There once was a time when the phrase “under the influence” was synonymous with drinking or drugs. But there’s a new worrisome trend that has gripped us and is only tightening its grasp, Social Media. We watch them, we think we know them, we think we can trust them, but can we? Are you under the Social Media influence?
The Social Media Influence
When was the last time you bought something after seeing it on Snapchat or Instagram? We all remember the Penneys Star Dress that Pippa O’Connor shared last year. It flew out of stores as quickly as Pippa pressed post. Influencers or Bloggers have the ability to sell practically anything with one Snap or Instagram post. No wonder brands are lining up to work with them. The social media influence is real.
There once was time when the blogging industry was fairly innocent. It was full of people posting dodgy pictures on their bed and talking about things they genuinely loved without a fee involved. Fast forward to 2017 and blogging has turned in to a multi-million euro business. And that’s great. There are some truly wonderful, interesting and hardworking bloggers and influencers out there, but some are just looking for a quick buck.
Some Influencers have held their ground and stated that they do not receive payments to talk about products on Social Media. They just share their genuine opinions, but others are being a bit more shady. Some “Influencers” have been accused of recommending products that they have been covertly paid for. In some instances they might not even know anything about the product that there are promoting.
As one media insider points out it’s becoming increasingly easier to pick out what bloggers are being sent as part of a marketing strategy by companies. Ever logged onto Snapchat to see a number of your favourites all talking about a new Naked palette or a new amazing mascara as part of their “blogger mail”? Yep, they’ve all been sent it and because they’re only opening it on camera they’ve never even tried it. But it’s effective marketing. It makes us want it for ourselves.
What You See Isn’t Always What You Get
So much goes into an Instagram snap that you don’t see. As the industry has grown so has the money that’s being invested in to it. Those celebs have a team of makeup artists, stylists and photographers on hand to curate the perfect “gram. So holding yourself to those standards is the worst idea in the world. There’s also a lot of photoshopping and an excessive amount of filters being applied to photos. Some celebs have gotten called out on it, but they continue to do it.
And it’s not just celebrities. A large number of top influencers now travel with their own photographer. If you think that they’re merely snapping an image quickly on their iPhones you’re mistaken. They also have makeup artists and a team on hand. This has led to unrealistic expectations especially when they try to curate the “we’re just like you” image to fans.
Youtuber Amelia Liana faced a huge backlash earlier this year over accusations that she doctored photographs on her Instagram that did not reflect the location she was actually in. Case in point her picture from the Taj Mahal. Our editor Dani visited India in 2016 and can say the Taj is in no way how she showed it. Despite the backlash a quick glance at Amelia’s Instagram account today shows images continue to look majorly altered.
The Dark Side
There’s been a big push back in recent times about people only showing the good on Social Media. But of course people are only going to post the positive. Who can really blame them? But you need to remember that they are just people too. That one picture is not an entire representation of their life. There’s also another dark undertone to social media.
With constant access fans begin to feel a bit too involved an entitled to know everything. “The problem is people start to feel like they know theses people that they follow online. they start to feel like they are friend. And although that can be comforting often people start to project on them and the lines between online and offline become blurred”. Worryingly Youtube power couple Zoella and Alfie have had to repeatedly ask fans to stop standing around outside their house. There are boundaries that should just not be crossed.
The Social Media influence can also have a dangerous effect. Although it’s impressive that Kylie Jenner has made more than 400 million through her hugely popular lip kits she has also spawned a number of worrying trends. The Kylie lip challenge spread like wildfire a few years ago. Teens were using shot glasses to make their lips appear similar to Kylie’s and then they uploaded the results to social media. It was ridiculous, especially considering Kylie gets costly lip injections to give her that desired trout pout. The “challenge” quickly went viral and teens across the world jumped to be part of it. For some people it ended very badly and left them disfigured and scarred. But the Kylie obsession didn’t end there. Plastic Surgeons in Ireland have reported a huge increase in young teen patients arriving in their office with pictures of the Kardashians. We kid you not.
Changes Are Coming
Regulations are now being brought in to try reign in “Influencers” and to try make it more transparent for viewers. Earlier this year top Irish “Influencer” Faces by Grace was reprimanded by the Advertising Standards of Authority (ASAI) for promoting a tea product on social media without disclosing her involvement with the company clearly. Rules have been issued by the ASAI to say that any paid-for content posted by bloggers or influencers must be clearly marked. They must use #spon or #ad in each post. But still some Social Media Influencers are continuing to be deceptive and are pretending that they bought the products themselves.
So, how do you get yourself out from under the Social Media influence? Hard as it may be sometimes it’s best to take a step back and assess if a product is really worth it. Have a look for some other reviews. We certainly don’t begrudge anyone making blogging their own career especially if its #goals and full of make-up and traveling, but as consumers you need to be aware and savvy about what you buy into and what you allow to influence you. Especially when it comes to long term effects such as seeking to alter your appearance.
Let us know your thoughts below!