Our alumna Miisa Grekov: Speech communication studies are valuable capital for a professional performer
Performing felt natural to Miisa Grekov even as a child. To her, a camera has always been a friend around which she feels comfortable. Her casual and relatable appearance is undoubtedly one of the reasons behind her success over the years.
“I’ve been happy to receive compliments about a certain calmness in my performance, and my clear and unhurried speaking. Some even say that I appear to be more natural in front of the camera than in person,” Miisa says.
At the moment, Miisa’s main occupation includes content creation for Instagram and YouTube. In recent years, she has also been seen increasingly on Finnish TV, in shows such as Dancing with the Stars and Masked Singer, and as the presenter of the Finnish Project Runway.
Miisa works through her one-woman company, supported by her two managers and occasional freelance videographers and editors. For the most part, however, she still manages all content creation herself, from ideation and planning to filming, editing and publication.
“My work is actually quite lonely, but on the other hand, one of the best things about it is also its freedom. I get to hold the reins and be my own boss. I still get invaluable inspiration from other people, such as my two managers who are experienced, long-term professionals in the music business. From time to time, I also work together with my spouse,” Miisa says.
Mediated interaction with the audience
Miisa finds her work as an influencer and content creator to be demanding but also highly fulfilling. The work requires the ability to manage large concepts, understand different platforms and carefully take in each target group at hand. You also need to be willing to expose yourself to an extent.
“To me, social media are a platform for self-expression. I was eighteen and quite shy when I embarked on this work, and I hadn’t quite found myself yet. Through social media, I found a community and also myself in a way. I feel that we have formed a group of friends with my followers, a group with which we can keep in touch and sometimes even throw a few inside jokes around,” Miisa says.
Miisa describes her job description as mediated interaction with the audience. Her relationship with her followers has become friendship-like and, with some of them, resembles siblinghood. At the same time, Miisa feels responsible for her community. Built over a period of a decade, the community feels like a crown jewel to her.
The flip side of being a content creator and influencer is that the work is also consuming and presses you to give a lot. In such open and public work, you cannot avoid exposing yourself to criticism, speculation and negative feedback. At the same time, the work requires a lot of creativity, continuous conceptualisation and new ideas. Miisa admits to feeling quite drained at times.
“I’m quite dutiful by nature, which means that it is sometimes hard for me to draw the line between work and leisure. When the going gets tough, I’ve learned to focus on my own community. It is always there to give me valuable support,” she says.
Speaking as a passion
Born and raised in the small town of Keuruu in Central Finland, Miisa lived on her social media work even before starting university studies. She wanted to apply for speech communication studies in Tampere as the study contents sounded interesting to her and she was keen to learn more about human interaction specifically. She remembers feeling exhilarated when she heard about her admittance, and to Tampere, in particular.
”Tampere University has long traditions in media and communication studies. I found the studies to be fantastic, and nowadays I also recommend them to my followers when they ask about studying. They gave me a good conception of interpersonal communication. In fact, it would be great if everyone had the opportunity to complete these studies,” Miisa says with a smile.
To Miisa herself, it had been obvious since she completed her upper secondary school that her future work would have to do with communication. If she didn’t do what she currently does, she might have become a journalist in a newspaper or on radio.
”With hindsight, I must admit that at the application stage and early into my studies I didn’t thoroughly understand what speech communication fundamentally is. I experienced a great enlightenment at the bachelor stage and my comprehension deepened further during master’s studies. Speech communication became a passion for me,” Miisa says.
Miisa finds her teachers to have played a major role in boosting her enthusiasm. She warmly praises Tuula-Riitta Välikoski, for example, who supported her social media research during bachelor studies, and at the master’s stage, Professor Pekka Isotalus, in particular.
”Pekka Isotalus had studied parasocial relationships in traditional media in the 1990s and encouraged me to study them in the social media context. I wrote my thesis on the topic, and later we also co-wrote an article on it with Pekka,” Miisa says.
One of the most valuable things about the education for Miisa is that it allowed her to study her long social media work through speech communication studies. The lessons learnt are now reflected in her working style and how she listens to other people, and they also affect her other everyday human encounters.
”I gained great resources for my current work through speech communication studies. They gave me valuable knowledge of how to perform, interact and argument, and also on how speech communication can be taught. All this is capital that not everyone has,” Miisa concludes.
Who: Miisa Grekov, Mmiisas
Education: Master of Arts, Speech Communication 2015–2020
Work: Content creator, influencer and media communication professional, Mmiisas Oy
Quote: ”Communication is everywhere. My tip to current communication students is that you should reflect on your personal interests together with your studies. Think about what feels inspiring and interesting to you personally, and you’re sure to find your own path and research topics.”
Text: Tiina Leivo