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Influencers with Taylor Lorenz

This week Elizabeth chats with tech culture reporter and Washington Post columnist, Taylor Lorenz about influencers and the influencer industry. Taylor takes us from Ce-web-reties to influencers to content creators, telling us a bit about the history of folks who monetize their online presence. The two chat about the influencer industry beyond social media influencer marketing, the unique dynamics of political campaigning, smaller scale content creators as opinion leaders, and the ways in which having a perspective in the content you create meshes with expectations for authenticity and objectivity.

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Taylor Lorenz’s social media info: 


Episode Transcript: Influencers with Taylor Lorenz

Read the transcript below or download a copy in the language of your choice:

Elizabeth : [00:00:06] Welcome to Wonks and War Rooms, where political communication theory meets on-the-ground strategy. I'm your host, Elizabeth Dubois. I'm an associate professor at the University of Ottawa and University Research chair in Politics, Communication and Technology. My pronouns are she/her. Today we're talking about influencers and the influencer industry with Taylor Lorenz. Taylor, can you introduce yourself, please?

Taylor : [00:00:28] Yeah, I'm Taylor Lorenz. I'm a technology columnist at the Washington Post and the author of "Extremely Online : The Untold Story of Fame, Influence, and Power on the Internet," a book about the rise of the content creator industry.

Elizabeth : [00:00:41] Thank you. I'm really excited to have you for this chat about influencers today. And you also have quite the following on a few different social media platforms.

Taylor : [00:00:51] Yeah, I started as a blogger and content creator myself, and then I moved into journalism. So, I've always kind of had an internet audience. I developed my own audience and then got into media, and I still have a bunch of, I don't know, I have like, half a million or something on TikTok [@taylorlorenz]. And I recently launched a YouTube [@TaylorLorenz]. So that's where I am.

Elizabeth : [00:01:12] Very exciting. And we'll have in the show notes links to your various profiles. As usual, each episode starts with an academic definition, and then we're going to chat about whether or not it fits with your experience, both from that journalist perspective and that content creator perspective. There are a ton of definitions out there on what exactly a social media influencer or a digital media influencer is. One that I really like comes from Brooke Erin Duffy. She talks about influencers being this "highly visible subset of content creators that are defined by a substantial following" (of course, substantial is a relative term,) a "distinctive brand persona and patterned relationships with commercial sponsors". And then I come from a polcomm perspective. And so, a lot of the political communication literature, when we're talking about political influencers, it adds to that in the context of politics. So, endorsing political positions or social causes, particular candidates, either through media that they're producing or by resharing content that other people have been producing, and that would be on a given social platform. But increasingly, we're also talking about via things like Discord, newsletters, email chains, WhatsApp groups and those kinds of things. With that, how does that fit for your understanding? Are we on the same page? Would you change it?

Taylor : [00:02:45] Influencers are the same thing as content creators. There's no, there's no difference between a content creator and influencer. Influencer is just the marketing. It's the terms that the marketing industry applies to content creators. But it's not like there's a subset of content creators or influencers. Any content creator is also, and you could also call them an influencer. It's just a terminology thing. And I actually wrote a lot about this in my book. The original intro of my book was about all the funny terminology that people have tried to develop over the years for essentially what independent media people are, these people that amass attention online and then monetize it. And I really liked the ones that people had from the 2000s, they were calling these people "Ce-Web-rities". They also called them "Fame Balls", and they had all these funny terms that they tried to apply to these people that were generating audiences on the internet and then monetizing those audiences in various ways.

Elizabeth : [00:03:47] Yeah, that's super interesting, all of those different terms. And we've landed, weirdly, on influencer, which is so broad.

Taylor :  [00:03:56] Well, it's flipped. It was influencer for 2015 to 2020-ish. Before that, there were no agreed upon terms for these people. Youtube called them YouTubers partners for years. That's why it's the YouTube partner program. When they bought Next New Networks, which was one of the earliest multi-channel networks (one of these companies that collects all these YouTubers together and negotiates brand deals). Tim Shay's team at Next New Networks, they applied the terms creator to YouTubers and when YouTube bought them, their team was like, “hey, stop calling these people partners. It's confusing because people think there's this formal partnership there. You should call them creators”. Now, that was in 2011. That was when people first started to see people call YouTubers "YouTube creators". But the terms creator and content creator was so heavily affiliated with YouTube that people would- And also because people at that time weren't cross-platform influencers, they were very specific to their platform. So, if you were a YouTuber, you usually called yourself a creator.

