Influencers Uncensored: with Ryan Noakes
We have said goodbye to our popular Bloggers Uncensored series to make room for the new and improved Influencers Uncensored! You're probably wondering what the difference between the two is outside of changing the name slightly and how it's "new and improved". Well, in this new series we've expanded it beyond just the blogging community to involve all social media influencers and youtubers! We'll also be diving deeper into the life of an influencer, racism, mental health, feminism, LGBTQ+ and so much more! Have you ever wondered what your favourite influencers really think about the topics that matter? Well now you'll find out in this raw and uncensored interview series!
Excited? Good! Because it's time to introduce today's Influencer...
"I'm Ryan. I'm 28. Essex-born now living in greater Manchester, I've been up north nearly 15 years, so, I like to think of myself as an adopted northerner. I write on the side, and my blog is my hobby, not my job. Fun fact: I once owned my own advertising website (business) and when I first moved back to Manchester after living in Sydney for a year I set up three-months of meeting with restaurants, cafes, bars and even Nuffield Gym."
Life as an Influencer...
What initially made you get into blogging?
As briefly mentioned in my introduction, my website. I started an advertising website called Just Moved To and the idea was it would give people moving to an new area all the information they needed from a meal out to a mechanic. As well as getting listings, I focused heavily on articles for my blog - "The best this" or "Where to for that". I got some guest bloggers and met some fantastic influencers that were willing to help a guy out.
What is your experience of societies perception about pursuing blogging as a career path?
I really struggled to make a career out of it. It got to the point in which I was spending more on my blog than I was making. However, in terms of what I think society perceives blogging as a job; well, you've got two very defined camps. You've got those who fully support it and actively encourage people, and then you've got those who believe it's not a real job and doesn't understand how people can have so much money from promoting things online. There's a lot of people that think (wrongly, in my opinion) influencers only do it for the free stuff and the invites. But, as we all know it's not always glitz and glamour and there's a lot of hard work that goes into it.
What are the pros and cons to being an Influencer in 2020?
There are more pros than cons, so, let's start there; I feel it is a lot more widely accepted and recognised. With social media and the widespread power that influencers have proven to have companies are scouting out influencers and asking them to be involved. That leads me into my con; there are so many influencers in 2020 and so many stay-at-home online "figures" that it is tough to breakthrough. Being your standard lifestyle or travel influencer is not enough nowadays, you need to have an edge and market yourself as you would market products in your AD.
What difficulties have you faced during your time as a blogger?
Two key ones; bullying and sexism and lack of money. Let's talk about money first. I do what I do now for the love of writing. I have a full time job and love penning my random thoughts whenever I feel like. But, I never got the money that I needed to sustain it. Then, let's talk about sexism and bullying, so many times has this happened to me because I'm a male blogger. I have a lot of friends that are girls and people find that odd. People don't understand why a man would blog.
The Influencer community is huge, who are your favourites to follow right now?
Well, you, of course! There there are a few others (all Twitter handles): I have to start with my friend @k_alexandrah - her IG feed is amazing. Then, there's Mariam @bossbabetweets who's SEO tips are the best. A few more to mention @aneuroticwriter, @whatabisays and @OnTheFlyblog1
Let's get deep...
Recently the Black Lives Matter movement got the world's attention. Racism is finally being talked about openly, and white privilege is being acknowledged. What is your opinion on the BLM movement?
Long overdue. It's something people have been very passionate about, but only now it took something to get people together.I do think it's more than just hashtags and words. I'm 28yo but I'm very naive and simple-minded, so I do not understand how in 2020 we still face these issues. I hope the BLM movement never stops and it can make a real difference, to the laws and generations to come.
Although the protests have mostly stopped for the time being, what can we do to make sure the movement and black lives continue to be supported?
Firstly, just think about what is going on. The movement was about spreading the injustice, and now, it's time for us all to reflect and think. Speak out, if you feel something is wrong or you witness something with your friends or colleagues just speak out. Do not be afraid of challenging racist situations.
What does the word "Feminist" mean to you?
Someone who believes there is a complete and unreasonable injustice between men and women and actively wants to try to change that for their kids, grandkids and great-grandkids.
