The species called "Influencer":
An Influencer recently put it out in the world that the news regarding Covid-19 is rightfully taking a toll on her mental health. So we; as in the general public should just stop talking about anything sad that stems out of Covid. The general public should have ignored such stupid opinions, should have. Instead, the girl was trolled and has since become a meme. Ladies and gentleman the result of every public discourse is a meme.
Every public discourse now involves a new species of humans that social scientists have since their first appearance termed as “Influencer”. Social scientists assure that the similarity of the word with a viral infection is limited to how they sound. Also, because there is no instrumentation to measure the damage done by the continuous presence of “Influencers”. For now, we have to assume that they are, for the lack of a better word, ‘inert’.
Can influencers be held accountable ?:
We the general public by now know the defining characteristics of an influencer; a body image that sets the standard for insecurity and unattainability, a parasitical hunger for social validation, really low presence of any semblance to a value system or a moral code and the tendency to associate oneself with similar personalities. And yet brands pay them to sell us their products and most of us buy the stuff influencers end up selling.
And since I have been given a note to include examples in my articles, I’d like to cite my own. I bought eco-friendly haircare products that an influencer was selling. Surprise, hair is still falling.
So, the question arises when we know the apparent scam that is going on why do we still buy into it? And when we do, do we retain our right to question and criticize said influencers?
The answer lies somewhere in between the phrases “this is a complex discussion” and “Eh..”. That’s where we are as a society, do we want to dedicate ourselves and our binge-time towards debating the complexities of a celebrity and influencer worship culture or do you want to crack a joke at their expense and call it a day?
Influencers are bad, yes and we do have a role to play but we as consumers are the last to appear in this capitalistic cycle of affirmative panderings instead of actions.
Yes, the writer is aware of the self-aware commentary. No, you can’t call him narcissistic. Yes, I’m sure.
Money for notoriety, money for goodwill:
The headline of this article signifies, possibly the ethical dilemma that influencers face, possibly. Which is the simplest sense is, do they stop selling themselves so much and tell their story or do they just continue doing it?
Relevance is the name of the business and to stay relevant in the current six-hour news cycles you need to be putting out a lot of content. And that’s what the Influencer's don’t have a lot of. Even the OTT platforms are suffering from a case of let’s just say less than quality content, and influencers are just people without any offices for standard & practices or quality checks. Some of the influencers are also one person run operations. How well are they to run is a question that we’ll refrain from asking. To be relevant you need to put out content, that’s it. The longer you bombard the apathetic public that follows you with constant reminders of you with content on their feed, you stay relevant. And then they get brand deals so we can see more content and so on.
At the end of the day, the question remains, is it a philosophical question though?
Let’s operate under the assumption that Influencers, not one, not two, a major chunk of them decide to change themselves and just tell the story using the platform and not sell themselves out then it leads to one of two scenarios.
The first being a new kind of influencer, who is socially responsible with words and with the brands. We have those now too. Some of them are even celebrities who do not endorse or sign brands that they do not use or stand against their ideals. These influencers also sell themselves, there is no telling here either.
The second is the realization that as a society we have moved on from being a work-oriented society to a validation chasing society. We need validation either for or against for us to be able to work. The code you wrote, the food mom made, the struggles dad faced and the new shirt your brother is wearing everything needs to be appreciated in today’s world. Before social media, you’d do it once a week, now you need to do it every second and you need that to happen to you too.
Social validation is not only the currency of our times but also our motivation.
That is the problem and we have to realize that and work to resolve it as soon as possible cause that may be the real metaphorical Influenza.
Yes, the article is a bit rude, it’s an opinion, do forgive him for having one.