Taylor : [00:05:09] But if you were big on Vine or Instagram or Twitch or whatever, you would call yourself an Instagrammer or a Viner or a Vine star or Instagram star. And so, it wasn't until the death of Vine in the end of 2015, early 2016, that you saw the rise of a lot of true multi-platform creators. And that's also when the marketing industry started to pour billions of dollars into this industry. Influencer was a marketing industry firm that was also very platform-agnostic. So, it became very popular. It's flipped back now, recently, in the past few years, where these people generally call themselves creators or content creators, because I think the terms influencer, as Brooke has written extensively on, there's a lot of misogyny towards big content creators. People often when you ask them to talk about influencers, they'll say a lot of misogynistic stuff.

Elizabeth : [00:06:08] Right! Right.

Taylor : [00:06:09] Not to go on the longest rant ever. But anyway.

Elizabeth : [00:06:12] No, but that's so helpful. And I love that historical context, because we have this tendency to be like, "Oh, it's new! It's something that's come up out of nowhere". But as you describe it in your book, there's a long history here of how all of this has evolved over time. In my work, I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about influence and in particular, personal influence. One of the other terms that I've seen get thrown in, is talking about opinion leader or thought leader. How do you see those terms fitting into this evolution of terms we're using to describe this group of folks?

Taylor : [00:06:49] Opinion and thought leaders have obviously existed for a really long time. To me, it's about the distribution platforms. And are those opinion leaders creating content and are they monetizing through the internet? If they are, then they're content creators as well as opinion leaders, right? If they're not doing that, and they're just an influential person, there's not that monetization layer. And the content generation, essentially running their own little media operation, then I would say that they're more of just like an opinion leader or an influential person, but not necessarily like an influencer, you know?

Elizabeth : [00:07:30] Yeah, yeah, I totally get that. The monetization part is a little tricky in politics, though. I mean, American politics, you all [Americans] have a lot of money involved in your politics. So maybe monetization does still work, but in the Canadian context, and in some European contexts, there's less money changing hands. And when money changes hands, that really shifts what sort of election laws might apply. So, when I'm thinking about these social media accounts and other platform accounts that get popular talking about politics and maybe are working with campaigns, it's not necessarily money changing hands.

Taylor : [00:08:07] Yeah, that's actually a good point. You're right. You don't have to monetize to be an influencer or content creator. I think the option is there because you're creating this little media company. And often people monetize because you have to sustain a business. But you're right.

Elizabeth : [00:08:20] Right. Totally. And there's lots of people who may be not monetizing their political stuff, and a lot of platforms don't allow them to monetize political stuff, but they're monetizing other stuff that then funds their ability to be a bit more political.

Taylor : [00:08:33] Yeah, yeah. I mean, in the US, they're usually just monetizing and taking money from a million dark groups. But, yeah, it's interesting. I think increasingly you're seeing people amass audiences online and then leverage those audiences for various things. And sometimes you're right, most of the time, it's to make money, but sometimes, it's to get people to vote, or to get people to do something, or participate in some kind of advocacy work.

Elizabeth : [00:09:00] Yeah. One of the features that I've heard a few people talk about is this platform knowledge, and an understanding of the algorithms underpinning whichever platforms they're using, an understanding of what the norms are on that platform, an understanding of the terms of service and community standards... and it feels like that's not the exact same as monetization, but fits within the same camp of the special skill set that these content creators and influencers have.

Taylor : [00:09:30] Yeah. I think if you are an influencer and that's your main thing, or you have enough followers on a platform and you're creating content again as this media entity, you get to know the intricacies of these apps, because you're essentially running a distributed media company, whether it's through TikTok, newsletters, you're very attuned to the nuances of the platforms that you've built your audience on.

Elizabeth : [00:09:57] Yeah, completely. That makes a lot of sense. And it leads into the next thing I wanted to talk about. Sometimes the influencer industry gets talked about as being basically the same as social media influencer marketing, but I think it's not the exact same- putting my cards on the table right away. Can you explain a little bit more about the influencer industry beyond influencer marketing?

