I have a deep seated hatred for the word “influencer” along with its partner phrase “influencer culture”. It’s all just so fake. How many times have celebrities and pseudocelebrities gotten busted for including the directions from the company they are supposedly promoting out of the kindness of their hearts in their social media posts? It’s laughable. Even more laughable are those who refer to themselves as influencers. Much like the term “expert”, if you have to call yourself one, you aren’t. But I digress.
Now, before someone accuses me of anything, yes I do have a badge on my page for an app called Influenster. It’s an app for reviews of all kinds of things, but they focus on health and beauty. I use their app quite a bit for reading reviews on skincare products, and I have posted several reviews of my own there, but all my reviews are on products that I bought and paid for myself. They occasionally send out samples to be reviewed, but have very strict guidelines for ensuring that any reviews of those samples are clearly marked as “paid” reviews”.
This past week we got yet another glimpse into how morally bankrupt the influencer phenomenon truly its. If you didn’t hear, the clothing company J Crew filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. The very next day some popular influencer whose name I neither know nor care announced she would no longer be promoting the brand because they couldn’t afford to pay her any longer.
Did this woman ever actually like J Crew clothes? There’s no way to know. I’m betting in a short time she will find someone other brand to suddenly be the greatest thing since sliced bread. But how can anyone ever trust her now that she was finally honest for a minute and admitted money influenced HER? I certainly couldn’t. Nor could I look at myself in the mirror if I made my living selling myself to the highest bidder. Reminds me a bit too much of another profession.
If you like to follow folks posting cool photos of travel, outfits, candles, whatever, you do you. Your social media feed should be whatever you want it to be. But if that cool person you’re following frequently posts that they found the best (insert whatever here) and provides a convenient link to purchase it, ask yourself- what’s really going on? What’s really true? What’s really for sale?