Are you being influenced?
There are two extremes of influencers.
And as can be so often, the UK is a little behind the curve on regulations.
The kind of extreme right influencer we suggest is the professional.
That is the person who is paid to write an article or slide something into a video post.
Those make us cringe, as they deliberately find the headline or the copy to explode numbers.
Influencers have huge numbers of followers, and videos of theirs will find tens or hundreds of thousands of views.
They have power.
The extreme left kind of influencer is the hobbyist.
Those who look for genuine news and only post when it is true.
These are not interested in numbers.
In between are those that might allow Google advertising. And Google chooses the adverts in most circumstances, not the site owner.
They sometimes also use links that send you to another site.
Those on the extreme right, the real professional, will use every weapon mentioned above, as that is how they make their monthly salary, pay wages, pay office and digital costs, etc.
So one of our favourite cruise destinations, Norway, is pushing through regulation that forces influencers to disclose when they have edited or retouched their images.
This normally applies to those huge profit products like skincare and makeup. But it also means putting the sun into the picture and changing the sky.
In The UK
In the UK, we still allow strange wording – like the ‘guarantees’ on broadband speeds, which appear to be like nothing more than guaranteeing to give your money back if they fail, yet they do not guarantee a speed at all.
We still allow adverts to say “99% of…” (they still normally say women which is sexist) when they only sampled a fraction over 100, so there is only a small justification for the ridiculous survey.
Policing The Internet
Policing the internet is not easy – especially when a new article might feature twenty ships they claim have been scrapped because of a current pandemic.
Some may – and we know what some may be saying is a stretch of the truth – like making the eyes bigger, the smile wider, the sun and sky better.
Or basing a story on older ships, sold because of the pandemic – which in most cases were sold, or in a plan to be sold, and replaced.
So the plan Norway has started will be watched, tested – and, we hope, expanded.
Ours is Hobby
In the meantime, David and Stuart are both retired.
For them, it is a hobby.
And the moderators who work with them on the various cruise sites do it because they care.
We don’t need numbers. So if someone breaks the rules they are removed. We like to think that keeps it a friendly site.
We know that there are those who join who know nothing about Doris Chats, the Doris Visits, or the How To Cruise sections.
We also know many of our followers – as we have sat and had dinner with them on ships, and they have come and spoken to us after one of our on-ship Q&A sessions or interviews.
Stuart is a cruise crime author since being forced off the film sets by an accident in 2014 (he is on the mend).
David took early retirement from 40 years in the telecoms industry, and now does tech presentations, websites, and voluntarily looks after the digital welfare of his local church.
They are chalk and cheese.
When Stuart throws a concept into a book, it is drama imagined from his sometimes 12 visits to various ships in a year.
If he posts a section of the book, it is clear that it is drama, as opposed to his news blogs.
Often – like his idea of guests being taken off a cruise holiday because the ship is oversold when regulations are changed or lengthened – it is because his fifty years in the movie industry has trained him to consider the future. And again he was right.
His parading of an idea is drama. It is a novel – whereas many influencers, in Norway at least, caused regulators to step in.
Stuart cares very much about cruising and he wrote his crime novels to happen around cruising. His books are interesting reading and they are the only thing he’s bothered about being sold on his sites.
TV & Travel Agents
Channel 4 ran a programme recently where Kathy Burke helped de-mystify some of the influencers and making money, in the one-hour documentary “Money Talks”.
In our attempt to avoid professional influencers in our groups, travel agents with their sales agendas, and some others, do get removed. The Doris sites are family-friendly.
Article by: Stuart
Stuart St Paul is a published author and screenwriter, and can often be seen presenting on cruise ships about his 50 years in the movie industry – from movie director to stuntman.