A Colonial Forge News Publication

The Talon

A Colonial Forge News Publication

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A Colonial Forge News Publication

The Talon

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The Influencer Effect

The Influencer Effect

In the 2000s, stars like Britney Spears and well-known Disney Channel actors set the golden standard for pop culture trends. During the beginning of the 2010s, there was a shift in power from those big-time A-list stars to YouTubers. Icons like Bethany Mota, Alisa Marie, and many others began to set the trends in this new era of pop culture. Now that we’re in the age of social media influencers, true to their title, hold the most influence over us.

We are now on our phones more than ever before, which has allowed these influencers to strengthen their hold over us, whether we love it or hate it. TikTok influencers are most commonly associated with the issue. Both influencers and TikTok as a company work together to create the ultimate cycle to make you think less and listen to your favorite influencer more, the increased usage of people and the ever-popular TikTok shop being a perfect example.

If you have done this, I don’t blame you. If you are so astonished that people on social media who we have never met before can hold so much power over us. Social media has made it so that anyone can be a star making influencers so different from the fame we have seen in the past.

Popstars had to be able to at least sing or dance. YouTubers had to be creative enough to come up with new video ideas because nothing tops 2014 YouTube vlogs, but now, social media influencers have to do practically nothing to go viral.

We used to be memorized by celebrities’ impressive talents, but now we are obsessed with social media influencers who just record themselves talking about whatever they want, and people eat it up.
While I am not discrediting the work influencers do to make their content, they have it much easier thanks to the popularity of social media. Now, they can sit down and make a ¨Get Ready With Me¨ or a clothing haul, or just lip sync to a song, and their fans go crazy for it.

TikToker, Alix Earle, for example, amassed a following of 6 million followers on TikTok by being a relatable college girl. People, including me, were obsessed with her just living her life and posting about it. In a sense, it was refreshing to see someone get so big by just being themselves.

Now, if Alix Earle posts a product she likes, it is instantly sold out in seconds. People race to her Amazon storefront link the second she posts about something, whether that be clothes, makeup, or literally anything else.
Once, she posted a video talking about the attachable light she uses in her videos, and ever since then, that light has been coined by people on TikTok as “The Alix Earle Light”. If you search “Alix Earle Light” on Amazon, the exact one she uses will come up.

Charli D’Amelio had one of the biggest rises to fame we have seen on TikTok in a long time in 2020. She became so big that she collaborated with the chain Dunkin’ and even got her makeup brand. She had tweens begging their mothers to buy makeup and her signature drink.

Influencers have the power to make people spend absurd amounts of money just so they can have the same thing as their favorite influencer. Most of the time, these are things that people have no actual need for. We have all fallen victim to buying something because we saw it on social media and it does not live up to the hype. It’s the worst thing ever.

This overall contributes to a bigger problem of overconsumption of things that we just don’t need to have. When we purchase things that we don’t need because we were influenced by social media, we end up buying way too much.
I think it’s time that we slowly start releasing ourselves from the hold of the social media influencer, for the benefit of all of us, especially for my debit card.

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About the Contributor
Ruth Chung, Media Manager
Ruth is a first-year writer for the Talon and social media manager. She is a varsity cheerleader and outside of school enjoys eating Chipotle, reading, and obsessing over the Kardashians, obviously. 
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