Taylor : [00:10:23] Yeah, and I think this is why the term content creator has flipped and become more popular in recent years, because this industry has evolved so far beyond influencer marketing. And I think that was a lot of people's first- when they first heard the term influencer, their exposure to it was through this influencer marketing world. It's so much bigger than that. So, many of these influencers, content creators, whatever you want to call them, these people that amass attention online, they're not they're not even involved in, in that influencer marketing world. They're creating political content or they're just doing their own thing or they have interest based accounts and they're not really doing marketing. A lot of focus recently has been around subscriptions and productizing yourself. So direct revenue sources, I think because these algorithms have become so fickle, especially on apps TikTok. A lot of influencers now want to monetize directly through platforms like Patreon or Substack or things like that. Yeah, a lot of people, that's why they're getting into podcasting as well, because you can have this direct relationship. There's not really an algorithm that's giving you distribution. It's subscribing. It's a subscriber based model.

Elizabeth : [00:11:36] Right, once you get big enough that you have people who are going to subscribe to you, you've gotten enough attention through, like TikTok, which helps you get in front of new audiences. Then you can go out to use the podcast, Patreon, Discord, all of these other things because you've got the audience. You don't need to keep relying on that platform to give you the audience.

Taylor : [00:11:58] Exactly. Yeah. You also, you have more freedom. I think relying on an advertiser based marketing model, it's restrictive. You have to follow brand guidelines. And if you say the wrong thing, as has happened to many famous canceled influencers in the late 20 tens, you lose all your brand deals, and suddenly you're screwed. If you have a monetization subscription business or you've created a really successful product, like Logan Paul's Prime Energy Drink or Happy Dad Seltzer, the Nelk Boys (which Canada unleashed on us), you have that product to sustain you, even if you don't get all the YouTube views that you need to that month.

Elizabeth : [00:12:42] Yeah, and that makes sense from a business perspective. Obviously, you want to diversify your income sources. That makes perfect sense when we think about it in political contexts, too. There's this layer of history potentially being dug up in opposition research. And it seems to me that in some ways, the limitations of brand deals get amplified. If you're thinking about what that political connection could be.

Taylor : [00:13:15] Yeah. I think no brand wants to work with anybody that they deem "too political", which is a shame, because I think brands generally don't want to alienate their audience. The exception to that is a lot of the conservative brands working with conservative influencers ; the conservative media ecosystem is very different. I don't know if it's exactly the same in Canada, but I think it's because a lot of the same characters are operating around there. But it's they're- they have this whole flywheel where, they have these right wing media influencers and sites, and then they have this whole subset of brands that are like, Anti-woke Shaving Company or whatever that specifically advertise with those influencers. So, they're able to make a lot of money. There's nothing like that in the more progressive spaces.

Elizabeth : [00:14:03] It's so interesting. You can imagine this full map of all of these different actors. One of the things that I think often people assume about content creators and influencers is that they are this fully independent standalone thing, but actually, there's this whole network of different brands they work with. They often also work with marketing agencies. They may also act and have an agent for their acting or an agent for their writing, and there's layers and layers of people around any given creator.

Taylor : [00:14:38] Exactly. Especially if you're successful. I mean, the successful ones become they start to mirror traditional media, you know? I'm thinking of Marques Brownlee, who's a big tech YouTuber, he's hugely influential, big influencer. He wears the new meta Facebook glasses like everyone is going to go out and buy those. And every product he talks about, sells out, but he employs I think it's 75-100 people in his studio in New Jersey, and it's run like any other content operation ; it's built around his personal brand. I think that's how things can go if you're successful.

Elizabeth : [00:15:18] Yeah! Exactly. And another way that it can go if you're successful, is you get scooped up by a larger media brand and you become a commentator for them, or you have your own show under their umbrella with tons of resources and those kinds of things. I'm really curious about the lower level influencers, the ones who are not mega popular, mega successful that feel a lot more similar to what in political communication and media studies we talk about as opinion leaders coming back from the two step flow hypothesis, which was developed in the 50s. A lot has changed in our media environment since the 1950s, but the general idea of social pressure and social support from somebody who you view as trustworthy, as informed, as knowledgeable on whatever issue can go a long way to changing your opinions and attitudes and behaviors. So, a lot of people think of influencers as potentially that. And when we're looking at the smaller level ones who don't have the celebrity status or the huge resources, it feels like there's some similarities there. What do you think?

Taylor : [00:16:26] Yeah, definitely. I mean, it's such a sliding scale, the number one thing people always ask, especially with my book tour, they were like, how many followers do I need to be an influencer? And now we have micro influencers and nano influencers, I think I think it's like you said, it's about this approach to content creation, almost, rather than- we're all social media content creators these days. But it's this intentionality and understanding of the platforms and curated genre of content that you're producing.

Elizabeth : [00:17:00] So, are these smaller scale audience influencers... Are they opinion leaders? Are they like wielding that social pressure, social support?

