Tobold's Blog
Friday, March 19, 2021
The world's saddest job?

Just as a small anecdote, the way I discovered Shop Titans was by an advertising video in another mobile game. And in that video, the game was shown as if streamed by an influencer on Twitch, part of the screen being taken up by the game, and another by video of the influencer commenting what he did in the game, and how great it was. The only thing wrong with that was that the influencer was fake. He was an actor hired to play an influencer.

Now I find the job of influencer to be a pretty sad affair: While there are a few that make good money, the vast majority does not. There is no job safety at all, because the game you are famous for covering might fall out of fashion. And there certainly isn't a health care plan or pension benefits. Influencers in some way are the tip of the gig economy iceberg.

So I couldn't help but think that somebody faking to be an influencer for a tiny mobile game must be the saddest job in the world. I looked it up on YouTube, and there is actually a real influencer on Shop Titans, putting out lots of videos on the game. And the real version has just over 3k subscribers, which certainly doesn't pay for rent.

The internet is full of "influencers" who rely on a McJob to pay the rent in the same way that Hollywood is full of "actors" who actually earn their living waiting tables. So I guess hiring one of these aspirational groups to impersonate another is a small act of mercy displaced sideways?

Then again, I can't see the point of an advert featuring an "influencer" nobody's heard of. The handful of influencers who might succeed in selling me something are ones who I know of, have followed and trust their judgement. Are there really people who see an advert featuring some random person and go "I've no idea who this is, but he looks like an influencer, therefore I must be influenced by him!" ?
First, do you realize how much you sound like someone's dad grumbling about how he doesn't understand young people these days when you post things like this? Not that it's a bad thing. I just wonder sometimes if it's intentional or even ironic.

And speaking of irony, you're posting about how sad it is that someone would engage in making a fake influencer in-game advertizing video like this in the very same post where you're telling us it was that video which introduced you to the game you only yesterday described in fairly glowing terms as "pretty fun" and which you were clearly enjoying. Doesn't it seem like the person who made that video did a bang-up job? Aren't they entitled to feel pleased with themselves for that?
@Bhagpuss: The good part about the video was showing actual gameplay. Sadly the majority of adverts for mobile games show fake gameplay, which isn’t representative of the game at all. So, you are right in part that a video with real gameplay and a fake influencer is better than a video with fake gameplay.

About the gig economy, I don’t think that it is really a younger generation *wanting* that sort of jobs with no security. Rather I believe that it is a sad consequence of unfettered capitalism without the power of unions defending the rights of the workers.
I was influenced to try Shop Titans by this chap I like on internet called @Tobold. He's worn out Warcraft faster than I have, likes tanks more than I do and has 3D printing applications I cannot fathom. He's a fun read though and if he says something free is worth trying I tend to give it a go :)
Actually an interesting question: What is the minimum requirement for somebody to be considered an "influencer". Does somebody with a blog qualify? Does somebody with a lot of posts on Reddit or another forum qualify?

If we were certain that what we write on the internet never influences anybody, would we actually bother writing? Are we *all* influencers, just with a different degree of success?
@Tobold - I'd count somebody as an influencer if their output influences other people :) Blogger or prolific Reddit or forum poster would count if they're what folks in business call a "thought leader". Some guy who just spams "+1" posts might have a higher post count but wouldn't qualify. The guy who writes long screeds that just get a "TL;DR" response isn't much of an influencer either.

Philosophically, you're right - we're all influencers to some degree (even if it's just our own friends and family, someone out there pays attention to our opinions and recommendations). Commercially, you're an influencer if you have enough of an audience that it's worth somebody throwing some freebies or advertising bucks in your direction. Otherwise you're an influencer in the same sense I'm a writer without ever having a story commercially published - it's a self-awarded identity but not a career.
Wouldn't this would have just been a standard gig for the actor? He's doing a voice over in a commercial, pretending to be someone he isn't.
I too find it hard to believe that very many of the mysterious "younguns" trapped in the gig economy prefer jobs where they have no reliable income, tend to earn about the same as minimum wage even when they are working, and have no retirement plan whatsoever save for working until they can't do it any more and then finding a nice bridge to lay down under and die in their 80s. Unfortunately, there aren't enough stable decent paying jobs to go around, so they take what they can get.
Do you have a link to his site? I might check it out sometime.
Just search YouTube for Shop Titans.
“About the gig economy, I don’t think that it is really a younger generation *wanting* that sort of jobs with no security. Rather I believe that it is a sad consequence of unfettered capitalism without the power of unions defending the rights of the workers.“

Isn’t it more likely the result of them trying to make money by doing something that lots of people have the ability to do (because the required skills/training are widely available)? A simple excessive labor supply scenario, rather than a fundamental weakness of capitalism? It isn’t easy to make money doing something that other people do as a hobby.

Lots of people, most of them actually, do just fine under capitalism without union protections.
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