In 2020, how important do you think the feminist movement is?
Very, I go back to my earlier point, and, yes, I'm aware that I'm saying this as a man, but I do not understand how in this modern era we still have issues, judgement, prejudice and general inequality. We are all skin and bones, but for some reason, there are not the same opportunities for everyone. Yes, we've come a long way, but we aren't there yet, so the movement is more critical now than ever before.
There has always been such a stigma surrounding mental health, how do you feel mental illness is being portrayed in today's society?
A lot better than when I was growing up. I've got a family history and tragedy surrounding mental health and let me tell you in the 90's it wasn't as accepted. The help wasn't there, and things could have been different if it was. I love how people are more open now, and a lot of big influential businesses are doing something about it.
What can we, the government and society do to progress mental health services and end the stigma surrounding it?
Have you heard of Mental Health First Aiders? - Every organisation and school, college, university should have them. There needs to be more formal training on this and more uptake in people willing to train. Also, there needs to be more financial help, everyone should be able to afford to take a mental health day off work without being punished.
As an influencer, you have to spend a lot of time on social media. Do you get affected by online trolling; whether it be directly or indirectly?
Luckily, not. I personally do not get trolled, and I don't see my friends experiencing it. If I did, mentally, I'm strong enough to ignore. I was bullied at school, so I built a resistance to it.
Do you think social networks are doing enough to combat online trolling? If not, what can they do?
Yes, and, no. I put myself in their shoes, and it must be hard to police with so many backdoors and webs. But, I do think that the algorithms are wrong. Censoring the wrong content and allowing stuff to slip the net.
Do you believe we are all individually responsible in stopping online trolls? What can we as the users do to help stop them and protect others?
Report and call them out. They get a thrill for being anonymous but the more people who call them out and spread the word they're nasty they'll soon learn. Also, don't be afraid to report, with things like these it's strength in numbers and the more that we keep reporting, the more authorities will listen. Finally, spread the love. Drown out the trolls with messages of kindness and love.
How much acceptance do the LGBTQ+ community receive in your country?
I'm in the UK and I feel it's fair. With everything, it could be a lot, lot better but it certainly is not as bad as some countries.
Are we, as a society, making enough progress?
No. In my opinion, not. We seem to do a big push, and then it fizzles out for a little bit. We need to keep the wheels turning constantly.
In your opinion, why in 2020 do you think some people, cultures and countries still have a strong dislike or disdain towards the community?
I really do not know. It causes me headaches to try and think why. I don't understand their logic or reason, and it's so difficult to think about why. Perhaps exposure, or lack of, knowledge, training, information etc. could all be factors.
In your opinion, what is the biggest issue we as a world are facing?
Suicide. Too many people are taking their own lives, and they are younger and younger. Life is precious and no one, in any walk of life, no matter the situation or reason should ever feel like they cannot live any longer. I know you can only help someone who wants help, but, still, we are facing a crisis.
What does freedom mean to you?
To live without judgement.
What else do you feel passionate about?
Old fashioned sexist opinions. I'm not a very manly man, I'm camp, my best friends are girls, and I do not believe that men should have to be a certain way. I hate how people perceive not paying for the bill as rude, or, the ability to not change a tire is odd. There's so much more I could talk about but I won't. It works both ways, my Fiance and I are very much equal, and she has skills that I don't and vise-versa but society judges too much when they see what they think as role reversal.
Let's end this with some fun 'This or That' questions:
Tea or coffee?
Coffee. Decaf. Black. No sugar.
Text or call?
Both, I always text but not afraid to call.
Summer or winter?
Love or money?
Book or movie?
Sex or pizza?
Can't I have both? It would have to be sex. I'm not overly bothered by pizza.
Meat or veggies?
Tiktok or youtube?
YouTube, I've not got on this TikTok bandwagon at all.
Fame or quiet life?
Quiet life (I have no skill to be famous)
Night in or night out?
100% night in.
. . .
There's a new Influencer every Monday and Sunday at 6pm GMT, see you there!
If you're a blogger, influencer, youtuber or content creator and would like to be interviewed for the Influencers Uncensored series then please email me at - firstname.lastname@example.org or DM me on Instagram.
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