Steven Raider @steven_raider
By Moises Ravelo
Steven Raider was the first person that I noticed in social media that was different from the rest. He seemed to be more like a celebrity than just another “John Doe” on social media. I remember longing to be his friend, and how difficult it was to even get a friend request to him. His Facebook (or one of) was always full to capacity. Was it his great looks, his fantastic body or winning personality that made him so popular. I was intrigued and I so I set out to discover why he was the most popular guy I knew on social media.
I knew one thing to be true, I really enjoyed seeing him dance. Especially in his as-per-usual small tight speedos. Even so, the fun part of seeing him dance for me was when he would inevitably turn around and shake his ass or even try a twerk or two, his best butt maneuver was the all out vibrate it to the rhythm of the song until he, “dropped it like it’s hot”. I thought he was a good dancer and I still do. What I liked most about his dancing, and frankly, drew my attention most about his dancing, was watching him having so much fun dancing. I thought he was courageous, fun, uninhibited and sometimes silly for the sake of fun; sort of in the way one might see a child dancing jumping around just for the pure innocent fun of it all; to entertain themselves. He made me think of the expression, “…dance as if no one is watching..”
One day, after many failed attempts to friend-request him, I mustered the courage necessary to write him a private message asking that we be friends. He responded positively and so we pressed the right buttons and did the right things to do just that become Facebook friends.
I notice him because he had a knack for entertaining himself and those of us watching. He felt good at being watched. He was creative and talented and could always find new ways to show you something new. He was a blast to watch whether it was doing cartwheels or headstands, he was energetic and the snug small speedos he wore were just icing on the cake. Steven Raider was born to wear speedos. They look as natural on him as wings do on a butterfly.
To say I was enthralled psychologically with him is putting it mildly, I have always been analytical person and often curious about why people do the things they do. With Steven Raider, I wanted to know what was his payoff or motivation to (for example) dance with precise, detailed and completely choreographed, perfectly executed version as if rehearsed for hours a Brittany Spears song (Oops… I did it again.) I couldn’t figure out why a muscle bound beefcake like Steve would choose a Britany song to dance to as choreographically intensive as they all tend to be. Which I have to admit at his size and natural masculinity it can’t be an easy task to execute without exposing feminine flare or flourishes. He always pulled it off and they became Youtube sensations and they were constantly appearing in my feed and I watched every time as if it were the first time. You can tell he worked hard to get it perfect. So I often wondered what was he attempting to do, demonstrate his talents in the performance art of dancing? Was he showing off? Was he bored and killing time? I wondered.
Soon, I started to piece clues together. Especially, when he started to sell his yearly calendar, and a few other times I caught on to his mentioning the maker and provider of the bathing suit he was wearing or underwear whichever the case, he would say some obscure individual sent in to him so that he could wear while on camera, and it was at that moment I began to catch on. I started to realize that there was in fact a motive behind everything he did. Which was to get more and more fans and followers. He was employing one of the basic standard principals of economics: “the cost of something is what you are willing to give up to get it.”
I started to learn at that moment that his gift and passion was to entertain and in return that gave him influence. I thought it was a good deal. Everyone is getting something out of it. He was one of the few people to date that I have ever seen work so hard for every fan, follower or a like. He always tried to outdo himself.
I thought this man is a genius, while I was trading jokes and idiotic stickers with friends and loved ones, Steve Raider was in full commercial business mode; providing entertainment as a means to an end. Every song he lip synced and every dance he did his numbers shot through the roof. Steve had an end goal and a purpose, and I felt at the time his true motivation was to be a star or a social media celebrity of some sort, but definitely if nothing else he was branding himself and name as the best entertainer on Facebook.
I learned a great deal through Steven Raider and although he might not know it watching him lead me right to where I am today. So, I set out to do the same only completely different. I can’t dance, lip-sync, twerk, gyrate or do cartwheels nor would I ever look half as good as he does in a speedo. So I set out to find my own style of distinguishing myself and honestly without his talent I expected a long rocky-road ahead. With no speedos and no dance moves to speak of it wasn’t easy. But my mom seeing me gyrate to Brittany was not an option. Instead, I stepped up my workouts and demanded of myself a picture a day until I connected with an audience.
The process was slow and tedious I remember and I thought without a speedo or a wiggle this will be tough. So, I came up with a compromise and decided to go shirtless for my selfie a day in an attempt to acquire a bigger following.
