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  • Writer's pictureHYSTERIA BY GIRLONFILM

THE INTERNET, DE-INFLUENCING, IDENTITY, AND AUTHENTICITY IN A DIGITAL WORLD


In the digital age, the conversation around influencers and their impact on culture and individuality has never been more pertinent. As the trend of "deinfluencing" gains momentum, we explore the nuanced perspectives of various voices within the online community. 





From the critique of the influencer's role in perpetuating capitalist agendas to the call for authenticity in a world saturated with curated perfection, Tatum Jade, Emily Blair, Michelle Layla Goh, Karl Vox, Ninon Varin, and Oliwią Koczorowska’s insights shed light on the complex dynamics of social media influence.


This collection of viewpoints offers insight into the evolving landscape of social media influence. As we navigate through the waves of trends and counter-trends, the conversation around the need for authenticity, the ethical responsibilities of influencers, and the search for identity in a digital age remains crucial. 


Through these reflections, we gain insight into the ongoing discourse on the complexities of interaction in a digital world.



Q. Tell us your thoughts on the death of the influencer/the deinfluencing trend...


@JADEDMADE: "I THINK REMOVING THE “GLAMOUR” OF IT FALLS IN LINE WITH WHAT’S TRENDY RIGHT NOW. WHICH WITHIN THAT IS TRENDY. EVERYONE HAS INFLUENCE IN SOME WAY, IT’S JUST WHAT YOU DO WITH IT. THERE WILL ALWAYS BE INFLUENCERS AND THERE WILL ALWAYS BE FAME. IT’LL JUST HOLD A DIFFERENT TITLE.


@EMKBLAIR: "THROUGHOUT HISTORY, WE HAVE SEEN PROPAGANDA FROM COMPANIES AS WELL AS THE GOVERNMENT.


WE LIVE IN A CAPITALIST SOCIETY, WHERE CORPORATIONS RUN THE WORLD, JUST AS THEY RUN THE INFLUENCER. IT’S DIFFICULT EVEN AS A MORAL PERSON TO TURN DOWN COPIOUS AMOUNTS OF MONEY, OFFERED BY COMPANIES AND CORPORATIONS TO DO SOME THING AS EASY AS POST A VIDEO. WE MAY EVEN THINK THAT WE SUPPORT THAT COMPANY JUST BECAUSE THEY ARE OFFERING US AN OPPORTUNITY. WHEN IN REALITY WE WOULDN’T.


INFLUENCERS ARE BECOMING THE MIDDLEMAN, AND THEY ARE MAKING MORE MONEY FOR A COMPANY THAN THEY ARE ACTUALLY MAKING FOR THEMSELVES. AND THERE IS NO MORAL COMPASS SURROUNDING WHAT WE INFLUENCE OTHERS TO DO BECAUSE IN THE END, OTHERS ARE MAKING A CHOICE TO BELIEVE THE INFLUENCER.


HOWEVER, WHEN THE INFLUENCER HAS CREATED A BRAND FOR THEMSELVES AS A TRUSTING AND FRIENDLY INDIVIDUAL, IT IS VERY MISLEADING TO THE FOLLOWER AND CONSUMER, WHO CHOOSES TO TRUST THEM. WE AS FOLLOWERS, CONSUMERS, AND VIEWERS NEED TO BE ABLE TO BE DOUBTFUL OF ANY INFLUENCER’S WORD. LIVING WITH THIS AMOUNT OF DOUBT IS NO WAY TO LIVE, BUT IN THE SOCIETY THAT WE LIVE IN, WE CAN’T BE AS TRUSTWORTHY AS WE PREVIOUSLY COULD. WE HAVE TO ASSUME THAT EVEN THE MOST TRUSTWORTHY SOURCES COULD POSSIBLY BE A LIE, AND PROPAGANDA OF CAPITALIST GREED."


@VOX.THE.VISITOR: "I THINK IT’S GOOD BECAUSE THE CONCEPT BECAME LESS ABOUT WHAT PEOPLE ACTUALLY LOVED- AND ALL ABOUT WHAT PEOPLE WERE BEING PAID THOUSANDS OF DOLLARS TO SAY THEY LOVED. BE AN INFLUENCER- BUT DON’T BE FULL OF SHIT FOR MONEY. YOUR CREDIT GOES RIGHT OUT THE WINDOW WITH THAT."


@L0LITAK: "WHENEVER I HEAR THE WORD "INFLUENCER" I SEE A FASHION BLOGGER WITH MILLIONS OF FOLLOWERS, POSTING LOTS OF PAID ADS ONTO HER TACKY INSTAGRAM GRID, WITH OVERSATURATED FILTERS. IN REALITY, I WOULD LOVE TO TRAVEL BACK IN TIME TO THE PRIME YEARS OF INSTAGRAM (AKA 2014/2015) WHEN IT TOOK MORE CREATIVITY AND ORIGINALITY TO BE SOMEBODY SPECIAL ONLINE.


