Supporter vs. Influencer

There’s a new food hall in town. I’m sure nothing about that “news” shocks anyone in Miami any more. We are lucky enough to have more than a couple at this point.

I received an invite to go pre-opening tonight in what is known as a “Media Invite”. Don’t get me wrong, I appreciate the invite, but I’m not “media” and I run from the term “influencer” because of the connotations it generates of “pay to play” positive reviews. It was flattering to get the invite, but I’m not going. Not tonight at least.

If I don’t work for a media outlet and I’d prefer not to be an “influencer”, what am I?  

I’m a supporter.

I support the people who make and serve great food, great coffee, great wine or cocktails and great art or design. I guess I should I say, I support the folks who make what I consider “great” - as everyone’s reviews are intrinsically subjective. It is, however, very important to me to use my “voice” or words to send the attaboys & attagirls to the folks I think are changing our city.

In a nutshell, that’s the only kind of “influence” I want to have.

I want to be able to say - with words and photographs:

“Keep up the great work!”

“Your commitment and talent is appreciated!”

“We get you and we see you working your ass off!”

“As a Miamian, we are grateful for you!”

I care more about “influencing” the Creative to keep on creating, than I do about “influencing” the masses to try something.

So, for me, going to a “Media Night” where all the food is free, no one gets tipped and we are all just part of a hype machine, feels disingenuous to me at this point. For the media, it’s fine, they’re really media. For the “influencers”, well… I’ll leave that windmill for another day when I’m feeling more Quixotic.

For me, I’m happy the food hall in question is open. Now I can go, and eat where I want to, pay for it, tip those who help serve, and take photos and write about what I consider to be “great”. That will feel honest.