In my opinion, influencers have become the most important people in our generation. Social media platforms such as TikTok, YouTube and Instagram have accumulated a large amount of followers. In particular, TikTok influencers have recently become the most popular. For example, Charli D’Amelio, Addison Rae and Noah Beck are some of the most popular influencers on TikTok. Recently, an article claimed that Addison Rae was the highest paid influencer of 2020, making a total of 5 million dollars (Just Jared, 2020). That begs the question; what is an influencer and what qualities do you need to become one?
The dictionary definition of an influencer is “a person or thing that influences another”. From a marketing standpoint it is defined as, “a person with the ability to influence potential buyers of a product or service by promoting or recommending the items on social media” (google dictionary). The latter definition fits the influencers of today, who promote products that they know will be appealing. This leads to another important question; are influencers worth the hype and do they deserve the attention of millions of people?
In my opinion, many of them do not deserve the popularity they have, because they don’t promote anything useful. They do not speak up or educate their viewers on real societal injustices and issues, and they don’t pose as good role models. Additionally, many of them do not actually have a talent that is worth so much praise. Of course, there are some talented people who do eventually get the recognition they deserve, but most of the time this isn’t the case.
During the pandemic, influencers on social media have been promoting disrespectful measures by going out with friends, travelling and partying. This is an example of the primary issue of the privilege that these famous TikTokers have.
At the beginning of this year, the D’Amelio sisters and their friends decided to take a trip to the Bahamas, in the middle of a pandemic. They obviously faced backlash for this careless decision, mostly from people concerned for our health and safety. However, there were also some really angry people that threatened them for being negligent towards COVID measures. Hate is not acceptable towards anyone and should be discouraged, but constructive criticism should always be encouraged.
When faced with questions regarding the trip, Noah Beck responded with selfish, thoughtless comments about how the influencer lifestyle is very difficult. He also mentioned that they “needed a moment to get away” (Pap Galore), claiming that their trip was necessary. He followed up by saying that they took all precautionary measures needed and made sure to travel by private jet. That right there is the epitome of rich privilege during a global pandemic.
Additionally, a common excuse for these “influencers” is that they got tested the day before or the day of a party. The truth about testing is that you cannot rely on a single negative test because of several reasons, the first being that a test may come back as falsely negative. The second problem is the fact that you could easily get infected straight after testing. You can contract the virus at any time and then spread it to several people. Lastly, COVID tests are needed for essential workers and frontline doctors, not for influencers going on vacation, as there is a limited number of tests.
Some influencers have urged their viewers to stay at home, in order to limit the spread of this virus. However, they then turned around and did the exact opposite. Not all influencers have this approach, though. For example, influencers like Bryce Hall claim that they are not role models, which is a very interesting point of view, since you cannot have millions of people watching your every move and then take no responsibility but reap all the benefits. The fact that influencers use their wealth and notoriety to excuse or account for their actions is scary and manipulative. I urge you to think about who you give your support to, because most of these ‘’influencers” do not deserve it.
An opinion piece by Ioana Hárátau (MAM S5ena)