TO ME, 2015 WAS THE REAL DEATH OF THE INFLUENCER. IT WAS THE DEATH OF ORIGINALITY AND CREATIVE, EXPRESSIVE FREEDOM.


BACK THEN, BOTH GIRLS AND BOYS WERE MUCH MORE EXPERIMENTAL AND BOLD IN TERMS OF THEIR TRENDS AND IDEAS. INSTAGRAM WAS RUNNING BASED ON ART AND INSPIRATION. THE MORE QUIRKY YOUR INSTAGRAM PROFILE WAS, THE BETTER... WHEREAS NOW WE ALL LOOK AT THE TRENDS, REELS, AND WHAT IS GOING TO BRING US MORE LIKES... MEANING, THAT WE END UP SEEING THE SAME CONTENT AND AESTHETIC OVER AND OVER AGAIN. IT MAKES ME REALLY SAD."


@MIICHELLELAYLA: "I THINK THE DE-INFLUENCING TREND IS A MIXED BAG. ON THE ONE HAND, IT'S IMPORTANT TO HOLD INFLUENCERS ACCOUNTABLE FOR ANY HARMFUL OR UNETHICAL BEHAVIOR.


ON THE OTHER HAND, WE SHOULDN'T THROW THE BABY OUT WITH THE BATHWATER AND ASSUME THAT ALL INFLUENCERS ARE BAD. THERE ARE PLENTY OF INFLUENCERS OUT THERE WHO ARE DOING GREAT WORK AND MAKING A POSITIVE IMPACT, AND WE SHOULD SUPPORT THEM IN THEIR EFFORTS.


AS A MICRO-INFLUENCER MYSELF, I HOPE TO BE A POSITIVE FORCE WITHIN THE INDUSTRY AND TO USE MY PLATFORM TO MAKE A DIFFERENCE IN THE WORLD."


@NIINNONNN: "I NEVER REALLY GOT THE WHOLE INFLUENCER THING TBH… I’M ALL FOR PEOPLE USING SOCIAL MEDIA TO SHARE THEIR ARTS AND CREATIONS, TALENTS, PASSIONS, AND THEIR THOUGHTS. I THINK SOCIAL MEDIA SHOULD BE A PLACE TO SHARE IMPORTANT STUFF, AND I FEEL LIKE WITH THE WHOLE INFLUENCER PERIOD, PEOPLE STARTED TRYING TO BECOME INFLUENCERS AND THAT JUST DOESN'T MAKE SENSE TO ME AND SEEMS WRONG.


WE SHOULD ALL STAY HONEST AND TRUE AND USE SOCIAL MEDIA FOR THE RIGHT REASONS. THEREFORE I DON'T REALLY MIND IT BEING OVER, I JUST DON'T REALLY CARE FOR IT."



Q. Discuss the want/need for authenticity on social media.


@MIICHELLELAYLA: " I FEEL THAT THERE'S A NEED FOR AUTHENTICITY BECAUSE PEOPLE ARE TIRED OF SEEING PERFECTLY CURATED FEEDS AND STAGED POSTS THAT DO NOT REFLECT REALITY. SOCIAL MEDIA USERS TODAY ARE MORE INFORMED THAN EVER BEFORE, AND THEY CAN EASILY DETECT INAUTHENTIC CONTENT. BEING AUTHENTIC ON SOCIAL MEDIA MEANS SHOWING YOUR REAL SELF, INCLUDING YOUR FLAWS, INSECURITIES, AND IMPERFECTIONS. IT MEANS BEING HONEST ABOUT YOUR EXPERIENCES, AND NOT BEING AFRAID TO SHARE YOUR STRUGGLES AND FAILURES. AUTHENTICITY IS NOT ABOUT CREATING A PERFECT IMAGE OF YOURSELF; IT'S ABOUT SHOWING YOUR TRUE SELF TO YOUR AUDIENCE. WHEN PEOPLE SEE OTHERS PORTRAYING A PERFECT LIFE ON SOCIAL MEDIA, IT CAN CREATE THE IMPRESSION THAT EVERYONE ELSE IS LIVING A BETTER LIFE THAN THEM.


HOWEVER, WHEN PEOPLE SEE AUTHENTIC CONTENT, THEY ARE MORE LIKELY TO FEEL CONNECTED AND LESS ALONE IN THEIR STRUGGLES. BEING AUTHENTIC CAN ALSO HELP BUILD A MORE MEANINGFUL RELATIONSHIP WITH OUR AUDIENCE. WHEN YOU SHARE YOUR TRUE SELF ON SOCIAL MEDIA, YOU CREATE A SENSE OF VULNERABILITY AND OPENNESS THAT CAN ENCOURAGE OTHERS TO DO THE SAME."


