The Influencer’s Influence 

2+teenagers+sit+on+their+phones%2C+possibly+watching+TikTok+videos+of+their+favorite+influencer.+

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2 teenagers sit on their phones, possibly watching TikTok videos of their favorite influencer.

Vanya Arakelian, Section Editor

The internet and social media “curates” personas for followers to desire and emulate. Culture has been mainly influenced by celebrities and what they do on a daily basis — social media has become everyone’s obsession. People are hungry for more information on the latest scandal between celebrities, or what the newest TikTok star is eating. 

Media culture as a whole has transformed and expanded.Trends like “juice cleanses” or “cutting carbs” become justification for toxicity in weight and health culture. There’s a market for every kind of influencer nowadays. While this expansion of culture has led to other ways to explore interests and to discover something new, it is the vastness of this culture that leads to others wanting to be that “influencer.” 

Social media has now become so romanticized that the idea of a curated life has become extremely toxic. Photoshop and retouching apps such as facetune are being used to edit photos, proving an easy way to “fake it till you make it”. “Making it” however often means that individuals create an alternate version of who they are to present to their online followers. This often leads to disillusionment because once a person acts that way enough, they tend to start believing that is who they really are.

It’s funny how influencers have been rising in popularity over the recent months. It’s a never-ending cycle of inspiration spurring obsession, obsession spurring emulation, and back around again. There is a cycle of trends just as there is a cycle of influencers. 

This web of connections and influencers creates a repetition of trends as well. Everyone begins to post identical videos, and because they begin to trend, the rest of the online community begin to post video after video to the same sound or the same photo dump every month. Media is no longer authentic. The repetition of trends leads to the distortion of diverse media. 

Influencers that skyrocket to fame overnight also have become more widespread and common. Charli D’Amelio, Addison Rae and others’ overnight fame have led to the generalization of internet fame. The distinction between “celebrities” and “influencers” has begun to blur. Addison Rae was shamed for receiving an invite to the Met Gala. Other influencers also received backlash from critics for “not being famous enough” to receive an invitation. 

However, fans became the critics as well, when they began criticizing every move the celebrities made that was not to their liking. The public has now directly inserted themselves into celebrities’ lives, granting themselves the right to have an opinion on how they live their lives. A connection between the celebrity and the fan becomes established, and that connection can become utmost devotion, as well as utmost critique. 

Celebrity culture has now redefined itself into flaunting an enviable lifestyle. Every photo shared is for the enjoyment of others, to receive that validation from those that cannot relate to them. The idea of social media and the culture that surrounds its users, (celebrities and others alike)  becomes ingenuine and forced. 

Similar to Kim Kardashian going to a private island for her birthday during the height of the pandemic, or if it’s TikTok boys throwing ragers in their mansions during the pandemic as well, celebrities have their own trend of “apologizing” for being absolutely tone deaf during situations. As they try to be relatable, it is their extreme amount of wealth and privilege that highlights more of their differences to the general public. 

Social media and the public venerate and glorify celebrities to an unhealthy level. They are held to a certain regard, and the moment that they don’t live up to the expectations their fans had set for them, there is backlash. This endless cycle of editing photos, or throwing parties, or doing things that are “unacceptable” by the public  is indeed a brutal cycle, but it’s also precipitated by the followers and fans. 

People should be more aware of who they follow, and attempt to make their content more curated to their own interests. Try following a body-positivity influencer, or maybe an athlete who inspires you to push yourself to better yourself for YOU, rather than for your followers.