Year 2020. If I ask you to name a few of your favourite social media influencers, I'm sure you'll have multiple names rushing to your mind. But let us press rewind and go back a few years in time, when influencer marketing wasn't a thing. Assuming we visit the near past, had I asked you the same question back then, chances are that you would have been confused about the answer. It's not that influencers didn't exist at that point, for they have been around for a very long time (and when I say very, I'm talking centuries ), but they weren't recognized under the title of 'influencers'. Although the first usage of this term dates back to the mid-1600s, Merriam Webster announced only in the year 2019 that the word 'influencer' had been added to the English dictionary.
As of January 2019, 3.848 billion people use social media. As a result it's almost imperative to have a few renowned personalities guide the minds of such a big number with their decision making; and these personalities are none other than our beloved social media influencers - people with a reputation who have achieved credibility in specific fields, having the power to persuade a huge audience. Contrary to popular belief, although the term is mainly used for people who've gained popularity on social media platforms such as Instagram; YouTubers and celebrities (the likes of Kylie Jenner, Selena Gomez, and Cristiano Ronaldo to name a few) can be influencers too!
Being a member of the Gen Z, just like the rest, I too have a list of my own favourite influencers. But even in a list of favourites, there has to be someone who tops the table and that for me would be Prajakta Koli, aka, MostlySane. She is an Indian Youtuber who started her Youtube channel in February 2015. Her channel specializes in the comedy genre and what's made it incredibly popular is the fact that her content is thoroughly relatable. Currently, Prajakta has 5.07 million subscribers on her Youtube channel, 628 million total views (!!!) and 1.9 million followers on Instagram. But let us take a look at where this amazing journey began!
In one of her interviews, Prajakta said that her nine-year-old self was one of those kids sure about what they want to become later in life and for her, the dream was to be a radio jockey. There was something about the thrill of talking freely to the masses that attracted her to this profession. Her parents were supportive of her choice too. So when she got the position of an intern at Fever 104 FM radio station in Mumbai, all things in life were falling in place. But alas! One can say that it was all too good to be true. For the time being at at least. She didn't feel in control of her work nor was she getting the freedom that she thought she would. So after working as an intern for a year, it was time for something new. She decided to give Youtube a shot and little did she know that her life was about to changed forever.
2015 was the year when Google opened its first Youtube Space in India; a move which was imperative in opening up a new chapter for Indian Youtubers, making it easier for them to connect and collaborate in order to create some amazing content for the ever expanding Indian audience. Safe to say that Prajakta had stepped into this space at the right time! She released her first video titled 'Five types of singles on Valentine's Day' on 12 Feb 2015. Currently working with One Digital Entertainment, she is undoubtedly the leading female content creator of our country.
So what is the secret behind her success? One of the major factors has to be her remarkable ability to connect with the audience at a personal level. In many of her interviews when she was asked about her USP (aka Unique Selling Proposition), she's always said that it was the relatability which made the content funny for her viewers. She relies on personal experiences and every-day life situations and blends them with humour to create her videos. Another important aspect which contributes to her popularity is that in almost all her videos she converses in Hindi which is received very well by the masses.
Apart from having a thriving Youtube channel, she has also been a part of multiple campaigns. She launched the #iPledgeToBeMe campaign on World Mental Health Day, 2016. Even on the platform of social media which can be quite overwhelming and judgmental, she's always been very honest about her insecurities and how she overcame them and wanted to use her power that came alongside being an influencer to persuade her audience to do the same. In May 2017, she released a rap song called 'Shameless' featuring several other popular social media stars. Prajakta has also been a part of the #GirlsCount campaign which focused on the importance of girl education. She was also one of the four youtubers who were chosen to represent India at the town hall meeting organised by the Obama Foundation. To add to the list, she was one of the ambassadors for UN's global initiative 'Creators for a Change'. Being an ambassador for the same for the second time in 2020, she's joined forces with Michelle Obama and other prominent personalities like Liza Koshy and Thembe Mahlaba to help young girls all over the world overcome the barriers that stand in their way towards education.
As evident, it has been quite a thrilling ride for this 26-year-old sensation, but she is not one to be complacent when it comes to work. She believes that consistency is key to success for she lives in the constant fear of losing her followers. In one of her interviews she said that no matter what happens she makes sure that 3 videos go up on her channel every week because that is something that the audience expects, and they cannot be taken for granted. Being a person who worships consistency, she is always working towards bringing new, fresh and authentic content for her viewers. A few weeks back, she released her first ever Youtube Originals series called 'Pretty Fit' featuring some very famous and influential guests.
So now what's the plan moving forward? To quote her very own words, "You know, all my life I’ve planned things. That leaves no room for surprises and it gets very boring. After I started doing my videos, I stopped making plans. I didn’t know where YouTube would take me, and it has only taken me to the best of places. Now I don’t want to be the person who chalks her life out."
Being a dedicated #DumDum (something that she lovingly likes to call her fans), I think I can say this on behalf of others that we cannot wait to find out what's next!