The word ‘millionaire’ tends to conjure imagery of luxury cars, gold bars, and mansions on a hill. According to popular opinion, you are either born into that kind of wealth or you work towards building it. Social media, however, has changed this notion forever.
Social media is altering the way brands advertise, from sponsored posts popping up on everyone’s newsfeeds to so-called ‘influencers’ being paid to wax poetic about how good a product is. But, how much money do these people get every time they mention a product in their microblog or video? According to the latest data, influencers based in the UAE now command an average of AED 3,600 – AED 18,300 per post.
A household name in the “influencer” industry is Rashed Saif Belhasa, aka MoneyKicks. With 1.6 million followers on an Instagram feed that boasts pictures with Cristiano Ronaldo, Akon, Shahrukh Khan, and many more, he’s among the crème de la crème of local influencers.
Gaining prominence through his gaming channel, Hitspeko, Mohamed Beiraghdary parlayed his knack for witty remarks and comedic expressions into the creation of Mo Vlogs, which currently has around 4 million subscribers on YouTube. Mo’s annual income from social media alone is estimated to be around AED 598,000. On March 11, 2017, he posted a video where he and his sister took viewers on a tour of their new mansion. His garage hosts a Lamborghini Huracan, a Ford Mustang, and a Ferrari 458 Spider!
“I’d rather hustle 24/7 than slave away 9 to 5” — Fat Joe.
The age of the ‘part-time millionaires’ has inspired the upcoming generation to seriously reconsider their aspirations for the future. The more traditional path of a safe college degree followed by a regular 9-to-5 is being increasingly eschewed in favour of a multimedia career that could pay for college if you ever decided to go just for fun! It’s a time with more opportunities than ever before, but a happy ending is no guarantee.
In 2017, the youth unemployment rate was 22.3%, relatively high compared to the overall unemployment rate of 8.9%. Young adults between 18 — 24 are either branching out into their own endeavours or diving back into the safety net of school. Neither option is cheap or easily sustainable though. The rising global climate of political unrest, has further emboldened the youth to do away with archaic models of normalcy and demand a change that betters their future on their own terms. However, the long-term impact of this fervour is yet to be seen. Hopefully, it’s the birth of a new normal that changes things for the better.
Adnan Wahidi is Account Executive at Cicero & Bernay Public Relations, an independent PR agency headquartered in Dubai offering new-age public relations consultancy to the UAE and across the MENA region. | www.cbpr.me