14 Days of Love Day 4: Staying Mindful When Idolizing Influencers

Ava Stuzin, News Editor

In the age of social media, society follows the beliefs and practices of those it idolizes. Influencers and celebrities tend to emerge after going viral for a short video or picture on social media and have an instant, powerful grip on people. Many quickly begin to fall in love with their content, even aspiring to be like them after seeing their impractical, perfect lives through a screen.

Many people enjoy watching short clips of these so-called “influencers” showing a day in their life, which is often unrealistic and sometimes in collaboration with popular brands. Such brands can reach their target demographic and market to them directly due to the posting of the influencer. Influencer marketing enables companies to interact directly with consumers who believe that if the influencer enjoys the product, they will too. These influencers are effective businesses that make an income by retaining a following and creating engaging content. 

Through this marketing technique, when one sees their favorite influencer wearing a “trendy” article of clothing it is more probable for one to buy the same piece of clothing or at the very least visit the retailer’s website. This is the case because of human nature, as one idolizes these individuals one wants to try and adopt their lifestyle and make it their own. However, none of these people’s lives are ideal in reality; social media just shows one what they want to see, not the whole picture.

Why do humans admire this content so much, though? Social media influencers, at the heart of it, are content creators, and people are content consumers. To feel like we belong, we feel a need to be aware of what others are doing. Influencers are able to create a story through their posts; we want to see the next post like we want to watch the next episode of our favorite television show.

These social influencers can influence the way their followers interact with one another. For instance, social media influencers have the power to persuade their followers to engage in positive activities within their community such as taking part in community service. However, followers can also be influenced into partaking in negative behaviors including cyberbullying. The power one can hold over another, especially the youth, needs to be heavily looked after and one must stay mindful and aware of the consequences of social media interactions.

When one is attracted to these ideals, no matter how unrealistic, the individual tends to view these “micro-celebrities” as better than themselves or of higher status. Often, our perception of someone reaches a point where the person has become perfect and can do no wrong in our eyes. When an influencer gets “canceled,” or does something that goes against their public image, most are shocked and can not believe why they would act so differently than the character they exude..

Most notably, popular Youtuber David Dobrik and his friend group, “The Vlog Squad,” underwent accusations of non-consensual acts and assault back in 2021. Many were surprised by these accusations and could not believe their favorite social media star could ever do such an act. Regardless of how shocking, these “influencers” are just regular people and should not be treated any differently based on their popularity or the number of followers they have.

It is important to remember that this act of having a fake internet persona does not apply to all influencers. Some stay genuine both on and off camera and have not been forced to change themselves for fame. Those who do not stay true to themselves and act differently for content, on the other hand, must be held accountable. In all, society has work to do as well and must recognize that these are real people, not perfect beings immune from wrongdoing.