Empowering Social Media Influencers – The Maine Campus
While apps like TikTok and YouTube are often a source of escapism, influencers need to use their platforms to raise awareness of issues like climate change and racial injustice. Whatever their content, influencers are the new role models today.
“Social media is expanding its cultural dominance, people who can lead the conversation online will have the upper hand in any niche they occupy – be it media, politics, business or another domain, a recent New York Times says the article, examining the growing cultural and social power of content creators.
With audiences reaching into the millions, influencers are compelled to learn about national and global issues. While they certainly don’t need to claim to be experts on these topics, using their platform to dialogue is essential.
Big companies recognize the weight of content creator platforms and leverage it to their advantage. “[B]rands are expected to spend $15 billion on influencer marketing in 2022,” Forbes magazine wrote.
Educating means learning about the brands you do business with and the products to promote on your platform. For example, designers who choose to partner with notorious fast fashion company Shein and run $500 runs are essentially encouraging overconsumption in one of the most environmentally degrading industries.
More recently there has been more promotion for Amazon in the form of a virtual storefront. Influencers advertise a product and link it to Amazon on their platforms. Although this method of marketing seems harmless, Amazon is one of the most problematic and harmful companies today. Not only the company fight the unions and create dangerous working conditions for delivery people, but it emits immense amounts of greenhouse gas. Although influence has become the main source of income for some people, knowledge of a company’s history, treatment of its workers and its position on various issues should inform the individual about his decision to stand. associate with the business.
People listen when you have a large audience, and simply choosing not to say anything is a position in itself. Similarly, during the Black Lives Matter protests in 2020, there was considerable dialogue on various social platforms focusing on performative activism. Posting a black screen – a strategy that initially aimed to educate the wider population about the BLM movement – or mentioning that climate change is bad is not enough; the public can easily ignore one or two posts dealing with social issues. Promoting small businesses, advocating for policy changes through the vote, and demanding that subscribers do the same will bring change. Making petitions and educational links easily accessible to the public is another step influencers can take to show a true ally, whether it’s for climate, racial injustice or even the current Ukraine crisis.
Although the responsibility seems daunting, influencers need not be held back by the cancel culture if they show genuine interest in maturing. Training takes time. Invest in an influencer who actively cares about our future and uses their platform to show that they can encourage their followers to follow suit.
The relationship between subscribers and content creators is deeply intertwined. If an influencer fails to educate themselves, the consumer must take the initiative to empower the creator while becoming familiar with current issues; content creators aren’t the only source of education for their subscribers. Ultimately, it’s the follower who decides a content creator’s success, and by following an influencer, consumers choose to support their brand.