Ancilla van de Leest
Sep 18 · 3 min read

Don’t let your livelihood depend on a platform. It WILL kill you.

Today, another popular influencer has been deleted off a major platform. Christina Sutra is a sought after painter who has created a modest business off of sharing her work on instagram in the past couple of years.

But, as of this week, she no longer has her account. No warning email or further explanation from the platform she and her three children depend on, she shares on her backup account. Now I don’t know what it is she supposedly did, that made her lose her account. But I do know that if it wasn’t for her mentioning a little thing called “breast implant illness”, I might not be alive today. So let’s just say I take a liking to her, besides the usual ethical concerns I have about no-platforming anyone who has a diverting opinion.

This one case of many, where major influencers get kicked off of their main platform, and the account they have invested years of their lives in. Not to mention the audience they have built a mutual relationship with, gets deleted in the blink of an eye.

When I started my online business (as a content creator with a subscription website) I did it with the explicit goal of not being dependent on the whims or approval of any one person or company. The internet was relatively new, but soon I discovered the joy of being able to reach my audience directly, sharing the exact content that I wanted to make.

Starting in my career as a teenager, I would have been hugely dependent on shady agencies and managers to make a living as a model, and in the internet I saw a great opportunity to make a basic income with which I could be independent enough to turn down assignments that didn’t feel right for me. The shady modeling agencies of those days, have now been replaced by platforms with shady morals and commercial guidelines.

So now the reverse trend is going on on the internet. Where it was once an opportunity to make a completely independent living on your own terms, influencers now make themselves completely dependent on platforms like instagram (owned by facebook) and youtube (owned by google) to reach their audience. Where it was once a direct contact line between the creator and their supporters, now they depend on the political and commercial whims of the all powerful platforms.

If I may gave you one piece of advice, as someone who ran a successful online business for ten years. If you’re getting started as an influencer, entrepreneur or artist; use the platforms to gain momentum and visibility, and then make darn sure your audience follows you on an information AND payment platform that YOU control. Do it before you no longer use the platform, but the platform starts to use and abuse you, according to a completely in-transparent process.

Get your OWN website. Get your OWN newsletter. Take direct payments. No, paypal is not a direct payment platform. Neither is Patreon. And look into cryptocurrency while you can.

Use the power of the internet to create autonomy for yourself, or you’ll be jumping when the platforms tell you to. If you let your livelihood depend on something as powerful and fickle as commercial platforms, you can count on being cancelled sooner rather than later.

Like someone’s art? Consider giving them value for value by supporting them directly and financially by purchasing their creations and contribute to the continuation of their content. ❤️🧡💛💚💙💜

Welcome to a place where words matter. On Medium, smart voices and original ideas take center stage - with no ads in sight. Watch
Follow all the topics you care about, and we’ll deliver the best stories for you to your homepage and inbox. Explore
Get unlimited access to the best stories on Medium — and support writers while you’re at it. Just $5/month. Upgrade