Every one of us is an online influencer

Every one of us is an online influencer

I was working in one of my favourite cafes in Tel Aviv when a man sitting next to my desk started talking: “Look around. This place is full of people on their computers. It seems like Israel has really advanced itself in the location independence scene.”

“Yeah, I noticed that too. Everyone seems to be doing different things here. Almost nobody is in the office. Welcome to the 21st century, I guess?” I replied.

“True. In a month that I was here, I met a dance therapist, a guy who grows hair and sells it to Chinese factories, a dog whisperer, a party starter, and many other radical jobs. The occupations here are something I’ve never heard before. People are really doing what they love here.” he said.

There was a short pause and I knew he would ask what he asked: “How about you? What do you do?”

“Hmmmm. I’m an online influencer.” I responded with a wink.

It always takes me a lot of time to explain what I do. Believe it or not, even though Israel has one of the most advanced technologies in the world, to earn a living from social media and blogging is very unimaginable for Israelis.

Who the feck would pay you money to post on Instagram? That’s how their faces look like as this is also a country who is very careful in delegating their finances. In financial reports (and in everyday activities), they will count even a single cent. I have never been in any business meetings/transactions where the issue about money has not been raised. “How much will we spend in that project” and “how much will we get in return” have been an element of every agenda.

It took hours for me to explain what I do. Along the conversation, I realised something that was really important to me. I found out the reason why I was really blogging — to be the change I want to see in the world.

I am not writing this today to boast that this blog is being followed by thousands of people from all parts of the globe. Today, I am going to write about an interesting part of learning that social media ‘influence-ing’ taught me.

Her story changed my life

Early 2013, I was walking in the souks of Marrakesh (Morocco) when a photograph by Time magazine caught my attention: a 15-year old girl was shot in the head in her school bus. She was a student who demanded to be given the right to education. 15 years old. Shot by a man. A child. Versus a man. For me, it seemed impossible. Why would you shoot a child who wants to go to school? The face of the girl who survived resonates so much power and made me realise the reality of young girls in Pakistan. She entered me.

The world plunged into darkness. For the first time, men and women in the world woke up to the horrific truth about the real situation of girls and women. Celebrities suddenly became involved in fighting for women’s rights. Many women activists regained the energy as more extraordinary allies joined their legion. It was a sensational outbreak: even the most unopinionated girl I know said something.

I read about Malala Yousafzai a lot and it led me to chains of articles that made me read and read and read for one straight week. I didn’t do anything but read. It was a big transition in my life:

I finally discovered something I have strong feelings for.

I started researching for women-led organisations in Africa. It was the best time to start to do something. I contacted Girl Rising and after a year of utmost service to girls and women, I got the Ambassadorship.

From then on, with the Ambassadorship or not, I vowed to myself: I will be involved more than ever in women. Not just to fight for their rights but to discover and meet a lot of amazing women who are doing a difference. They became my inspirational energy tank. Through my travels, I have attracted strong and smart women who always came my way because of the positive feministic energy I radiated.

Shying away from traditional travel blogging

In order for you to succeed in the travel blogging terrain, you have to be doing something different. When I started this blog, there are many other successful travel blogs out there (that I have nothing but respect for). Like many others, I also tried writing tips and guides until I became so dry. I wasn’t good at it. I didn’t have the talent to tell people where to go and what to do. I completely sucked at it.

“Mom, what am I good at?”

“You are good at telling stories. You are good at making people read and listen.”

My mother who is a very impressive writer always believed that I am her contribution to humanity. The person I am now is because of her. As young as 7, she always told me that I am a superstar and I am born to do a difference. To change that world. That affirmation from my mother grew and grew until my discovery of Malala.

I stopped writing the guides. My travel blogger friends who are good at what they do can take over that department. I accepted that I am not a prolific guides writer and diverted my energies into other channels: I will tell a story.

