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Opinion

Have you heard about #clout?

Have you heard about #clout?

Tuesday 28 September 2021

Have you heard about #clout?


In a significant departure from my forensic examination of incredibly upsetting phenomena which take place on the Internet – this one is relatively harmless.

I say relatively because, as with all things online, if you think about it too much, everything becomes disturbing.

So, what is #clout all about?

likes social media.jpg

Pictured: "... people will tweet out ‘hot takes’ (controversial or divisive opinions on something political or pop culture) with the sole purpose and hope of it getting hundreds of thousands of likes, retweets and replies."

This a word to describe the power which comes with going viral and gaining influence on a social media platform.

Take Twitter as our first example: people will tweet out ‘hot takes’ (controversial or divisive opinions on something political or pop culture) with the sole purpose and hope of it getting hundreds of thousands of likes, retweets and replies.

This then leads to more followers and perhaps even sponsorship deals and verification so that you can make money from the stuff you post online.

This may seem a bizarre way to think about making money, and it’s certainly very different from the job prospects of previous generations, but for young people, a career in social media is looking like one of the most stable and viable career paths.

And this doesn’t just mean wanting to be one of those influencer types who gets paid to travel the world and drink laxative teas, but #clout is also a really valuable asset to you when it comes to getting your own projects off the ground.

So many jobs have been offered, book deals secured, and other opportunities accessed on the basis that someone has #clout on social media. If you have loads of followers and a popular social media presence, it now acts as a guarantee that anything with your name on will sell.

Book.jpeg

Pictured: "So many jobs have been offered, book deals secured, and other opportunities accessed on the basis that someone has #clout on social media."

You know you’re screwed when you’re pinning your financial solvency on something as unpredictable and nightmarish as the internet. Welcome to my world.

Now we’ve established why everyone wants it, let’s return to #clout. Engagement on social media is a truly astounding force. Almost like a currency, everyone is out trying to make a splash but really any kind of influence occurs within the confines of a totally arbitrary mechanism.

I guess what I’m trying to say is, you can’t take #clout with you.

But even with this in mind, the desire for one’s tweet, Instagram video or other social media post to go viral is almost compulsive these days. The platforms are flooded with tips and tricks of how to maximise the reach of your content so it’s hard to feel contented when what you put out there isn’t going astronomical.

Even if you start out with something you’ve worked really hard on and you’re really proud of, if it doesn’t do crazy numbers out in the ether of the Internet it can really damage how you feel about your work. And whilst you’re out there, searching for #clout that’s all very well and good, but I ask you, dear reader, at what cost?

At what cost? 

If you’re feeling down about not having enough #clout, just look at me: I’ve got hilarity and wisdom come out my ears, and yet, still no #clout to speak of. 

Woe is me.

This article first appeared in Connect Magazine, which you can read HERE.

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