In this generation of influencers, a culture of being blindly followed has emerged. While a 2019 report says that almost 45 per cent of the world population is engaged in social media accounts, with this high rate of users, lots of problematic content does its rounds.
Some ‘lame’ and dangerous trends continue being in talk and are re-made with zeal; it affects the teens into being pushed in an exposed set-up.
So, to sit and think if the influencers are really influencing us, what is it to be in the age of influencers, and how is it affecting us?
Are We New To This “Influencing” Thing?
We have always grown to love the celebrity influencing era, where Rahul’s style from KUCH KUCH HOTA HAI was a trendy bid and his very not-so-cool ‘Cool’ necklace was a rage, Salman Khan’s body being mens’ fashion statement to Poo’s famous outfits being every girl’s dreams, we have always been somewhat ‘influenced.’
Even today, famous international celebrities like Ariana Grande, Billie Eilish, Kylie Jenner, Harry Styles, etc., are seen to be among the most efficacious influencer types.
So to say, we have always been in the age of influence, but the medium was a bit different.
What Is The Difference Today Then?
While the celebrity influencers have always lived in a superficial world where their fame and budget are out of reach for the ‘regular’ population, the craze was not something to worry about. Sometimes, their movie or TV series characters were mimicked and followed, like teenage girls being influenced by movies like Mean Girls, She’s the man, etc.
But the influencers today are REAL people like us (not that the celebrities are not real people, they are), we care to RELATE to their NORMAL lifestyle, because a few months ago, they too were living a basic life, LIKE US. So it becomes easier to relate to them and hence easier to TRUST them.
The Good Things About The Age Of Influencers
First things first, we have someone we relate to. They are of our age; they do daily, mundane tasks like us (at least they portray so), and they talk like us. These are also basic traits of celebrities, but it isn’t as feasible to relate to their lifestyle because they are too FAMOUS.
When they talk about things that should be discussed, we talk too, like sexual assault, menstruation, masturbation, sex education, body positivity, etc. These things start to get openly discussed. Hence influencers manage to spread awareness if they want to.
The Bad Things About The Age Of Influencers
Getting influenced is okay, right? As long as we are being influenced about the right things. But do we understand the difference between right and wrong?
First, let us discuss the threats to the influencers themselves. Today, many ‘influencers’ are also under 18, and their over-exposure to media could be subject to dangerous situations.
It is very usual for famous people on social media to receive brutal hatred, comments, trolling, etc. The ones with a more mature outlook will be able to handle it with a certain subtlety, but the younger influencers might be swayed, and hence it could also stir their daily lives and mental health.
When speaking of the audience, it is possible for the younger mass to get quickly impacted by specific negative approaches made by the influencers. Certain trends like the objectification of people, harsh and abusive language, or road-rage videos could be hailed with tags like ‘cool’, ‘sassy’, ‘savage’, etc. In the lockdown period, many apparent ‘influencers’ were seen to violate the instructions given by the government, like not wearing masks and travelling. This sends out a wrong message to their followers.
There are various more examples to point out and every new invention has some sort of frauds or negativity that it carries. Such is the case with the age of influencers. So be an intelligent person and draw the line between the good and bad following. Don’t let yourself be manipulated.