What do Huskies think about influencer culture?
In a world dominated by social media and the ever-growing influence of the internet, we start to see “influencers” flourish and take over the media. These individuals are most of the time famous for their charisma and their ability to put the spotlight on themselves and get traction with millions of people, sometimes making them worth millions of dollars. A teacher at Washington High School, Mr. Tran, said, “An influencer is someone who is charismatic and would easily persuade their audience into buying a certain product that they got paid for.” The power that influencers have in this age plays a significant role in marketing and product promotion. Tran also stated that “it depends on the person and type of influencer because they can either make a good impact on their community or a bad impact.” An influencer can shape public opinion and how people act in a negative or positive way.
As we start to understand how powerful influencers can be, those who follow them can sometimes face negative outcomes. They might unintentionally harm their own community to benefit the influencer’s income. A teacher at Washington High School, Ms. Connolly, explained how her husband is influenced by sports and how she herself got scammed by false advertising when purchasing a product, saying “When influencers advertise the product and you buy from it please always check the reviews first to see if it’s real or not.” Ms. Connolly also thinks that there are always positive influencers around the world who aren’t trying to do their community any harm. She says, “There will always be good people out there that just want to help other people out.” Her perspective highlights the presence of positive influencers who are only genuinely trying to make a difference in their communities, offering hope and inspiration to the people around them.
Are the lives of influencers something we should focus on? Influencer culture has vastly spread after the pandemic, as more and more people are tuning in to see what the latest trend is. In order to get a closer look into the culture two Washington freshmen were sought out to let their opinion be heard.
Shriyans Diwari thinks influencers aren’t important to regular people, and they shouldn’t be seen as if they were. When asked about the idea of constantly focusing on influencers and their lives, he said, “They don’t care about you. Why should you spend so much time invested in them?” A good example of influencer negligence is tanaCON. TanaCON was a convention-like event that revolved around internet personality Tana Mongeau. Her event was focused entirely on herself: she paid no attention to her fans, and planned the event so horribly her fans were fainting from extreme heat exposure while waiting in the line to enter the building. Diwari also talked about the negative effects influencers have on younger generations, as he mentioned that “People post things about their lives to make people feel bad or get jealous.” This can cause a lot of damage if the wrong group is exposed to this side of social media.
Lily Harper has first hand experience with the negative effects of social media. When asked about her screen time, Lily says that she removed all forms of social media because they were personally affecting her day to day life. “I deleted them. It was taking up my time, and my mental health, and I just couldn’t get off my phone,” she said. Lily also voiced her opinion on how frequent the negativity on social media is, and how easy it is to get trapped in a “doom scroll.” Social media should be a place where people can be accepted and appreciated, but many influencers push unrealistic standards on people, more specifically, the beauty standards influencers impose on their followers. She also believes giving kids access to social media harms them at a young age because they are easier to be influenced without knowing the full consequences of their actions. “Kids need to have good self esteem and they have to be old enough to understand and know their safety,” she concludes.
Influencer culture isn’t just keeping up with famous people on the internet and letting them tell you what to do. Most students believe it’s a cycle of watching content and keeping up with trends, wasting your own time tuned into some stranger’s life. It’s choosing to focus your time on a virtual world instead of the real one and it’s a real problem affecting many students. It’s time to tune out influencer culture and tune into the world that surrounds us.
Decades have passed since the beginning of the internet, and dozens of trends have come and gone. In the late 1990s, social media emerged. It was new, and people wanted to hop in and experience something different. Years later, platforms such as YouTube, Instagram, and Facebook emerged. YouTube kicked off influencer culture, as people posted their videos, and people who followed these creators would watch more and be inspired by their content. However, influencer culture has changed drastically in recent years, especially after the Covid outbreak in 2019.
On the topic of being influenced, junior Sean Berdos says, “Yes, my Dad has been influenced by influencers before. He got political one time because he doubts Joe Biden and Donald Trump on their decisions.”
Another issue with influencer culture is that you don’t know which account is being truthful with its information, and which is intentionally lying to you to get money and views. Bots and clickbait are everywhere on the internet. Junior King Rivera said, “Bots are everywhere nowadays. It’s like you can’t go 10 videos without seeing at least 1.” Bots are harmful to content creators. Scammers often use bots posing as well-known creators such as MrBeast, Pewdiepie, and others. When MrBeast gained a lot of traction during the “Don’t Take Your Finger Off The App,” challenge, a large quantity of bots were posing as MrBeast to lure younger audiences. Finally, some trends have been taken too far. The most notable one is the “Black Out Challenge,” where participants attempted to ‘knock themselves out.’ The “Devious Lick” was a trend that resulted in stolen, broken, and destroyed property. Trends such as these can easily influence young audiences into participating and have led to an estimated 1385 deaths, mainly in young children. It sparks the question, “Who is to blame? The audience for doing the challenge, or the creator who made it viral?” After speaking to Sean, he states, “It’s a little bit of both. The influencer is what started it but the people choose how long they do it for and how far it can go. It can cause people to get hurt.”
Influencer culture has changed throughout the years, especially on the internet, and it does have its pros and cons. It ultimately all comes down to the individual viewing the content: they are the deciding factor.
Jim Mejorada is a junior at Washington High School. He was born and raised in the Philippines for 11 years and moved to Fremont CA in 2018. This is Jim’s first year on the paper. He likes writing about space, games, sports and nature. His favorite hobbies are playing games, skateboarding, going outdoors and exploring random areas. His future plans are to possibly go to college and do his best to be wealthy then live comfortably.
Danielle Unsworth is a Junior at Washington High School. She grew up in Fremont, California. This is her first year in journalism and she's very excited to be included. She enjoys writing about her opinions as well as arts and current events. In her free time she likes to garden and take care of her plants as well as read books and listen to music. Danielle plans on attending UC Berkeley and becoming a lawyer in the future.
Gillian Kaplan is a senior at Washington High School, born and raised in the Bay Area. This is her first year working for The Hatchet. She is interested in reporting on film and music and working in The Hatchet’s video production department. Her hobbies include drumming, reading, listening to music, going to concerts, and taking care of her houseplants. In the future, she hopes to go to film school and study directing, writing, and acting for the screen.
Deepthi moved to Fremont at the age of three and has grown up there for the most part. Despite her junior year being her first year at the paper, she has always been interested in writing, often creating stories and hooks for fun. Deepthi is interested in social issues but hates the idea of writing about politics. She likes biking, hanging out with her friends, writing, watching TV shows, ice skating, and jamming to music. She is also a dedicated TA to her Sunday school and helps educate little kids on their mother tongue. Growing up, Deepthi hopes to be a pediatrician or ER doctor, something she has dreamed of since she was little.
Nathan Vinoray is a Senior at Washington High School. He was born and raised in Fremont, California. It’s his first year on WHS Hatchet. He hopes to bring out some new topics to Hatchet. He enjoys doing a lot of things in his free time, like 3D modeling, creating personal films, and hanging out with friends and family. Nathan plans to join the Army within the next year or two while trying to major in Engineering and hopes to leave the US and live in Europe for some time.