Building bridges via Instagram

The three influencers who talked about their everyday working life on November 28th, 2023 could hardly be more different. The one with 1.1 million followers also has the commercial side in mind. The others primarily want to share their knowledge. They are united by the motive of building bridges. Which? How?

To start with, the moderator Dr. Ewa Dabrowska from weltgewandt e.V. explains how the three influencers became such. When did the breakthrough happen?

Dr. Julia Wischke , @juliawischke, runs, among other things, the blog “Explaining Germany” (in Russian). The woman with a doctorate in philosophy spoke clearly from her words. People could understand a country better if they knew where everything came from. Anyone who is new here and “plants themselves somewhere else” has the experience that “the space no longer speaks to you”. People often “unconsciously read”, for example the subway of a city and how it runs. Your goal is to convey everything. Social media is very helpful for this. She started doing this seven years ago. You are an influencer if you get feedback. This gives rise to a “responsibility to carry on”.

Paulina S., @mum_in_berlin | “Mother in Berlin”, began nine years ago. Her appearance has slowly grown. She seems modest when she says that she sees herself less as an influencer. She wants to give inspiration. She does this by pointing out interesting places in Berlin – especially for parents. These can be parks, but also museums, the encouragement to get on the train and travel to the surrounding area, etc. Instagram is a sideline for her; she works part-time. Resonance is also important for Paulina and in this sense the number of followers.

Diana zur Löwen, @dianazurloewen, is considered the most successful influencer in Germany. She initially used Instagram as a digital diary. What began as a way to finance her studies grew into a business that in turn gives companies and their products reach. How? “You yourself are the product.” You can also put it this way: an influencer gives a product a personal touch. Young women, the target group, identify with it – and so the bridge is built from an impersonal, distant ‘thing’ to the people who would like to buy it. Diana zur Löwen works with brands and produces content for them. The more she knows her community, the more campaigns she receives from large companies, especially in the fashion, jewelry and cosmetics sectors. The tax office also knows this: “We also look at your stories.” At the same time, Diana zur Löwen also brings topics of general and political education to the public through virtual channels, such as finance, European politics or sexual violence.

It is important to have a clear target group. All three influencers agreed on this. For Julia Wischke and Paulina S., what counts is “content for its own sake” (Wischke). Paulina S. would especially like to support mothers who grew up in other countries (e.g. Poland) in breaking down inhibitions and, for example, going to museums. Who among you knows that there are children’s compartments on long-distance trains? She is proactive, for example, contacts the Hanover city administration, reports about the city and receives some discounts in return. This doesn’t support your channel. She applies to him once a month.

The audience showed great interest. They were asked about legal aspects, whether everyone had a “secret” for their success, whether they had a team of employees, whether they saw the future of education in Instagram and more. When asked whether the three influencers knew how the algorithms on social media worked, they said a clear “no”. This led to considerations of how social media should be (better) regulated. Because there would be a conflict of objectives between, for example, the protection of young people and children and the interest in making money.

Have the three influencers also experienced hate or discredit? Everyone said “yes”. But this is limited. Julia Wischke appeared calm and seemed to say for all three: “ These people mainly talk about themselves. They don’t talk about me, they don’t talk to me either. “

Whether the emphasis is on conveying content or commercial aspects, all three want to do something with their work that helps others.

And why is weltgewandt e.V. dedicated to this topic of all things? The event took place as part of the project #FLIGHT – Financial Literacy for Investment, Growth, Help and Teamwork, funded by the European Union’s Erasmus+ programme. Financial Literacy also includes the question of how to earn income in the most sensible way possible. Young women in particular often dream of becoming influencers.

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