Scathing influencer shutdown stirs the pot
The world of social media influencing was painted in a particularly bad light in recent days after a row erupted between UK 'influencer' Elle Darby and the Dublin-based White Moose Café in Phibsborough.
A spat arose between the proprietor Paul Stenson and the YouTuber when she emailed to ask for a free stay at his hotel in exchange for online promotion to her followers.
The hotelier took exception to the request and decided to post the email online along with a scathing response telling her to have some self-respect and pay her own way in future.
When the saga went viral there was a lot of support for Stenson for calling out such a bold request, with many people agreeing that simply because one has a decent social media following does not entitle them to get everything in this world for free. Many shared the view that so-called influencers are simply on the take, chancing their arm for a freebie and expecting everything for nothing because of 'who they are'.
Elle Darby (22) later posted a video on YouTube sharing her embarrassment about being 'exposed' but in reality this was probably a way of getting further support from her followers and to make the White Moose Café look bad.
At first, I thought that Mr Stenson had a justified reaction to the request and I when I read Ms Darby's email, it did come across as pretty cheeky and that she was simply on the lookout for a free weekend in Dublin.
However, many people make a living this way in 2018 and whether we find it tasteless or not, some businesses are more than willing to contract the services of online influencers to promote their products. It is up to each business to decide how to market itself and if they don't require the services of a vlogger then all they have to say is 'no thanks'.
I can understand Mr Stenson's frustration and disgust at being asked to give away services for free but I thought the whole matter was taken too far when he posed a mock invoice online joking that he was going to invoice Ms Darby for €5,289,000 for the exposure she received.
At the end of the day she is just a young woman doing what many others do for a living and yet she appears to be unfairly taking the backlash on behalf of the entire influencing industry.