According to Google, a social media influencer “is a user on social media who has established credibility in a specific industry. A social media influencer has access to a large audience and can persuade others by virtue of their authenticity and reach.”
Okay, what’s the big deal about them?
As a result of Covid-19 in the UK, there has been a lockdown introduced once again in order to control the spread of the virus, there has been significant coverage in the news at the moment regarding influencers using their job title as a passport to travel to other countries. A shopping trip to Dubai isn’t really essential for their livelihoods, is it? Said influencers have exploited the business loophole in order to make their journeys. How can taking a flight to a gorgeously hot country and taking a few selfies could be actually classed as work? A lot of influencers gain the majority of their income from the revenue their social media attracts. “It is illegal to leave home to travel abroad for leisure purposes,” Prime Minister Boris Johnson has remarked in regards to travelling, making us at home wonder, is that trip to Dubai really for work purposes?
Cast members of the British television program “The Only Way is Essex” are among some of those being criticised for their decision to travel to Dubai, with photos of longing on the poolside being an insult to those who are confined to their homes for the third national lockdown.
The influencer was once a person going out of their way to share advice, insight and honesty, however, nowadays it seems that they are more about marketing freebies than authenticity. From the distorting layers of photoshop that create unrealistic standards to scripted YouTube videos claiming that ‘this vitamin has seriously changed my life, and it will change yours too for £££’, there is not much honesty in influencers anymore at all. People are over the days of perfect avocado toast pictures, and ‘day in my life’ videos that seem to come straight out of a fashion magazine. People want real-life people with authentic stories to tell, not product endorsements every other post.
The only way that influencers can save their following now after the insult of travelling during a global pandemic is to come clean and admit what they’ve done is wrong. They need to take a step back and realise that for a lot of young people, they are role models, and breaking the law is not a good message to put out into the world. Even if the business loophole technically makes it legal; bending the rules is never something that should be encouraged by someone notoriety.