You can wander the internet and find all kinds of articles about “influencers”. These are people that make a living talking, or crafting, or playing, or doing stupid things in front of a camera, and either live stream it or upload it to youtube or whatever. Then people all over the world tune in and, for some reason, allow themselves to be swayed into buying stuff, clicking links, visiting places, etc. based on what these people blab about. These people “influence” the public discourse, supposedly, though most of them probably can’t spell discourse.
At what point did we transition from doing to watching others do? Some of the most popular streams out there are people watching other people play video games that they themselves own and could be playing right now. But they’d rather sit passively and watch someone else play. The top grossing “influencer” on youtube is actually a 7-year-old kid that “reviews” toys simply by playing with them and chatting mindlessly while he does. $22 million that kid made. Seriously, the link is above.
The majority of them have no qualifications, no training, no reason for anyone to listen to them, but here they are, “influencing” millions for the simple fact that someone liked a video of theirs once and shared it and then more people did. In other words, dumb luck.
Is there a bit of sour grapes to this rant? Yeah, sure. I’d love to have millions of people reading this, making the world a better place because I made them think. Really think. Sure, I’d love to be an influencer. But not like these jokers.
You see, many of them have become controversial, as their statements either on their own productions or elsewhere reveal that they are not someone you should be “influenced” by. Racism, antisemitism, misogony, callous stupidity the list goes on and on. And yet you keep tuning in. Why?
These people only exist as “influencers” because you allow yourself to be influenced. You keep showing up. You keep giving them a platform. You created them. You enable them. And you are, at least partially, to blame for the harm they’ve caused. Without you, they don’t have a voice.
Start demanding better. It’s a common theme on this page, you may have noticed. But you’re clearly not doing it. So why do I persist? Because someone has to.