Never bet against the phone

The polished perfection of the millennial influencer is giving way to a rawer, more phone-centric look.

Adam Tinworth
Adam Tinworth

This is an interesting detail from Taylor Lorenz's latest dispatch from the frontline of influencer culture:

While Millennial influencers hauled DSLR cameras to the beach and mastered photo editing to get the perfect shot, the generation younger than they are largely post directly from their mobile phones. “Previously influencers used to say, ‘Oh, that’s not on brand,’ or only post things shot in a certain light or with a commonality,” says Lynsey Eaton, a co-founder of the influencer-marketing agency Estate Five. “For the younger generation, those rules don’t apply at all.”

Two things leap out:

  1. How to stand out in a cluttered field? Move away from the prevalent aesthetic. Influencers bang on endlessly about being authentic, but this new wave are going for looks that are more genuinely authentic, rather than the heavily-edited looks of the past. The influencer look has been heavily aspirational in the past. Now, it's arguably more achievable. There's an aspirational element, still, but the reality gap is smaller.
  2. Never bet against the phone. The first wave of YouTubers and influencers were the webcam generation. The phone generation know how to do everything they need to on device. I saw this at plan for the first time with the most recent intake of Masters students at City. The gravitational pull of the phone as a creative device is hard to resist.  
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Adam is a lecturer, trainer and writer. He's been a blogger for over 20 years, and a journalist for more than 30. He lectures on audience strategy and engagement at City, University of London.