Influencers

According to Merriam Webster dictionary, an influencer is “a person who inspires or guides the actions of others”.  An influencer is more commonly known as an individual who has the power to affect the purchase decisions of others because of his/her knowledge, position or relationship with his/her audience. Over the last decade, we have seen social media grow rapidly in importance.  According to the August 2017 Global Digital Statshot, 3.028 Billion people actively use social media – that’s 40% of the world’s population. They might not be celebrities in the traditional sense, but they are very popular.

Everyone on Instagram seems to look the same these days. Same selfie angles, same captions, and maybe the same plastic surgeon, too. Instagram’s top 100 are mostly female, white and English speaking — and more than a third reside in the Los Angeles area. Are social media influencers making young teens feel like they need to be perfect too? We need to teach young girls that they do not need to be skinny, white, and rich to be perfect in their own way.

8th grader Sarah Karadzic says that she does not follow anyone who has more than 10K followers. This shows that maybe not all young girls are subject to the norms of social media.  She says that influencers could not change her opinion if she doesn’t like a product, but she would buy something that they recommend. “Sponsored posts from influencers I don’t mind, and I still trust what they’re saying.” From Sarah’s data, it seems like she is not influenced by famous people on Instagram, and she lives her life without caring much about influencers. But, 8th grader Brooklyn Finley has a different opinion. She follows Adam Rutlege and he has 17.2K followers. She says “Yes I would buy things they have and yes I trust them.” She said that they could change her opinion about a product. She has 125 followers on Instagram. She says she also doesn’t care if they do sponsor posts. So, there are already differences between only two girls in our school.

If you can look past the silliness of the whole influencer thing, many influencers are hard at work. Being an influencer can be exhausting, and the people who are good at it have typically spent years working their way up the ladder. Many social media influencers are essentially one-person start-ups. They experiment relentlessly with new types of videos, pay close attention to their channel analytics, and figure out how to distinguish themselves in a crowded media environment — all while churning out a constant stream of new content. Natalie Alzate, a YouTuber with more than 10 million subscribers who goes by Natalies Outlet, is an example of influencers who treats their online brand-building as a business rather than a fun hobby. Four years ago, when Natalie Alzate first came to VidCon, she was a marketing student with fewer than 7,000 subscribers. She decided to study her favorite YouTubers, watch how they made their videos and then test videos in multiple genres, seeing which ones performed best on her channel.

Companies also consider influencers as serious jobs. A brand may identify an influencer who has a specific audience they’re trying to reach, and pay to appear on their social media feeds in the same way they’d previously have paid for magazine advertisements. The buzz surrounding influencers has led to major media companies taking them very seriously indeed.

In conclusion, influencers are the new type of celebrities in this day in age. Many young adults look up to them and will buy things they suggest. They are a serious business partner in companies’ eyes, and they work hard to make good new content. Are influencers a good or a bad thing in our community?

 

Works cited

“Influencer.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/influencer. Accessed 26 Feb. 2020.