Taylor : [00:17:13] Yeah, I definitely think they're a type of opinion leader, especially in their own communities. I'm thinking of when Joe Biden did a lot of work in 2021, when they were initially promoting the vaccine, to get people to take the Covid vaccine. And they worked with a lot of these local influencers. Sometimes it was just like, somebody with a podcast in Denver that had 3000 listeners, but they have this very tight bond with their audience and they have sway in their communities, their physical communities. And so it was a successful strategy in that way. I think that they can start small and then grow big, and then the bigger you are, the closer you are to celebrity status, and people have different relationships with you. I think when you're small, a lot of people actually have a tighter bond. They have a very parasocial bond because it feels like you're very accessible. The bigger you get, the harder it is for influencers to maintain that accessibility. It's something that they do have to constantly maintain to maintain their audience. But they become more in that celebrity realm. Yeah. Their own celebrities also have influence, but it's less of the peer to peer influence.

Elizabeth : [00:18:26] Yeah, exactly. Exactly. I talk with my students a lot about the idea of : what's the mechanism of influence at play? What's the thing that's making that particular person or group influential over some other group? And so, opinion leaders traditionally rely on interpersonal relationships. And then you mentioned parasocial relationships. Shout out to next week's episode, when we're going to talk about parasocial relationships. And then we get on to celebrity status and this. I've heard it described as- when you're at celebrity status, you don't love [the influencer] because it's attainable to be them. It's aspirational, whereas when it's a parasocial relationship, it's more of an attainable, like, "I could be just like you".

Taylor : [00:19:14] 100%. Yeah, it's… there's an accessibility to it. And yeah, once you get too big, it's really hard to maintain that. And I think that's what's so hard too, because these influencers blow up, and then suddenly they're not relatable. And that loses their appeal softens. And so, they have to work really hard to then transition into the more aspirational lifestyle, I guess. And that doesn't mean living it up, but there's something about them that people can bond with, enjoy, and want to follow and listen to, knowing that that person might never reply to them directly or that they might not have a direct relationship.

Elizabeth : [00:19:52] Yeah, totally. I want to go back. You mentioned the Denver podcast and this more local approach, because I think that's actually one area where there's a lot of potential value from a political perspective, in terms of working with influencers and content creators to get messages out. In the context of Covid, there were partnerships between the Quebec government and a bunch of francophone Quebec influencers, particularly on YouTube, but across a few different platforms, because they have this really tight knit, very local community of folks that listen to them. There were also some partnerships with indigenous creators across Canada who have connections to a small community that was at higher risk from Covid and lower likelihood of getting vaccinated for a whole bunch of different reasons. So, those kinds of effective uses of partnerships there, I think, to me, suggests there's a lot of opportunity from a political perspective, too.

Taylor : [00:20:56] Yeah. The irony is that a lot of these firms were paying these content creators to post, and they did the campaign. But fundamentally, they weren't really interested in that stuff. Meanwhile, on the right, at least in America, you had the anti-vax, the huge anti-vax content creators, anti-vax content is a huge core of right wing content in the US, those that was always core to their content. So, you had that initial campaign where Biden did that [encouraged vaccination] in January 2020 and then never brought it up again, basically. But the other content creators kept going, and they've been incredibly successful. And some of the fastest growing content creators have grown through pushing anti-vax content, which they're not getting paid to push. It's just their political ideology. I don't know that example. And there's always those examples of- who do you work with when you push a campaign and what is the value of working with somebody where it's part of their brand to talk about this stuff, rather than being like, "Hey, look! You're local in this community. Your community is affected. Can you shout this out or talk about it once?". It's like, sure, but it's always better to work with an influencer where it's their whole shtick.

Elizabeth : [00:22:12] Right. It gets back to that idea of authenticity we hear about all the time and whether it's true authenticity or performed authenticity, whatever their brand is about, if your message is aligned with that brand already, it's probably going to resonate better.

Taylor : [00:22:26] Exactly. And if you had people, for instance, that were regularly talking about public health or something, people are more likely to listen to them and they're more likely to continue that conversation after the payment or the campaign is done, which is the case with a lot of those more extreme-right, content creators, it’s their ideology that they'll keep talking about forever.

Elizabeth : [00:22:47] Yeah! Then of course, the problem is you're only talking to the people who are already opting into that conversation.

