EXCLUSIVE: Under The Influence – Ankit Agarwal of Do Your Thng

image-01-Exclusive-Ankit Agarwal Founder & CEO of Do Your Thng for mediabrief

By Ankit Agarwal, Founder of the Influencer Marketing platform Do Your Thng. Ankit writes about a special session, Under The Influence, organized by DYT. In this exclusive piece for MediaBrief.com, Agarwal shares the 411 on the event, which was about the experiences, challenges and journeys of a creator (Social media influencer)

Awe sat down to pen our first-ever event experience, we realised it was 10th Oct. World Mental Health day. Kinda fitting, since ‘Under the Influence’ was all about social media’s impact on mental health. Noticed the emphasis on ‘we’? There’s a story attached. We’ll get to it later on — first, a tell-all on the event.

A panel discussion for creators, by creators

Clichéd as it might sound, that’s precisely what we wanted. A panel made of professional creators who could share their journey with budding creators. Why? So that those struggling with challenges that come hand-in-hand with #creatorlife can see the light at the end of the tunnel.

What Was Under The Influence About?

A content creator’s life is an inverted pyramid. The teeny, tiny dot at the bottom is the creator invariably pushed at by the Brobdingnagian universe of social media. Through the event, we wanted to peel each layer of the universe and bring the spotlight on:

  1. How to stave off the toxicity and the psychological impact that comes with earning through social media?
  2. How to create content that is true to your identity, regardless of extraneous circumstances?
  3. How to wield social media for a positive impact?
  4. How to balance online life with offline?

TL; DR: The shindig was about exploring challenges faced by creators in their respective industries.

Whom did we invite?

When we started searching, it was pleasantly surprising to see so many creators killin’ the game. It took copious amounts of coffee and some haggling to come down to 5 panellists. What hooked us in was the common thread Ankit found. Though the creators came from all walks of life, each one endured inconvenience, difficulty and outright struggle to reach the present stage.

It was just what we wanted our seventy odd guests to understand.  With that reasoning, we invited:

  1. Karron Dhinggra or as many recognise theformaledit: A fashion and travel influencer who in his alter-ego was a lawyer.
  2. Shraddha Gurung of the lilmissgurung fame: A YouTuber who talks beauty in all forms.
  3. Shambhavi Mishra or talksassy: An ethical blogger who originally began adulting as a journalist.
  4. Ranjoy Dey: Founder of Volunteer4India, the advertising expert now focuses on initiatives that matter.
  5. Sabika Muzaffar or as few call jaamuni: An RJ, a filmmaker and a trained journalist, she now dons the founder hat at Sense of Self.

What did we talk about? Well, over the course of 60 minutes — which frankly was too short a time — the panel chatted about the toll it takes when you are continuously putting yourself out there. While we can exhaust an ocean of ink on the eye-opening insights each panellist gave, we limit ourselves to just three. They caught our eyes, ears, mind and heart with their answers.

First Up: Shraddha

A known creator in the beauty industry, Shraddha had a succinct perception of what it takes to stand out in a world densely populated with bloggers and content creators. The advice she gave was two-pronged.

  1. The audience of today is not dumb (and we’re paraphrasing here for more impact), so don’t give them alternate facts. When you write a caption, post a photo, publish a video; be cognisant of what you say. Be considerate to the audience.
  2. Honest and transparent content is crucial but do not ignore the Greenback Boogie. While it is perfectly understandable to shift priorities as per your earning, don’t push what you don’t believe in. If you disagree with something or someone, be open about it but respectfully.

Second on the Stand: Karron

One of the few males in a space evidently dominated by females, Karron is a living example of the positive side of social media. Through the platform, he found a path, and dare we say courage, to give up law and do what he loves – advocate travel and fashion.

During the panel, Karron spoke of how his strife during school become the breeding ground for bad habits. It was other’s belief that he “won’t amount to anything” that turned the chapter. He sailed through law school on his own merit, thank you very much, to become a lawyer.

The Formal Edit came with his itch to go after his passion and express himself creatively. And if that means wearing a pink T-shirt while people question his “dude-ness,’ then so be it.

On the issue of maintaining healthy self-esteem, Karron recommended talking to people. His golden rule is that not everything is fine all the time, so speak up.

Last on the stage: Sabika

Of all the discussions, the one that resonated with every person in the room was Sabika’s concept of ‘humsufferer.’ The creator of an emotional well-being initiative, Sabika said it loudly and proudly – you are not the only one suffering. Always assume that everyone has problems.

On the question of how to regularly take stock of mental state and ensure that the online space doesn’t consume you, Sabika gave an effective solution. Ask yourself ‘how are you feeling’ and then make small changes that nonetheless have a massive force.

It was a dialogue, not a monologue

What? You thought the panel discussion was it? As one of our own (read: The Boss) repeats ad nauseam, creating awareness is the first step, and nothing generates conversation like people actively participating. With that thought in mind, we personally introduced guests to each other and the panellists to spark as many dialogues as possible.

The influence of the Under The Influence event

For the invitees, the event came to a close with a gift bag filled with bespoke DYT merch and other goodies. For us, it ended with four takeaways that we hope to endorse through our platform in future.

  1. Honesty is essential, but so is the moolah.
  2. Don’t shy away; it is okay to talk about concerns.
  3. A healthy creator is one who detoxes emotionally.
  4. When people come together, they not only raise awareness but also find solutions to prevalent issues.

The fourth takeaway completes the circle and takes us back to the emphasised we at the start. There is value in a community. It’s why we eschewed the typical path to putting words to paper. Instead of one person telling the event’s tale, we gave you the experience of DYT as a whole. From the lowly intern who slaved over gift bags to the founder who moderated the panel, everyone was included in the writing of this article.

Your thoughts, please