My friend Christine and I are enthusiastic Instagrammers and
Facebookers, and we keep each other updated on lifestyle issues on the
internet. Recently, we came up with the idea of starting a blog or a
YouTube channel, something like the European version of Gwyneth
Our qualifications are good: Christine is a fashion designer, and I
am a writer—so why not? Christine and I have posted and blogged for fun
for some time, but now we want to get serious and really rich.
But as I started researching how to succeed, I soon came across a
cruel reality: Making money on the internet does not go together with
our age group and gender—and that’s quite frustrating.
Demographics might explain where their followers come from. In the Pew report “Social Media Use in 2018,” the youngest adults stand out in their social-media consumption: “Some
88% of 18- to 29-year-olds indicate that they use any form of social
media.” But of the Americans surveyed, the percentage went down for 30-
to 49-year-olds (78%) , dropping to 37% for those 65 and over.
Women in different age groups
Baking vlogger Rosanna Pansino, one of the highest-paid young female digital stars at 33 years old, didn’t even make the 2018 Forbes list. Still, she has 11 million subscribers on YouTube and 4.1 million on Instagram.
Meanwhile, older vloggers like Dominique Sachse or Monique Parent merely have 870,000 YouTube followers and 146,000 on Instagram—or
250,000 subscribers on YouTube and 26,000 on Instagram—respectively.
The number of subscribers and views count, because they determine the amount of income and attention from sponsors.
Is it our fault?
The British blogger and YouTuber Helen Redfern has addressed ageism directly in A Bookish Baker with posts such as “Why aren’t over-40 bloggers as visible online?” One reason she names is a lack of self-promotion among older bloggers,
because “promoting our blog posts and our videos feels boasty.”
Older bloggers, especially women, can feel intimidated, too, worried
that the world out there isn’t really interested in their voices. In a
recent post, “Is there ageism in blogging?,” Redfern writes:
blogging we have the really young women, possibly into beauty and
fashion. Then we have the career woman forging a fantastic online
career. Then we have the parenting women; the new mums. But then what?
As reported by Pew, 64% of those aged 50 to 64 are social-media
users. In my view, that’s not far from the 88% of those under thirty,
and it doesn’t justify a revenue gap of several million dollars.
If there’s a market for young influencers, then why isn’t there a community that addresses more mature issues, too?
It’s time for people like Christine and me to roll up our sleeves, be confident, and get started.
Gerda Friedel, M.A., is currently pursuing a master’s degree in journalism and a certificate in biotechnology at Harvard Extension School. Her specialization is writing about Type 1 diabetes. She is also a freelance English teacher and amateur painter. This text was originally published in a Harvard class magazine: http://designingstoriesfortheweb.com/are-we-too-old-to-be-digital-stars