Social influencers stunt societal growth

 Kim Kardashian at the podcast Pretty Big Deal with Ashley Graham in 2018.

Photo Courtesy of Ashley Graham

Kim Kardashian at the podcast Pretty Big Deal with Ashley Graham in 2018.

By Alice Lee, Columnist

Most people are all-too aware of the age-old question, “What do you want to be when you grow up?”

With this inquiry comes the standard set of responses: doctor, astronaut and teacher. While these may have been the common career goals for older generations, a new occupation has entered the job market: social influencing. 

Social influencers are individuals who are paid money in return for posting or advertising certain products on their social media platforms because they are popular and can reach a wide audience.

The scope of influencer marketing has increased dramatically in the last couple of years, with a 325% increase in searches for “influencer marketing” on Google in 2017. Despite quickly becoming a fast-growing industry, social influencers are detrimental to promoting societal growth. 

The essential message behind social influencing revolves around one’s physical appearance or ability to gain a huge following, basically translating to popularity. Society should not encourage kids to aspire to solely rely on their looks and personality in order to make money. 

 “Social influencing” is also something that is most appealing to young people who are looking for an easy way to make a lot of money. Rather than pursuing higher education or finding other jobs, people are now turning to influencer marketing as a feasible career path. They see how easy life could be, but not how fake it would be. 

Instead of actually contributing to society in a beneficial way, social influencers are worried about simply pushing as many products as they can to get as much money as they can. It’s a “job” that is superficial and vapid, offering nothing for the advancement or improvement of society. 

We are sending the wrong message to children if we uphold social influencers as a respectable or viable career option. Not only are there scandals involving ad posts in which the influencer themselves have not even tried the product, but the idealized social influencer lifestyle is unrealistic and blown out of proportion. 

Building a career out of receiving free stuff and free trips just to say on camera that you would recommend these things may seem like the best life ever. But it’s not real. Social influencers paint a great picture for people, but their lives are not the normal careers we all should seek.

Scrolling through all of the sponsored content and paid vacations on Instagram or Facebook will only make you compare your life to theirs, and real life pales in comparison to an influencer life. But there is no true substance or meaning behind their posts and tweets. Life should be about doing things that actually matter, and that certainly isn’t promoting weight-loss drinks to your three million followers.

Alice is a sophomore in LAS.

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