From doing so, I found my blog rapidly growing into something that I did not expect. I didn’t ask for people to read my stuff. My mother told me to be honest and to write in what I believe in — that’s how I transformed the blog. I wrote mostly about my experiences, the people who touched my lives, the languages I was able to speak fluently, the hardships of growing up, hoping that these stories will make people see what I see. And they did.

And they did. The effortless strategy was successful. In two years, this blog is not the most viewed, but the most read as it curated stories not in the form of imagery, but writing.

The word ‘online influencer’ is always synonymous to fame

I grew up in a middle class family and was given everything I wanted. I had access to education and I was never without clean drinking water, food and shelter. I was never abused as a child. I did not have bad experiences during my formative years. My childhood was very colourful indeed.

But what made me go into the interesting part of journeying to women and girls rights is learning about EMPOWERMENT. It’s not about having victim stories. Empowerment is being able to find the right channel to influence and give ourselves independent will. Empowerment is not sad. It’s a happy feeling. It’s not about challenging other people’s truths but it’s about sharing your own truth. Empowerment is about speaking up. And believe me when I say, there are no right or wrong thoughts when doing so. There is no need to ask for approval from other people.

In this age of virtual reality, I am pretty amused we still struggle in finding avenues where our voices willbe heard. For me, it is my blog but what I want other people to realise, men and women alike is that, when you stand up for something, you are not representing yourself. YOU ARE REPRESENTING A COMMUNITY, A UNIT, A GROUP OF PEOPLE. So speak up. It is also that speaking up is synonymous to fame — people who are famous have more entitlement but that shouldn’t be the case. Wherever you are from in the world, whatever you do in life, you are entitled to your own voice.

After the chaotic presidential elections all over the world (Maduro, Nieto, Duterte, Trump), I came across a lot of social media posts complaining, ranting, cursing, getting angry, confused, etc. There is nothing wrong with that as there are no right or wrong opinions. The thing that made me happiest is that people were speaking up. Suddenly, the world found a subject they have strong feelings for.

Every one of us is a social media influencer

14953573_10210490896779911_546294359050419635_nRemember that silence is as bad as approval.

Why is the word ‘online influencer’ always synonymous to fame? Why are the metrics based on social media following, likes and comments? Why in the world would you think that ‘online influencers’ are those with breathtaking drone shots on Instagram, traveling whenever they want or wearing the best fashion brands?

We all have Facebook accounts, right? I’m also sure we all have hundreds of friends in our individual accounts. Why do we have to have branding (blogs) in order to be gifted with the voice?

What if we think this way: we are all social media influencers and all our friends on Facebook are the people we influence?

Most of us blame society for denying us with rights but the truth is we deny ourselves those rights. You don’t need a title. And silence is as bad as approval. Try finding the right channel in speaking up and use it right. You will see how many lives you will change and how much people will be inspired by your own truth.

How do you use your social media and online platforms to influence other people? What does online influence-ing mean to you? Would love to hear your thoughts! Say something in the comment box below!

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Trisha is one of those people who left their comfortable life to travel the world and learn about life. Her style is to stay in one place she likes for 3 months (or more) to know what it feels like to eat, cook, speak and sleep in another culture that isn’t hers. She'd like to believe she's not traditionally traveling but she just chooses to be somewhere else all the time. Trisha also loves extremely spicy food, pineapples, plants and symmetry. In no particular order, her favourite cities in the world are Barcelona, Buenos Aires, Hong Kong and Tel Aviv. Follow her life adventures on Instagram: @psimonmyway

  1. Hugo

    26 November

    Another interesting read. And this is why I enjoy reading your post because you’re a good storyteller even when far from travel themes.

    I think the word influencer is overused and we can’t measure it much the number of likes and such. Everyone can influence other people and in many different ways.

    • francesca

      6 December

      I agree with you Hugo! I think everyone has the ability to influence others, not just by likes but by our words and actions!

  2. Toni

    26 November

    Your Mum sounds like an incredible woman. So much of who we are and what we believe we can be is instilled by them early in our lives.

