This might seem like a no brainer as I've been blogging since 2012 but I love influencers. I think influencers are incredibly valuable and get far too much slack. It's a billion dollar industry and everyone is basically doing it for the first time. Influencers are not going anywhere and I'm a little tired of people ragging on them.

Now that I've got that off my chest... Stephanie McNeal is one of the few journalists who has always seen the value of influencers and is someone I trusted to deliver news I wanted to read without the undertone of snark. I've followed her for years and enjoyed every piece of content she put out. 

That's why when she announced that she was releasing a book all about influencer culture, Swipe Up For More, I immediately preordered it. I counted down the days and had it marked on my calendar. I could not wait to read this book from someone I admired and respected, about a topic I was very passionate about. 

I inhaled this book within a few days, and could've read it faster but I really wanted to make it last. If you like influencers, even casually, you will love this book. It was insightful, meaningful, and gave you an inside look at the lives of influencers but also the business side of things. It was incredibly interesting and I cannot recommend it enough.

Publisher's Summary

If you’re anything like journalist Stephanie McNeal—aka, a millennial woman—you spend hours every day indulging in Instagram’s infinite scroll. The influencers on the platform aren’t just providing eye candy; these tastemakers impact how we cook, consume, parent, decorate, think, and live. But what exactly is going on behind the curtain of the perfectly curated Instagram grids we obsess over the most? 

Through intimate, funny, and vulnerable reporting, McNeal takes us through the looking glass and into the secretive real world of three major influencers: fashion and lifestyle juggernaut Caitlin Covington of Southern Curls & Pearls, runner and advocate Mirna Valerio, and OG “mommy blogger” Shannon Bird. 
Swipe Up For More! is based on three years of unprecedented, fly-on-the-wall access that offers a rare glimpse into how these influencers build their empires, struggle with the haters and snarkers, fight for creative control from the tech platforms that enable their businesses, parent in public, and try to look good while doing it.

Along the way, McNeal answers burning questions, like: Why are there so many Mormon mommy influencers? What is it like to work for a popular influencer? What do they do with all the free swag? How do brand partnerships work? And how much money do they really make?

Irresistible, juicy, and voyeuristic, 
Swipe Up For More! reveals all about the women some love to hate (and many actually, secretly, genuinely love).

My Thoughts

As I said above, I loved this book so much, however, it was not what I expected. I didn't realize Stephanie focused on three influencers over the course of the book, two of them I knew about and even followed for a period of time. At first I didn't think I would like that flow but it turned out to truly be my favorite part.

Having the inside look at three very different influencers offered so much value and insight to the reader, it made so much sense and I was thrilled with it. 

The three influencers McNeal follows are Mirna, a running blogger, Caitlin Covington, an OG fashion blogger who is the poster child for Christian Girl Autumn, and controversial Mormon Mommy Blogger, Shannon Bird or birdalamode. 

I was shocked that Shannon Bird agreed to this because she has gotten herself into a lot of hot water over the years but after reading her story, I understand why she did it. She does not come across the way she does online and I actually really loved learning more about her and her 'scandals'.

Caitlin was someone I had followed on and off over the years and someone I really admired. I immediately started following her as soon as I read the book and I'm glad I did. She's so smart, very authentic and just a great follow no matter what your interests are. I enjoyed reading her parts because it was very reminiscent of the early days of blogging. It brings you back to a time of statement necklaces, OOTDs, arm parties, and the Valencia filter on Instagram. It was like a time machine and it made me nostalgic for a time that was only 10 years ago. 

Mirna is the only one I've never heard of but it makes sense because I don't follow fitness influencers nor do I follow running creators, which is more Mirna's niche. Stephanie had been following her since the beginning so it was nice to have that personal connection woven throughout the book. Mirna's story is inspiring; she's a plus size creator, she's black, she's a little older than your average creator, and she was a teacher for years before this journey. I loved learning about her start, how she's changing the running industry and everything that comes along with her business model.

Throughout the book, Stephanie drifts away from our three central women to talk more generally about the industry, the start, the snark, and the scandal. She gets sound bites from other creators, including Grace Atwood, who I love so much, and I think that really made it a well rounded book.

McNeal also doesn't shy away from talking about the downside of influencing and how it can be perceived as negative, which I also enjoyed because it's not always 100% positive, but no industry is. 

If you are someone who loves influencers, you will love this book. If you're someone who is on the fence about influencers or knows little to nothing about the industry but have piqued interest, you will enjoy this book and feel like you learned a lot.

If you've read Swipe Up, or are planning to, let me know what you think!


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