My rationalization for this quest for popularity was never for adulation. As a matter of fact, anyone who truly knows me, will tell you that I hate to be photographed, I detest undue, unwarranted attention. My reaction even at my age to a compliment is an inevitable and ever so embarrassing blush that overcomes my face, so evidently that close friends who know me well will pay me a compliment simply to watch the blush manifest. However, I knew there was commercial value to what Raider was doing and I wanted a piece of it.
So, three years later, many giggles behind my back, many jokes at my expense, thousands of selfies, six Facebook jail sentences later, and countless pop-psychologist’s diagnosis’ or just plain rude and evil, shaming and name calling or comments I started to see some success.
However agonizing it was have it because you name it I heard it. I was made fun of and called everything under the sun from vain, egocentric, delusional, crazy all the way to the unavoidable word we all face when trying to achieve influence, mostly by ignorant people who don’t even understand the meaning of the wretched word that they love to throw around at anyone who dares to do something different, I’d inevitably hear the word NARCISSIST.
The word narcissist is a word that I have come to loathe, and in the same breath I can say with no qualms, I despise those that truly are NARCISSISTIC. But, what I truly detest is the careless misuse of catastrophic clinical terms that should only be used by a medical professionals such as a psychiatrist. Improperly used words by uneducated people are like handing a loaded gun to a baby.
So, to bring the matter of the word narcissism to a close and for those who utter it with disdain you are most probably the narcissist because a narcissist believes one thing completely fictional as a fact, that his or her opinion matters, is the only one that’s right and should be heard at all cost and should be applauded by those hearing him say it. For those who don’t know, I will define it once and for all what it means to be called a narcissist. It means: you are a vain, self-loving, self-adulator, self absorbed, self-centered, self-obsessed, egomaniac with a lack of empathy or regard for anyone other than yourself, with a strong sense of undue entitlement, failing to distinguish the self from external objects and utterly selfish a very undesirable and insufferable to say the least psychological disorder. Really? A selfie a day to build a commercial marketable fanbase, means to others that I am steps away from being a serial killer?
So what was the end result for me trying to emulate Raider or at least follow somewhat in his footsteps? Well, after all that work, withstanding public ridicule, countless hours staring at Facebook, posing for a new and exciting selfie (which unfortunately but honestly they all look the same), I have only achieved a mere 40 thousand followers in all of social media combined. Nevertheless for me I count it as a success. Now if I had a Steve Raider body and talent and only had 40 thousand followers I’d shoot myself but I think I did as good as I could given my limitations.
So, these are the reasons I admire social media celebrities like Steve Raider, Henry Licett, Sam Gee and too many to list but most definitely deserving of a special mention and everyone’s favorite social media gay celebrity is hands-down Eliad Cohen. The reason I do just to be clear if not emphatic is because they were forward-thinking, smart, marketing wizards who caught-on much quicker than I did and did a lot better than I ever could at being a powerful influencer.
They were doing this even back in the day the word Influencer was not yet coined I suppose they knew what it was without knowing it’s name. I respect them because the business of becoming or being an Influencer is no easy task. People don’t fully realize how consuming it is. And, if they understood that you give way more than you take they wouldn’t use the word NARCISSIST again to describe what it is that we do to achieve influencer status, is easy we work at it everyday with consistency, It is nothing but a hard tedious and constant 24/7 job that can suck the life out of anyone with the constant never-ending demands that people make and not to mention, all of the crazies one encounters along the way. Through it all these beforementioned Influencers earned my respect because its not easy, but they stuck it through and now someone like Eliad Cohen, just to mention one, is a wonderful example to many people out there to do positive things with your influence and to grow a brand and name recognition with the less is more mentality and by being kind, compassionate and selfless you can achieve the same results then some who stick to the easier roads. The most paramount objective when deciding to become and influencer is deciding from the beginning what is your end goal as an Ultimate Influencer? What is the objective?
With Raider I learned a great deal, he will always be the guy who unknowingly (until now) and inadvertently was my mentor and I his protégé on the beginners road to becoming a successful Ultimate Influencer. Albeit, in my own very distinct, tailored to my personality with whatever gifts I have or lack thereof but definitely in a no speedo-wearing or Brittany-dancing nor butt- gyrating while lip-syncing to her songs kind of way.