Taylor : [00:22:52] Exactly! And that's the whole problem, which is really hard. It's really hard. And I get it. I think especially in politics, it's about leveraging different things for different purposes. I'm not saying that that campaign was a failure by any means, but I do think that it ultimately fell off a cliff after it was done, and then it never reached the people. And you could apply this for everything with brands as well. The campaign's done, but is anybody going to want to buy those shoes in a year? Have you really changed consumer behaviour? You have to use a myriad of strategies.

Elizabeth : [00:23:30] Yeah, yeah. That makes sense. So, I want to talk about what's coming next. You have talked about the future of social media being a bit more private. I think I read about you saying, things like Discord are a really good example. I'd add the popularity of WhatsApp chats, all around the world, really evidencing that people like to be in a tight knit group. They don't necessarily want to be on display at all times. I'm wondering what that means for the influencer industry.

Taylor : [00:24:03] Yeah, well, in some ways it's good and bad. I wrote this piece years ago, and it resurfaced lately because I think it's happening. There's this professionalization of the content creator industry and a recognition that these platforms serve as entertainment for a lot of people. And I think that the novelty that we saw initially with the rise of social media of like, wow, anybody can post anything publicly and reach the whole world. That's actually a pretty bad user experience ; most people don't want to hear from the whole world. You really just want to hear from people that care about something, whether that's in a closed community like Discord or TikTok, where it's all algorithmic. And so, if you post something you trust that the algorithm will deliver it to this hyper niche audience that is also interested in the things that you're talking about in that video. And so, you're seeing less of the scale, you're seeing more of the niche content and more niche content creators. We don't have a shared sense of the internet anymore. You used to be able to put all the big internet stars in an auditorium.

Taylor : [00:25:01] I don't- definitely not even do that remotely these days. So, I think the content creator industry is not going to go anywhere. Media continues to get more digital and distributed, but I think we're not going to see as many Mr. Beasts, as more niche subject matter experts, like smaller content creators, and I think a lot of average social media users, they'll still watch the videos for entertainment, but they're more they're going to keep their Instagram grid short. They're not going to put their whole lives out there. I think—young people especially— have a better understanding of digital footprints. But they also have an understanding of the value of online fame. And so, they do actually put themselves on the internet. I mean, I always say this when people freak out about parents online or family vloggers, there's been all these state legislations in the US trying to protect child influencers. And most child influencers are teenagers who are putting themselves online. It's not their parents that are pushing them to do it. And that's because they've been drinking tech company Kool-Aid [idiom: drinking the Kool-Aid] for a decade.

Elizabeth : [00:26:01] Yeah, and they've been, they've grown up, watching these people get famous and in some cases rich. And it's like, well, that seems like a solid plan.

Taylor : [00:26:10] Yeah!

Elizabeth : [00:26:11] It makes me think about... The experience on Twitch. I don't know if this is your experience on Twitch, but when I've watched Twitch channels, they don't even necessarily need to be highly popular creators. But there is a whole community of people that show up in the comments and in the chat and there are clear leaders within those chat communities. There are clearly people- you follow their norms. They're the ones to ask for thoughts on whatever it is related to this channel. They are little opinion leaders in those chats. And so, even with that, you can already see levels of different kinds of influence show up.

Taylor : [00:26:53] Yeah, I think we're going to see a lot more community influencers. I don't know the name for this, but I wrote about it similarly about group chats, this platform called Geneva, which is a women's- they tried to make Discord for women, weirdly, which… Discord is for women, but, where? Like you said, it's more influential community members, and it's about the community, not the person. It's more about that person themself isn't usually seeking fame. They know that that community is based around an interest or another personality, but they're influential in their own way.

Elizabeth : [00:27:27] Yeah. Yeah, exactly. And you're thinking about them and their influence relative to their position in that community. How do you decide when to get political on your platforms? I mean obviously you're a journalist, but you're a tech reporter, so it's not innately political.

Taylor : [00:27:48] I write about online culture. So, my beat is very politically adjacent. I covered politics for two years. I covered the 2016 election on the campaign trail through the lens of internet culture, because Trump had this huge online following. I have a lot of restrictions on what I can say, unfortunately, because I work for this legacy media company, The Washington Post. Otherwise, I'd be saying a lot of opinions, so it's probably better that I don't. I think about that trade off a lot, to be honest, because I used to be really political. And I was thinking recently, I used to run Tumblr blogs all the time, and I got an alert that my blog, "F*ck Yeah Communism" Had turned 15 years old. (ED : Nice). And I was like, “oh yeah, I forgot I had that one”. I had so many. I had dozens of blogs, and that like, "F*ck yeah", was a Tumblr. It was this term that people used on Tumblr at the time. But, when I was independent, I could speak much more freely. And, unfortunately, when you're at a traditional media company, you can't. And I think that's a mistake. Honestly, I think that they should let people be a little bit more opinionated, in my opinion, on social media. They do let reporters be very opinionated on TV, weirdly, but you can go on CNN and spew all your opinions and say whatever you want, and sometimes you're even paid as a guest commentator. Yeah, but if you do that on social media, it's a no-no.