  3. Alouise

    26 November

    Really interesting. I think you’re right in that we’re all online influencers, maybe not everyone can influence millions of people/followers/friends, but you can influence a few people. But I also think it’s important if someone is going to speak up for what they believe in social media that they do something about it as well, in the real world. Like how you got involved with Girl Rising. Too many people will sit on Facebook and rant about some injustice in the world, but won’t do anything about it real life. Whether it’s donating money, volunteering your time, helping share the stories of those whose voices might not be heard, joining a protest there has to be some action behind it, aside from just a Facebook or Instagram post.

  4. That is an amazing and thoughtful insight, Trisha. Indeed, the stories of the heart (which speaks volumes in your blog) is the fire that makes PS I’m On My Way unique, filled with passion, and successful.

    We ourselves follow a different path—we write about extreme outdoor adventures rather than “normal” travel destinations because we are passionate outdoorsmen.

  5. anna

    27 November

    You are a wonderful story teller- a trait that is so rare in this industry. So inspired by how you are using your influence to empower women. Keep shining, Trisha! x

  6. Teesh

    27 November

    Just so you know, your storytelling is precisely why I followed your blog. I like reading about other people’s experiences. You gain a bigger perspective doing so. 🙂

  7. Vicki Louise

    27 November

    I agree that we’re all online influencers – maybe not to the extent you are, but each in our own little way.

  8. Punita

    27 November

    You’re right, we don’t realise how much opportunity and power we have to influence others through our presence in the online media. If we start putting this to good use, the sky is the limit.

  9. melody pittman

    27 November

    It is amazing the influence we have from doing what we love. I am so thrilled to be part of this awesome, ever-changing field that is so in demand at the time. Your mom did a great job and your story-telling is inspirational. I enjoyed reading every bit of it.

  10. Indrani

    27 November

    Social media is a place where everybody easily rant whether they know the topic well or not. It is the need to get noticed and heard. Then there are some who are truly knowledgeable and they get all the eyes… likes! 🙂

  11. Hi,
    I really like this post and your story. Great tip that your mother gave you. I agree with all of us are online influencers. I also have a blog, a travel blog and and i have a different perspective. I take a lot of thinking in what i really like to do…

  12. Sheena

    27 November

    What a beautiful article. Thank you for sharing your story, and your inspiration. There are so many people who want to be “influencers” but are not sure why they are doing it, or what they can do it, and for you to achieve that clarity- that’s just really precious. Keep telling those stories, and keep changing the world! (:

  13. Laura

    27 November

    I think you’re absolutely right to find the part of travel blogging, or influencing, that makes the most sense for you – not because we’re supposed to be writing guides, but because you have a story to tell. There are always people who want to hear your genuine story.

  14. Anne

    27 November

    I read the I am Malala book and was blown away by it. It is an incredible story and it is hard to imagine a girl so young having such poise and purpose. She is a total heroine for me but then you are also making your own contribution. Love this post

  15. Chrysoula

    27 November

    That was a very interesting read. It is a great thing you found your voice and write things that inspire you, that is why you are good at it as well.

  16. Nisha

    28 November

    This story is a proof that you are a great online influencer. I hope many people read this for inspiration. Best wishes!

  17. Erika

    28 November

    I love your insight and perspective on social media influencers. And I love the story about how a photograph opened up your world to the realities of women’s rights. Even by reading this post, I can tell you are a wonderful storyteller–which is refreshing in an overly saturated market of “10 things to see in ____” blogs.

  18. Rosemary

    28 November

    Your mom sounds like a terrific lady and a great leader. I love how she encouraged you to find your voice and tell your story. Story always wins!!! Interesting point of view about being social media influencers. It is a role we do have to consider as we share our own stories and experiences. Great read!

