wasn’t the most professional either, but she is after all only twenty-two and despite that is currently supporting herself from the buisness she has built online. We all make mistakes, especially when we are trying to forge our own way and I’m sure that Elle Darby will reflect on this herself, learn from it and use what happened to approach business in a different way from now on.

The internet has changed the world, it has changed business, it has created opportunities to branch into fields that you never studied or were ‘qualified’ to do in the first place. It has allowed us to celebrate talent as opposed to qualifications. It has allowed people to explore their interests and passions outside of their nine-to-five jobs, and in some cases has allowed them to go on and make these talents their actual job. Commenters bashed Elle Darby for thinking she was entitled, that her opinions matter more than others and therefore qualified her to ask for more than she deserved, while at the same time, by sharing your opinion of someone elses harmless choices are you not doing exactly the same thing – thinking your opinion is better than others?

If blogs are not your cup of tea, if you are tired of seeing Instagram ‘influencers’ getting ‘hand outs’ and ‘living the life’ then stop following these people; you don’t have to be on Facebook, or any other platform for that matter, joining is your choice and no one is forcing you (or influencing you) to do something you don’t want to.

What should we take away from this?

What makes me so sad about this story is the fear it will create for so many others to make that first step in pursuing something they are interested in. How many billionaire entrepeneurs have a story that involves them walking into a business, or making a cold call or sending a letter asking for something that they really had no right in asking for, yet it was that step outside the box that made someone else think ‘this person is driven and determined to go places and I want to work with them’.

Yes, it’s not right to ask for hand-outs or freebies or to go through life believing you are entitled to anything that you haven’t first worked for, but no one at the top of any industry got there by being passive or sitting back and waiting for people to come knock on their door.

As well as that, we should not use free speech or our right to an opinion as an excuse or justification for bullying or tearing down someone else. 

We can not deny that the internet is a part of the future, and as a consequence of that, whether we like it or not, so are online businesses and blogs. What we can all take away from this is that regardless of all the wonderful advances and accomplishments of the twenty-first century, the world will never move forward unless we are all kinder and more open minded towards each other; there is a helpful and an unhelpful way to help someone see the wrong in their actions. 

What are your opinions on this story? Let me know in the comments below. 


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