Influencer marketing has disrupted advertising, journalism, and public relations, and no, not in a good way. With that being said, Influencer marketing is a brilliant way to infiltrate untapped markets on social media. As with most industries in its infancy, the benefits of using influencers were unprecedented. However, like most things, all good things must come to an end. And as the saying goes “you give someone an inch and they take a mile”, well this is my sentiment at least, for the next ”big” thing within the influencer industry.
The article Lil Miquela and the virtual influencer hype explained, published on Vox (https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.vox.com/platform/amp/the-goods/2019/6/3/18647626/instagram-virtual-influencers-lil-miquela-ai-startups) discusses how influencer marketing has further disrupted the advertising world. Influencer marketing in nature has created a false idealism of self. With social media influencers photoshopping pictures, creating false narratives and realities, to curating their life. The concept of “virtual influencer” has taken this falsehood a step further by creating and structuring a level of perfection that is unachievable. In essence, virtual influencers further the subconscious thought that you are not nearly as perfect or popular as your favorite social media influencer. Additionally, the use of virtual influencers has disrupted progress in the model sector. With virtual influencers, real people aren’t needed for ads or commercials, this will result in a declining labor force that takes money out the hands of real people while profiting emerging and established large tech companies. Advertising is only the surface-level concern as it relates to influencer marketing. Journalism and public relations have also been plagued by this the use of Influencers. The concept of influencers derived from the power a person has to impact their audience and encourage them to support an idea, product, or service. For some, social media has become the go-to for news, politics, and advice rather than turning to traditional mediums. The fact that Lil
Miquela (virtual influencer and activist, in support of the LGBTQ, Black Lives Matter and other social activist organizations), Bermuda (a self-proclaimed Trump supporter), and Blawko can inspire impressionable and emerging voters is unethical. Tech companies raking in millions now could have the power to influence what people buy, inspire political thought, create false narratives, all while creating social problems for its consumers. Think about it, would you want a virtual person with no real-life experiences telling you were to shop, how to vote, and what’s pop culture?