Elizabeth : [00:29:17] Why do you think that is?

Taylor : [00:29:19] I think it's a- I think it's… I honestly think it's media companies getting very scared of the internet and suddenly realizing, uh oh, people are going to see who our reporters are and not wanting that. I think that's a mistake. I think trying to obscure your ideology actually makes people not trust you. And I always say, I'm pretty overt with a lot of my beliefs, but that doesn't mean I'm not going to do a fair story. And, again, I think we have such a crisis of trust in media because people like influencers that are very open about their ideology and their beliefs, and that resonates with people. I always try to say, here's what I think. That doesn't mean that it's not going to affect my story. A lot of times I go into the story believing one thing, and then I find out it's different, and it changes my mind. And I think people know my thoughts on Elon Musk, but I still cover Twitter (X). And I'm not going to put my opinion in the story, but definitely. We all have thoughts on things.

Elizabeth : [00:30:24] Yeah. And when readers have a sense of where it's coming from, then they're potentially more equipped to assess whether or not they want to take it on board. And, and then they also develop a level of trust potentially, or distrust, depending on perspectives. And that's when it starts to look a lot like influencers again. Right. And this idea of influencers are authentic or have presented themselves in some pseudo-authentic way and where they're coming from when they're giving you information.

Taylor : [00:30:58] Yeah. And I think we used to know where it was coming from, because the thing is, the media used to espouse the same ideology, and this is what has caused so much friction. I think the notion that media—and my former colleague Wes Lowery has written really well on this— of the notion that the media was ever objective is such a lie. And they always had this perspective, it just used to be a very white-male-upper-class consistent perspective. And now we have a lot more perspectives. And I always say that the goal of journalism should be to expose the truth and you should worry about being truthful and accurate and fair. And a lot of those things don’t mean that you're objective, but you're but you're fair and accurate and truthful. And that's what you should strive for.

Elizabeth : [00:31:49] That seems fair to me. Do you think influencers should be held to similar standards?

Taylor : [00:31:56] I mean, I would love influencers to stop promoting so much misinformation. I think a lot of them espouse- like they mimic the trappings of reporting, but they don't actually do reporting. And I think it's led to a lot of people misunderstanding what reporters do, actually. A lot of them also take reporters' content. I saw a really funny tweet, because we've been having all these layoffs in the media and someone was like, “if all the journalists get laid off,what are TikTokers going to read when they talk about things with the green screen behind them?” And I agree, I think it's scary, but I think most content creators that I speak to that are interested in news, and they're coming to it in good faith. They just generally don't know. They're not educated. I think we need more media literacy, basically for everyone.

Elizabeth : [00:32:48] Yeah, I'm team media literacy for sure. Definitely. This has been a really great chat. We are running out of time though, so I am going to wrap it up with my normal little pop quiz. Which won't be difficult for you since you have written an entire book on it. Can you, in 1 or 2 sentences, sum up what is an influencer?

Taylor : [00:33:12] Oh, my God, this is hard! Because there's no agreed upon definition. And I think, like you said, it's very fluid. I would say an influencer is somebody that creates content on the internet, and amasses an online audience often monetizes that audience. But they, they it's somebody that leverages power on the internet.

Elizabeth : [00:33:32] Amazing. That's that is such a great definition I appreciate that. Thank you. All right. That was our episode on influencers and the influencer industry. I hope you enjoyed it. We have a ton of links to different resources and Taylor's various social media profiles in the show notes and in the annotated transcripts that you can find over at As always, those transcripts are annotated full of links out to further reading, so please check it out. You can also find out what else the Polcommtech lab is up to at that website.

Elizabeth : [00:34:07] This season of Wonks and War Rooms is supported in part by the University of Ottawa's University Research Chair in Politics, Communication and Technology. I also want to acknowledge that I am recording from the traditional and unceded territory of the Algonquin people, and I want to pay respect to the Algonquin people, acknowledging their long standing relationship with this unceded territory.

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