If you told someone back in 2010 that Youtube, a website where one can do nothing but watch cat videos, and Instagram, a newly launched social media app nobody had heard about, could be someone’s source of income, they definitely wouldn’t have believed it. Fast forward to 2020, there is no shortage of so called “influencers” who make more money within a month, than most people will ever make at their day jobs (sad, but true). Anyone who has a platform and an audience who’ll listen to them can be deemed as an influencer, and it is a much sought after career nowadays.It is no surprise that the present day youth is gravitating towards creative and flexible digital occupations. They get to do what they love and not have their lives dictated by anyone, and the rising relevance of social media has made it possible. It is even common for people to drop out of school or quit their jobs to pursue social media.
However there is nothing inherently wrong with having a platform to express your views and talk about your life, no matter how peculiar it sounds. If used correctly, a large platform can make a huge difference. It can be used to educate the people about what’s right and what’s wrong, as well as to throw light to important issues at hand. The problem arises when these platforms are used in the wrong way. With a massive outlet and huge audience comes the great responsibility of recognising your influence and using it the proper way to educate the masses about the right thing, no matter how difficult it may be. Sadly, many choose to go the easy way than the right way. Recently, I have seen a massive surge in clothing hauls on Youtube. Not only do these videos provide free advertising to fast fashion brands, but also promote reckless spending habits on stuff one doesn’t even need. Similarly, content creators whose audiences are predominantly young kids, end up ingraining harmful ideas like disrespectfulness, and sometimes even racism and misogyny in them, which is extremely damaging.
The recent Black Lives Matter movement has shown us that many of these influencers don’t actually care about issues at hand, they just see them as an opportunity to display themselves as woke to the audiences. I can think of hundreds of people who posted one black square on their profiles in solidarity with black lives matter, and then went back to their regular posting schedules, instead of maybe talking more about it and raising awareness about why the movement is necessary. Many of them even showed up at protests just to get their photos taken, showing that this grave and important issue at hand was nothing more than a trend for them.
Every rose has its thorn. If someone wants to be an influencer for the fame and the money, they have to deal with the hard parts of the job. Having a huge platform is a privilege, one very few have. They should recognise their privilege, and use it in a way which is best for this world, best for humanity.