Under the influence (of social media) – Red Deer Advocate

Wow, did I ever present my inherent fossilization once I puzzled to any person out loud the different day, “So, simply what the heck is an ‘influencer’?” It’s an excellent factor that any person was my Rotten Kid, the daughter one, who shouldn’t be solely a lot smarter than me, she can be fairly a bit youthful, and as such has a data of the world of social media that’s far more related than my very own, which is usually restricted to making an attempt to make telephone calls on my smartphone.
I imply, the solely factor I actually must do with “social” (as hip folks consult with social media) is that I textual content with my chubby thumbs; I try Facebook as soon as a month simply to see if I’ve missed something essential (I haven’t); I fireplace up YouTube typically, to learn the way to alter the flush valve in a bathroom or learn how to play “Walkin’ Blues” on a lap metal guitar and when my curiosity piques, which it inevitably does a number of instances a day, I flip to Wikipedia and lookup issues like “what’s an influencer?”
So, after relentless minutes and minutes of intense dialog and analysis I discovered that an “influencer” is – get this – somebody who influences. Sure, however nowadays it’s all about the place and the way influencers influence. Instagram, Tik Tok, SnapChat, Twitch and Twitter are large ones, which explains why I’ve personally by no means run into an influencer since as talked about, my smartphone isn’t that sensible.
Turns out, there are numerous completely different sorts of influencers. There are the celeb variety, like the Kardashians (Kim), Biebers (Justin), Jenners (Kylie), Rihannas (Rihanna) and Swifts (Taylor) of the world who appear to submit an occasion each time they bat a closely mascara-ed eyelash. If any one among them opens a tube of lipstick, or – heaven forbid – buys the unsuitable pair of sneakers, the world immediately is aware of about it and 1000’s, if not hundreds of thousands of following followers fall right into a frenzied freak-out.
Other insanely standard posting prophets aren’t celebrities exterior of influencing, however they’re all about triple B: Big Business Bucks. It’s referred to as “influencer advertising and marketing,” and a few of them can put a used automotive salesman to disgrace. These relentlessly loquacious dudes and dudettes submit images, movies and descriptions of stuff they’re shopping for, recommending (and principally getting free of charge) to a rapt and adoring viewers of social media addicts who lookup from their telephone lengthy sufficient to expire and purchase the identical issues. Like sheep to the purchasing slaughter.
These influencers, once they attain 5000 followers or so, could make mega cash from corporations who pay them to flaunt each product beneath the solar. But does it work? Um, that will be a powerful “you betcha” – to the tune of $10 billion a yr.
And currently, there’s a brand new child – properly, make that, a brand new fossil – on the influencing block. That’s proper, they’re referred to as “grandfluencers” – of us over 70 on social media who’re gaining traction (versus being in traction). Grandfluencers are efficiently attracting youthful followers, in all probability as a result of everyone seems to be youthful than they’re. Just kidding – the seniors say they’ve one thing to say and they’re definitely saying it. One standard New York grandma, 75-year-old Joan MacDonald has 1.4 million loyal followers on Instagram. She promotes well being and health and simply occurs to advocate a line of sportswear and stress dietary supplements.
So there’s an influencer for everybody! If you ever want the help of an oh-so fashionable face in your display screen that can assist you make all of your essential selections, all you want is a telephone. And a child to point out you what an “app” is.
Harley Hay is a Red Deer writer and filmmaker. Send him a column concept to [email protected]

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