The Decline of the Influencer
Yasmine Jarmakani, Lifestyle Editor, The Pawprint
In this day and age, it has become more common for people to become influencers. An influencer is defined as “a person with the ability to influence potential buyers of a product or service by promoting or recommending items on social media”. These influencers are not limited to a single social media platform, however, they are more prevalent on some platforms rather than others, most commonly Instagram. There are many types of influencers that vary according to their followers and their content type. The types of content include; beauty, family, blog/vlog and many more. Beauty influencers usually start on YouTube as that type of content is very popular on the site, and it is easily translated into other platforms. There are also influencers who got their popularity via starring in reality TV shows (eg. Love Island).
Origins and Evolution of the Influencer
It is said that influencers have been around since 330 BCE when Roman elites would sponsor gladiators to get people to like them and raise their reputation. By the 1980s celebrity endorsements became extremely popular with many of them becoming the “faces” of various brands, like Michael Jordan for Nike. Nevertheless, modern-day influencers originated from mom bloggers who share tips and recommend products to other moms like Joanna Goddard from the website “Cup of Jo” who started her website back in 2007. Due to their popularity, brands started giving out deals and sponsorships. In the late 2000s, most of the popular social media platforms were created which led to the rise of the influencers we know today.
Becoming and Being an influencer
In 2019, a survey by Lego showed that one-third of children between the ages of 8 and 12 aspired to be vloggers. The same survey also found that children were three times more likely to want to become a vlogger than an astronaut. People watch and follow influencers for a number of reasons. At the time, influencers used to film their videos naturally (ie. not with a set-up or staged environment) which made them more relatable to the viewers. Plus, the ‘natural’ aspect of vlogging allows viewers to get a deeper view into the lives of celebrities.
Influencing has become such a desired career for four main reasons: money, flexible job hours, travelling opportunities, and prestigious lifestyles.
The Dislike of Influencers
In recent years, influencers have been receiving more and more backlash for a number of reasons: only caring about their status and money, being out of touch, believed to be superficial, doing things for views, photoshopping photos… However, many of these ideas are believed to be rooted in misogyny because men who do the same thing aren’t considered influencers. The most common source of backlash is due to influencers not disclosing sponsorships. A controversy of whether or not brand deals are authentic is still being argued and each person’s opinion varies. Since this issue is so prevalent, platforms such as YouTube have included in their community guidelines that all paid promotions and sponsorships need to be disclosed.
The Influencer Decline
A lot of public figures believe that the career of influencing is dying. Most influencers have been active on multiple socials for an average of 10 years, so they have seen the evolution of the career. With the help of the Kardashians and reality shows like Love Island, there was a rapid influencer boom in the mid 2010s. Recently, the content has gotten more repetitive “I think people got bored of sort of the stereotypical Instagram influencer. I think there are only so many times that you can see a minimalist tracksuit [outfit of the day]. This boredom paired alongside people becoming more critical of Instagram influencers also paired with the fact that Instagram completely killed itself as an app has resulted in the death of the influencer or rather the death of the influencer as we know it” (Jordan Therese). Throughout the years, people (both creators and viewers) have been getting tired of the constant drama between content creators. So, a lot of creators and viewers have been discarding their Instagram platforms and switching to Tiktok. The way Tik Tok works is different from other apps; having a following does not necessarily mean you have a fanbase or are popular, which is both positive and negative for these influencers. TikTok has really opened the door to a wide range of influencers, both old and new, due to its accessibility. Tiktok has really changed the influencer space as we know it, maybe for the better, but also maybe for the worse.
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