  19. Monika

    28 November

    Storytelling is important for me to – I love telling stories and listen to stories told with passion – enthusiasm and belief in what you are doing make people attracted to you and to the stories you tell 🙂

  20. Mike

    29 November

    Its so important to write about what you believe in and tell your story with your own voice! I try to do the same and don’t like writing guides but I’m finding myself tending towards guides because they drive more traffic. Its a tough struggle for us budding bloggers!

  21. Mags

    29 November

    Really great insightful post. Yay for moms. They’re always our biggest fans.

  22. Christopher

    30 November

    I think in this day and age everyone is or can become an online influencer whether consciously or not. Stopping it is futile. The question then becomes; what do you choose to do with your influence….

  23. Jon Espina

    3 December

    Hi Trisha,

    I have always been inspired by your posts, your stories. And that makes you unique in the travel blogging world. Whenever I feel stuck, uninspired, or even experience what they call writer’s block, I just read your blog.

    It’s your voice, your advocacies and how you tell your story that really inspire a lot of your readers. Thank you.


  24. Tamara

    3 December

    Very nicely written- no question the story of Malala is very powerful and she is an incredible inspiration!

  25. Indrani

    4 December

    Yes , each one of us is. And we have a responsible role now. What you are doing is indeed commendable and inspiration for others!

  26. Elaine J Masters

    4 December

    Strong words and passion. Loved hearing more about your background. Yes, we need to own our talents and rise above the herd mentalities. In fact our success depends on it. Keep going. You are a model for the rest of us and I do love telling as well as reading a good story.

  27. First off, we would like to complement you on your story telling. Your candor and voice show through in everything that you write. Our kids are both in College and I can see the issues you are facing (finding your voice and purpose) resonating with their lives.

    In answer to your prompt- our cause, purpose and passion as influencers to get people out and adventuring. There is a purity of thought and purpose on any trip that can rightfully be called and expedition. Anytime you can step outside of your comfort zone you open the doors of possibility and imagination. In particular, we love nature. We hope that we can share our love of nature and support ecotourism as a viable commercial endeavor that will preserve and protect these resources for generations to come.

    If I close my eyes right now, I can imagine that I am on a plane flying over Alaska. Beneath us is the last American frontier. If our writing and work can somehow keep it a little more wild and a little more free, I would feel content.

  28. Vishal

    5 December

    This is a unique and interesting article that we don’t often read on blogs. You’re right that everyone is an influencer. Some bigger than others, some can influence 100’s of 1000 at a time some 1 at a time. At the same time, some cry about their surroundings and some take action about their surroundings. I admire you for writing about the influencers.

  29. Natalie

    5 December

    Nice article! I love that you ended up sticking to what you were good at. It’s really a lesson for us all in this sphere. Personally, I don’t think I’m a very good at story telling, but I love sharing travel tips with people. So, it works for me. Also, I love the fact that you are into women’s empowerment. We need more people like you in the world!

  30. Megan

    5 December

    Thanks for sharing your story. I love the idea of focusing on being a storyteller more than the standard guides and tips. Something I’d love to work more on myself. I’m also reading Malala’s memoir right now and so moved by her story!

  31. francesca

    6 December

    “People are really doing what they love here” – that was such an awesome quote. I wish we all could be as innovative as the people who fill that coffee shop you frequent. This was a great post and it’s true that we can empower and positively influence people regardless of our pasts, backgrounds, upbringing or follower counts 😉

  32. Mags

    6 December

    It is so hard to describe your job as a travel blogger. I usually go with a simple “I’m a writer”, but your reasoning is far more eloquent.

  33. “Most of us blame society for denying us with rights but the truth is we deny ourselves those rights.” Made my world stopped, then I suddenly understand your subject in this post. You really are a good story teller. Safe travels, Trisha! Xoxo..

  34. Rome Nicolas

    20 February

    I just heard about you today and this is your first blog that I’m reading. I find your voice honest and real. Thank you for speaking up the ideas we thought of but wasn’t able to share to the world yet. Yes, social media is a platform for everyone, not just the so-called digital influencers.

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