Let’s be real, influencer culture is anything but authentic. In a world that is so wrapped up in social media, why should we be letting people in an entirely different situation tell us what to do with our lives? We should be encouraging individuality, creativity, and free spirits– not uniformity and complacency to social expectations. We aren’t in high school anymore. We aren’t breaking ourselves up into little lunch table stereotyped groups. At least, we shouldn’t be anymore. So why are we still letting other people tell us who to be?
The thing about this culture is that it has a negative impact on people mentally. You see somebody your age look prettier, richer, more fit, more happy and think, what am I doing wrong? You start to question your own self-worth, beating yourself up for not having your life more together. What these accounts don’t show you, though, is the ugly parts of life that happen in between the picture-perfect posts. They don’t show you the days they don’t go to the gym and sit on the couch all day, or the days they get into a fight with their best friend. They don’t show you the times where they’re worried about making ends meet that week. They are so busy putting on the facade that their life is perfect, that they forget to live it. They are so wrapped up in their little alternate universe that they don’t remember to appreciate the little things. Is that the kind of person you want to look to as a role model?
Certainly, not all influencers are the same, and there are many out there who do not succumb to these fake social standards. If you pay attention to these individuals, then by all means enjoy their content. When scrolling through your feed though, ask yourself what is really genuine, and don’t get caught up on comparing your life to the one they are showing you.
Influencers would not be given a platform if people did not find positives in them. What those positives are may vary, but I truly believe every influencer has something to offer. Why else would people follow them?
I look at my own Tik Tok and Instagram feeds and recognize there is a common theme with the people I choose to follow. They all travel a lot and go to fancy brand events and have far more material possessions than I could ever dream of, but in a weird way, this content motivates me.
I think that on social media, messaging is really important, especially for those with a platform. I also think the positive messaging I see on social media is part of the reason why I am so motivated by certain user’s content. On the exterior, we see influencers flexing skin care routines and using their gorgeous kitchens to cook breakfast, but oftentimes within that content are influencers promoting healthy habits. It's not just skin care and meal prep for them, it's an opportunity to show that self love is important, which I think is where many people go wrong in their assumptions of influencer culture. People can promote positive messages while living any lifestyle, we just put ourselves in different brackets than we do influencers because their resources seem unattainable. In reality, most of these influencers are people our age who think like-minded ways.
I also think social media as a platform gets stigmatized because of all the negativity through hate comments and cancel culture. I don’t think many people choose to see the value in social media because of those factors, and I think influencer culture gets looped in with that. I don’t think people see a balance between a career centralized on social media and genuine intentions, creating an unwillingness to take influencers seriously.
At the end of the day, influencers are people we have given a platform because they are likable to some extent. I do not think it is fair to turn around and say those same people create a harsh culture without acting like we are a part of creating that culture as well. I do not even find that is the case most of the time. I truly think influencers have a lot to offer if we take the time to listen to them and what they have to say.