January 16, 2018
What does it mean to be a role model and social media influencer?
This is a question which has been circulating my mind for the past few days. Today, this question wouldn’t leave me alone. Here are my thoughts on this particular topic:
Shockingly, my blog has readers who truly commit and follow my story… every inch of the way. I am thankful for all of you. In fact, a friend of mine from university told me a story about how she came across two girls at a party who recognized her because of me. My friend, let’s call her “El”, was at a party with her boyfriend “Marv”. At the party, two girls approached them and asked, “do you know Dez”. Without further hesitation, El responded with a strong “yes”. Out of all the questions in the world to ask, the two girls managed to connect my friends to ME as DEZLEIGHH. After being questioned about their relationship to me, El and Marv were wondering how the two girls recognized them through ME… without a doubt, even I got curious too.
As it turns out, the two girls recognized El and Marv from my social media stories and posts. The two lovely ladies are my followers on Instagram and readers of my blog. It’s amazing how my life’s stories touches and reaches so many people. I can only imagine the look on El’s face when those two girls approached her asking about ME, like I was some sort of celebrity… like some girl who seems unreal. The two girls even told El how much they can relate to my story, and how much they enjoy my content and posts… they complimented me so much that it touched my soul and heart just listening to El telling me all about it. It made me feel like I’m living in a fantasy, a surreal moment that I never could imagine to be true. But to be honest, I am real and my friends are real, and my boyfriend is real, and my family too! EVERYTHING YOU’RE READING ON HERE, IS THE MOST GENUINE VERSION OF ME YOU CAN EVER GET… and that’s a fact.
It is the sweetest form of compliment and endearment every time I hear people praise my blog. Those who has supported me throughout my whole journey as a blogger will see my own growth as a writer, and human being. Back in the older days, my original readers would recall and notice the difference between my lack of “proof-reading” and insufferable grammatical errors – to my now, more refined works. Even I can tell that I had grown so much as a writer throughout the years, and to be appreciated by the community is the best reward!
Another amazing “reader/follower” interaction I had come across to, was way back in the summer of 2017. At the time, I was out in Banff with my family and Jason. We were taking a lovely walk at the Fairmont Banff Hotel when this young girl, with beautiful blonde hair stood excitedly, waving and smiling at me. At first, I was trying my best to remember or recognize who she was. She hurriedly approach me and I suddenly realized that this girl is not someone I know… and as she got closer to me, she said with such excitement and joy, “Hi, you’re Dezleigh, I follow you on Instagram and I read your blogs”.
I will never forget that girl. She was the first girl who had the honesty, courage, and spirit to compliment my blog in person and showed me her support and encouragements. Her lovely greeting was my reality… it was at that moment I knew that I want to keep inspiring people through my stories… through my words… through this blog. Even Jason was quite astounded by her reaction upon seeing me… we were fairly a new couple at the time, so he didn’t really know just how big my blog was… to be honest, even I didn’t know how big my blog was too… or how big my blog will become… But you guys never fail to remind me, that I will always have an audience willing to listen and willing to understand my story. All I have to do, is to write and share it.
BUT, what does it mean to be a role model and influencer?
I now understand that I have an audience who actively reads my blog. My life impacts theirs, and my stories are an influential aspect in their lives. I feel like I have a personal responsibility of due care to these readers. I am their role model… the person whose words and stories have a significant or perhaps minimal impact on their lives. Despite the level of reach I have, at some point my readers will learn a thing or two from me… and I must make sure that the lessons I teach are to be proud of. At the very least, I want my stories to stem a source of inspiration for everyone.
I’m in no means a “perfect person”. I think that my irregularities and different view of the world is what makes my readers stay and attract more readers. I truly view life as a learning process… I learn knew things about myself everyday. The people who are the closest to me cultivates the way I grow, and the inner voice inside my head helps me to understand that I have so many flaws I need to work on. “Perfect” and “role model” are perhaps two concepts that truly doesn’t define me.
The concept of me being a “role model” is actually quite heavy. I know that most of my readers are learning a lot from my own relationship failures all the way through my personal lifestyle… but that is not enough to make me a role model. A role model is someone who has impacted the world to such an extent that is revolutionary. A role model is someone whose actions had shed a positive light to millions and millions of people. “Role models” are those individuals who are so close to being perfect human beings, if perfect human beings ever existed. A “role model” are the likes of Mother Teresa, Martin Luther King, Steve Jobs, and even Béyonce. I am nowhere close to these individuals.
I prefer to think of myself as an influencer.
As an influencer, the title is less serious than a role model… which gives me more breathing room and freedom to make mistakes. I am now starting to understand that my blog has an influence on people… and that I must protect my influence through writing stories that are genuine, and uniquely about me. I only want to inspire people and teach them a thing or two about life. In return, all I really want is for you to read my content with an open mind.
I want to impact people’s lives in a positive light. At this time in my life I had grown to understand that my mistakes and struggles can help someone else in dire need. To those who are willing to search for a helpline, a person to talk to, someone who will listen, or someone who will never judge them, then that person is ME. This is not a joke when I say, “I will always be there for people who needs me”. I honestly check my DMs on a daily basis and I will always reply… I always get DMs from randoms and strangers who just want to vent, share their problems, and ask for my opinion. I’ve had read the most outrageous DMs to the most touching DMs – and to my very best, I will try to shed some light into your darkness, but at the end of the day I am not perfect. My opinions and advices can only go for so long and eventually, your life is still yours to live.
It is often a struggle finding what stories to tell, what content to post, and what ideas to promote. I started this blog with 100% authenticity and I want to maintain my integrity as an individual. Thus, my desire to be a real person in the internet and sharing only what I feel is genuine is what I want to do and nothing else. I want to keep influencing people in a way that is positive. I will make mistakes, and that is fine because I’m human too. But the most important aspects about my mistakes are the lessons I learned.
In all, I just wanted to say “thank you so much from the bottom of my heart”, for still reading my blogs. To more stories to tell and lessons to learn in 2018!
Mary Dezleigh Teodosio.