The SHE Word - Episode 1 | Women and Social Media

The SHE Word - Episode 1 | Women and Social Media

In today’s episode of the SHE Word, we’re tackling the topic of social media, influencers, and the impact that social media has on our lives. For this important conversation, Trudy Kerry is joined by Shelley Caruana, Taryn Mamo Cefai, and Gail Baldacchino.  

The day is finally here! Our first SHE Word episode is now live! The amazing Trudy Kerr is our host for this series and the SHE Word is all about conversations that women rarely have but really should. The first episode talks all about influencers, content creation on social media and the impact that it has on our lives. 

Joining Trudy, we asked Shelley Caruana, Taryn Mamo Cefai, and Gail Baldacchino to be in this important discussion. Shelley rose to influencer fame during the pandemic when she started documenting her plant journey. Taryn is a drive-time radio host on local radio who is also an influencer while Gail is both a content creator herself on her own platform and also does content creation as part of her full-time job.  

The conversation kicked off with Trudy highlighting that women in general, spend approximately 2 hours and 10 minutes daily on social media which means that influencers and content creators have a huge responsibility when sharing content on their platform.  

Shelley’s social media journey started in a surprising way since she started posting about her plants, so she holds herself accountable. However, her profile blew up because she gave this journey her own little spin. Shelley started giving the plants names and personalised their experiences which kept her followers engaged and interested in her, and her plants, journey. However, by time, Shelley felt that with having such a big platform, posting only about plants was feeling somewhat shallow. She wanted to make a bigger impact by sharing positive messages.  

‘The meaning behind the word influencer has a very big effect on me. I feel I have such a responsibility. With such a big following, you do have an effect on people and it’s scary sometimes. You have to be careful about what you speak about and how you say things.’   

Taryn’s social media journey began somewhat accidentally. Taryn started her career as an actress and a radio host. During her last TV series, social media and Instagram were just starting to become popular. She started posting what she loved to do and got most of her following through TV and the media. It was all a matter of doing it in the right moment. Taryn also feels this sense of responsibility when creating her content.  

‘Sometimes I have to turn down brands because they don’t match with who I am as a person and my lifestyle. I like to give things my own little twist and I hope that brands trust me enough to do this. I want to do things my own way and have some kind of creative freedom so that my followers can feel this authenticity’.  

Gail’s journey also started off accidentally. She started sharing photos of her travel and lifestyle on Instagram. During lockdown, she was living in London, and she started to get interested in social media and influencer marketing. Gail started sharing what she was learning and that is how her platform grew.  

‘I felt that there was a need for education in Malta. I like to call myself a content creator instead of an influencer. An influencer is a content creator but not all content creators are influencers. It’s not always about the number of followers when you’re an influencer – it’s all about the power that you possess to influence people. It’s important to be aware of this responsibility and treat it professionally. You have to be mindful of what you say and the repercussions of what you’re saying. I’m someone who likes to say it how it is but I’m still very cautious of how I say it’.  

Trudy points out very interesting statistics; 85% of the content of social media has been edited in some shape or form. She asks a very important question. Is social media a true representation of life?  

Taryn admits that she does enhance her photos in terms of colour to make them look more aesthetically pleasing, especially if it’s paid content. However, Gail also brings up the vital topic of social media not being regulated in Malta. Whereas in foreign countries, it is absolutely mandatory for influencers to use hashtags such as #PR, #gifted, and #ad, in Malta this is not regulated.  

‘The reason behind these hashtags is so that your audience does not have to make assumptions’, Gail explains. ‘The #notanad, which is sometimes also looked down upon, is not needed then if you’re being transparent with your hashtags and the brands that you work with. We’re still waiting for the legislation to come in. I’m always updating myself and trying to update others locally’.  

It’s a no-brainer…social media does affect your mental health. Trudy asks Shelley and Taryn how they feel that social media impact them as influencers.  

‘I don’t force myself to post, says Shelley. ‘Of course, it does mess up the algorithm, but I feel like I had to do a lot of soul searching over the past year to find out who I am away from social media. I took a break from it for a couple of months because I felt that I was becoming addicted to it. I felt that my anxiety was getting worse because of social media so I needed a break’.  

Taryn claims that social media is a 24hr job. ‘If you’re not on it, you’re still thinking about what you’re going to create on it. It’s always a battle against yourself to create the right content. I also feel the addiction aspect because, as a consumer, I often get addicted to other people’s lifestyles, wishing my life was like theirs. That’s what social media is.’ 

Lastly, Trudy asked a very thought-provoking question…as influencers who have a huge impact on women, what would they like to see in the future in relation to social media and its way forward?  

Taryn hits the nail on the head here. ‘We need to show people that social media doesn’t define you. It’s an extension of yourself but it’s not who you are. Sometimes, social media is just a part of you’. 

Being genuine is what Shelley would like to see more of. ‘I’m interested in women speaking up about their values and spreading a positive message. That’s what I’m aiming to do myself, too!’ 

Gail urges everyone to be true to themselves. ‘We need to copy others less. We don’t need to aspire to be like others – Be you – on camera and off camera. Be your true self. It will get tiring if you’re trying to put on an image that is not you. Be yourself and the rest will follow’.  

Ladies, we cannot thank you enough for being on the SHE Word and having this important conversation! Keep spreading positive vibes!   

You can also watch the episode here: