A eulogy for the influencer

Gentleman's Journal editor Joe Bullmore laments the untimely demise of the influencer, taken from us after a year of irredeemable social media blunders

So farewell then, dear influencer, taken from us this year at the age of — is it seven? Or 42? Hard to tell under all that contouring and very clever lighting, to be honest. It matters not. Either way, the end came all too soon — oh cruel summer! First there were the rumours, back in June, that Instagram might be removing ‘likes’ from the platform (what do they expect us to do, double tap people’s faces instead?). Then there was all that silly hullabaloo in August about the girl who staged a motorcycle crash in order to promote Smart Water (I mean, it’s not like she was promoting Stupid Water, is it).

Soon there was a lot of silly nonsense about that young lady photoshopping the same perfect clouds into every blue sky (well, how else would they get there?), and that very smiley looking couple sending out pitch decks to global brands to sponsor their marriage proposal, and all those accusations of ghostwriting and that whining about cultural appropriation. And then came the brouhaha about that lovely girl charging her followers $165 to learn how to arrange flowers in mason jars, and promptly having a public breakdown. And the mumfluencer who made a fake account to bully both herself and her best friends because she wanted to change the behaviour of bullies “from the inside”, which is actually a pretty well established KGB tactic, and no-one goes after them, do they?

Enough. It’s better to remember the good times. The laughing near bowls of fruit. Those wonderful medical breakthroughs you made in gut health. Those chunky knits and luminescent teeth. The cook book contracts and yoga mat collaborations. All that blue water in Capri. All that blue water in the Bahamas. All that blue water in the Maldives. All that blue water in St Tropez. Life was literally the dream. But dreams, however well-monetised, must come to an end.

"It’s better to remember the good times. The laughing near bowls of fruit. Those chunky knits and luminescent teeth."

Still, you taught us so much. The importance of a unique personal brand that looks exactly like everyone else’s. The commercial power of Taiwanese bot farms. That magic recipe for asparagus brownies that tastes exactly like brownies someone had made from asparagus. The importance of personally and naturally interacting with those that follow you. (Which is your favourite private island on which to hold a colonoscopy party? Comment below to let me know!”)

Your legacy lives on all around us. It’s in all those teenage girls by swimming pools asking their fathers to take another 79 photos of their improbably high-wasted bikinis. It’s in the pink and purple artificial flower arrangements around every establishment’s door — from nail salon to cupcakery to kebab house — in West London and beyond. It’s in the way that everything now looks like a Slim Aarons photo populated by people you wouldn’t want to be stuck in the back of an Uber Pool with.

Storyteller. Explorer. World Traveller. Londoner. Food Eater. Laughing Emoji. Crying Laughing Emoji. Plane Symbol. Exotic Nation’s Flag. Fashionable Intolerance. Fun and Self Deprecating Quote. Inspirational Quote About Mental Health. Media Enquiries to Hastily Made Gmail Address. Book That Will Never Be Written Coming Soon.

You will be missed. How did we ever know that Santorini existed before you came along? What is Coachella for now? How will we know about the carbon crisis if you can’t fly around the world to tell us about it? Where else can we discover that mental health is actually really, really important?

The angels have you now. One day, in some bright future, from some celestial Amalfi coast, on some distant set of whitewashed steps, we will hear your voice again, and heed your teachings once more — how to look better, eat better, feel better, be better — even unto death. An endless caption, the infinite scroll. “So, a lot of you have been asking me lately which kind of coffin I prefer for spending eternity in. Well: I’m literally OBSESSED at the moment with dark mahogany and white silk…” you will tell them. Carpe DM. You Only Die Once. Hashtag sponsored. Hashtag partnership. Hashtag ad. What is that distant tapping that I dimly hear?

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