Friday, February 03, 2023 | Rajab 11, 1444 H
clear sky
21°C / 21°C

Who wants to be an influencer?

If you have travelled recently, you would have booked your hotel through a website, and most likely, you read the reviews written by previous travellers who stayed there and shared their impressions. These comments may affect your decision about staying at a specific place, which is just one example of how reviews from other customers influence our choices. Businesses have realised the importance of reviews and therefore started sending surveys to collect feedback and respond to their comments.

As humans, we are more likely to follow others' choices. Therefore, we hear about terms such as "best seller" when buying books, for example, and "signature dish" when ordering food at a particular restaurant. More recently, we saw the rise of a new form of advertising when people with no specific skills or qualifications become influencers through social media platforms. This is an exciting concept as, up to my knowledge, there are no precise specifications of who can be an influencer and what is exactly their role. Understandably we see people from different age groups and social backgrounds trying hard to achieve influencer status.

Let's think closer about what could motivate such people to spend hours recording their daily routines or perform pointless challenges and silly dances. We come up with a list of factors, wanting to be rich and famous come at the top of the list, especially since such influencers become targeted by businesses to help market their products. Gone are the days when models of a specific gender, age, and body shape are used for advertising cars or beauty products.

Getting into advertising "feeds" in the influencer's initial behaviour, yet sometimes the situation goes beyond that. It is not uncommon that chasing fame becomes a form of addiction, and the “likes” and comments some post to such activities trigger.

Dopamine, the brain chemical responsible for motivation and happiness, which means “likes”, has the same effects as cocaine and other drugs of abuse. This is why people motivated by "likes” to get into a state of withdrawal from their posts did not trigger the desired response. Some experience depression and anxiety, while others experience grief for the fame, they once had. Sometimes an influencer who gets less famous would do anything to get back into the spotlight, either by posting controversial content or creating conflict and arguments with each other.

It can be amusing and exciting for most public members, yet others will eventually lose interest and direct their attention towards new influencers. We all know that impact of influencers does not stop at their dancing and promoting goods, but it goes beyond that. Over the past few years, TikTok and other platforms appear to set out new habits, behaviours and social standers. These ideas are not limited to a particular country since the Internet made the whole world into a small village, which is trending in Europe and America soon becomes a worldwide phenomenon practice in small villages elsewhere.

Needless to say, some of the challenges often posted on this platform are dangerous and can lead to injuries and death. A recent example was a 12-year-old English boy who went into a coma after attempting the breath-holding challenge he saw on TikTok, which eventually damaged his brain. This was just an example, but I am sure there are many other victims of social media challenges that are not always reported. Finally, I think societies should be careful in choosing who to be an influencer and how we let them influence us.

arrow up
home icon