Internet Influencers. Now you see me, now you dont

Why...

Are some ‘Social Influencers’ allowed to sell themselves in a way that if they were a product they would be yanked from the shelves for gross misrepresentation? Over the past six months the launch of my book Fall Out has thrust me into to the world of digital promotion and social media. In addition, my CBD business is substantially expanding its range and reach so I equally have become involved in the world of credible marketing content influencers and reviewers. Let me be clear. There are  wonderful decent influencers out there. Real professionals whose dedication to their speciality is pure and the idea of paying them for an opinion is an anathema... substance not image is their calling card. However, it is the fakery in a business that is meant to engender total honesty that has my jaw hitting the floor. The proliferation of enhanced photo images on-line has reached epidemic proportions. During the period of a learning curve so steep it was nearly vertical, I discovered the story of the two ladies above. Coeyyy and Extreme are mega influencers from China and just one example of bloggers or vloggers who have ‘tweaked’ their image. This raises more questions than a condom in a nunnery. Firstly, the whole point of an influencer is surely that people trust their judgement, not their cheekbones, to make a decision to purchase something. In addition, as an Influencer it’s surely what you say or write that matters; not if you unfortunately hit every branch of the ugly tree.

...and another thing

Not only do these influencers put up faces that aren’t theirs, some boast numbers of followers who on closer inspection are as misleading as an airport parking fee display board. It’s quite amazing how in the UK or USA some of them seem to have a disproportionate amount of avid followers in the Punjab in India or Baluchistan in Iran.

Do we really think these far flung subscribers suck up pearls of wisdom from influencers peddling Brazilian wax emporiums in the Bronx or the best Poodle pedicure in Peckham? Are these people really riveted to reviews on handbags made from Antelope ears or the relative merits of Vagina scented candles?

I assume sponsors see a value in the legions of followers of these digital Barbie Dolls. But why? One can safely assume these devotees are as fickle as a flag in a tornado. They will volte-face as soon as some other digitally enhanced Pied Piper offers them an alternative to the latest hype. Would these easily led followers even get their feet wet if they waded through their own deepest thoughts?

...and another thing

My fishmonger knows about fish and fishing lines, not fashion and hemlines. Yet, were he to appear on BigbrotherJerseyshoreSurvivor, not only would some hang onto every misinformed word, he’d be paid for saying it.

Why would someone who had been plucked from obscurity to be shoved onto a reality show be endowed with deep understanding on topics outside their wheelhouse.

Recently, I understood that in the UK it was decided that as part of the marketing budget, reality stars would be paid £5,000 to dish out COVID advice. The real issue here is not that people believe them, but these influencers had to be paid to put out what is surely a public service! This is not just biting the hand that feeds them but munching up the whole arm.

So here’s a suggestion. If you are paid to make a recommendation, you have to say so. A nice big £,€,$,€ next to each plug. And if your face on the blog bears only a passing resemblance to the truth the photo needs big inverted commas either side of it.

As for this blog, I am open to any payments to plug a product as I have many mouths to feed… including my own which really does look like the photo on the banner page! However, my carefully choreographed sitting position does hide the tum that grew over lockdown!

Take care and stay safe.

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