By: Alice Longtin
Hello! My name is Alice and I’ve been interning at Cue since the summer. As a former unaware Instagram user, seeing influencers do a #ad or #sponsored post or story I thought nothing of it, that a company reached out and they get paid to take a picture and post it. Now as an aware Instagram user after working behind the scenes at Cue, I’ve realized there’s a lot more people involved in the brand/influencer communication, contractual agreements and scripted points to address.
I had the privilege to attend Elevate Tech Fest with Cue this year. It’s where a ton of CEOs from almost every industry come together and help give insights to attendees. I got to watch one of my favourite YouTube creators, Stef Sanjati’s (Sanjati Inc.), discuss creator burnout. Stef has been doing YouTube fulltime for 5 years and I’ve been following her for that whole time. Starting out as a makeup artist doing makeup videos to now being a voice on serious topics surrounding mental health, eating disorders and recovery, and breaking down that perfect image we as fans place onto our “idols”.
Now Stef’s discussion was regarding the effect of creator burnout by the increasing demand of fan expectations and battling the YouTube algorithm. I always thought it would be cool and easy to be an influencer, getting paid to travel the world and live in luxury however after working on the back end of it, I realize it’s a hard job that requires a constant digital game-face and a drive that I don’t have.
Creator burnout isn’t just something that YouTube creators face either, it’s an epidemic that a lot of people will face in this new growing digital age and new industries. As a graphic design student in university, I face it too. That classic proverb comes to mind “If you do what you love , you’ll never work a day in your life” I disagree with that. I think that you should do something you like and you’re good at while doing something you love as a hobby. I enjoy designing however, sometimes I just want to sew or paint or colour in colouring books.
Learning how to have a balanced life is important for everyone. Separating work, home, school, social time, alone time, and knowing what you need to maintain a healthy body and mind. As a student, this took a while to learn and figure out since there’s no one-size-fits-all template and I can imagine it’s the same for content creators. A simple trip to the corner store can turn into a photoshoot with fans because it’s hard to say no. As a designer, a hangout with friends can turn into “hey could you like design X for me?” and it’s hard to say no. Learning where to draw the line isn’t easy but it’s necessary to maintain a balance between work and play.
A lot of this is common sense: live a balanced life, have hobbies you love, keep work and home separate. However, it’s always harder to practice these because life is so unpredictable, maybe a report needed to be finished ASAP and you have to stay late or you’re sick and have to work from home. Working in new industries like being a Content Creator or an Influencer doesn’t come with an outline like going to the office 9-5, Monday-Friday. It’s uncharted territory and addressing the issues that come with it helps to break down the barrier from picture perfect Instagram to hard reality.