What does it take to be a social media star?

Style - New To Me Thursday! No.Match! (Photo by Alicia Chenaux)

So you think you want a career in social media. Have you got what it takes?

If you ask a group of teenagers what their dream career is, at least one is likely to throw out the word “YouTuber” or “social media influencer”.

But what does that mean in practical terms? What skills does the job require? What should we be aware of before we give it a go?

Lachlan Geurtin, 20, has been pursuing a career in YouTube for nearly two years, building slowly to 127,000 views. His site is now generating an income as a result of ads on his videos, but it’s a lot less than you might think.

“I have made about $50, but I can’t even access that money until I make a minimum amount of money, which is somewhere around $100,” he says.

That means aspiring YouTubers need to enjoy creating content for its own sake, not for the money – at least at the start – and to have plenty of self-discipline to upload videos regularly.

“[At the start] I didn’t have any people watching my videos or waiting for videos, so there was kind of why should I’ mentality,” Lachlan says.

“As I got more subscribers, more comments, I thought, I guess I have to stick to a schedule and also that’s kind of a negative, because then you feel pressured and you think to you’re not doing something you’re passionate about, you’re just doing it just to do it,” he adds.

Lachlan says he doesn’t put himself under pressure to change his appearance or act in a certain way to be well-liked by viewers.

But many aspiring social media influencers don’t feel the same way – and not only alter their own appearance and diet, but encourage their followers to do the same either directly, or indirectly as role models.

Dietician Sonal Sudan says the adoption and promotion of fad diets by many social media stars put young fans at risk of incorrect information about healthy eating and behaviour.

To hear more from Lachlan and Sonal, watch the video below:

Story by Dominique Russell (domrussell_). Feature image by Alicia Chenaux (Flickr Creative Commons)