@VOX.THE.VISITOR: "I DON’T THINK WE’RE THERE YET. NOT EVEN CLOSE. IT’S BETTER THAN A FEW YEARS AGO. BUT PEOPLE ARE JUST FINDING DIFFERENT WAYS TO BE DISHONEST. WHATEVER IS TRENDY AT THE TIME YOU KNOW? AT THIS POINT, SOME PEOPLE ARE FAKING EVEN AUTHENTICITY AND VULNERABILITY. IT’S WEIRD."


@EMKBLAIR: "I WOULDN’T GO AS FAR AS TO SAY THAT AUTHENTICITY ON SOCIAL MEDIA IS IMPOSSIBLE, BUT I WOULD, THOUGH. EVEN IF WE MADE SOCIAL MEDIA AUTHENTIC, AND WE ALL AGREED AS A COLLECTIVE TO POST THE GOOD AND THE BAD, AND BE HONEST, THERE ARE ALWAYS THINGS THAT WILL BE LEFT OUT AND NOT SHARED. SOCIAL MEDIA WILL ALWAYS BE SOMETHING THAT WE WILL SHOW OUR BEST SIDES ON.


THE MEDIA IS THE WIDEST FORUM FOR PERCEPTION THAT HAS EVER EXISTED, AND WAS CREATED SO FAST THAT WE NEVER GOT TO EASE INTO WHAT THE CONSEQUENCES COULD BE. SOCIAL MEDIA CAUSES US TO WANT TO SHOW OUR BEST SELVES TO AFFIRM THAT WE ARE AS GOOD AS THE OTHERS SHOWING THEIR BEST SELVES BECAUSE IN OUR HEADS WE SLIGHTLY ASSUME THAT THEIR BEST SELF IS THEIR TRUE SELF- NO MATTER HOW MUCH WE TELL OURSELVES THAT IT IS A LIE, OR IT IS ONLY THE GOOD PARTS, WE WILL ALWAYS COMPARE SELVES TO IT DUE TO THE COMPETITIVE NATURE OF HUMANITY."



Q. Has social media made it more or less difficult for you to find your identity?


@JADEDMADE: " HOW I IDENTIFY… I CHALLENGED EVERYTHING I WAS TAUGHT AND CIRCLED ALL THE WAY BACK TO STILL FEEL LOST IN FUNDAMENTAL WAYS. I DO KNOW THAT I FIND FREEDOM IN BEING QUEER, ANYTHING FEELS POSSIBLE. I FOUND SOLACE IN WHAT WAS PREACHED TO ME AS SUN AND WHAT WOULD SEND ME TO HELL. I FEEL SMALL IN THE GRAND SCHEME OF EVERYTHING.


NOTHING REALLY MATTERS AND IT DOES AT THE SAME TIME. SO WITHIN THAT, I CAN’T REALLY DESCRIBE WHAT I IDENTIFY AS ASIDE FROM FEELING INFINITE. I’M SO MUCH MORE THAN A WOMAN, A CHILD, AN INDIVIDUAL. I’M EVERYTHING BEFORE ME AND SO SMALL COMPARED TO WHAT COMES AFTER ME."


@L0LITAK: "PERSONALLY, SOCIAL MEDIA (ESPECIALLY TUMBLR AND INSTAGRAM) HAVE HELPED ME NOT ONLY FIND BUT ALSO EXPRESS MY IDENTITY. I DON'T THINK THAT I WOULD EVER BE ABLE TO DISCOVER MY TRUE SELF AND CONFIDENCE WITHOUT SOCIAL MEDIA, AND FOLLOWING SOME OF THE TUMBLR ICONS.


OF COURSE, THE SAME AS TO EVERYTHING, THERE IS A DARK SIDE OF THE PLATFORMS, BUT IN MY OWN EXPERIENCE, I AM EXTREMELY GRATEFUL THAT I WAS ABLE TO DISCOVER AND LEARN MORE ABOUT MYSELF WHILE SCROLLING TUMBLR, AS I FEEL I WOULD OF HAVE BEEN A COMPLETELY DIFFERENT PERSON WITHOUT IT."


@VOX.THE.VISITOR: "IT’S HARD IT’S LIKE HAVING CONSTANT “ADS” AT THE TIP OF OUR FINGERTIPS OF WHAT WE: SHOULD BE LOOKING LIKE, DOING, FEELING… I DON’T THINK ANYONE IS COMPLETELY UNPHASED BY THAT.


I TRY TO KEEP IT AT ARM'S LENGTH BUT I THINK WHATEVER YOU ARE SEEING CONSTANTLY IS GETTING IN THE CRACKS."




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