The “influencer” trend has really been taking off in the last few years or so. I have always been watching from afar, questioning why posts on social media can lead to fame, and questioning even more why I was contributing to the amount of views. Always slightly confused and alarmed at how quickly someone’s life can change through Youtube, Instagram, Twitter, Vine, etc, I had never really had a reason to be up close and personal with the concept.
My roommate has had a very successful career as a track athlete while in school, and thinks she wants to go professional once she graduates. Regardless of what path she does choose to take, she knows for sure that she wants to use her nickname as her brand image. Seems normal right? I thought so too, until she discovered that another girl uses the same nickname for her social media platforms as well as a blog. She now is actively attempting to claim the name frequently enough that when she applies to legally claim the “handle” the other girl will appear obsolete.
Meanwhile, another teammate has been actively attempting to build a brand for herself on various platforms as well. She posts constantly and has been successful in building a high subscriber count on her YouTube channel, a large following on Instagram, and has accumulated mass amounts of likes and comments on both forums. On the other side, she now spends all of her time posing for selfies, has taken on a new tone to her voice, and clips her more or less 24/7 videos into falsely angled skews of her real life.
From my roommate buying an advertisement on Instagram to attempt to generate a larger follower amount and voting for herself for the school’s “barstool woman crush wednesday,” to my teammate’s never ending posts, selfies, and performance videos clipped just in the right moment to make her look exceptional, both of these people in my life have brought me closer to the influencer craze than I ever thought I would come. And, I am now closer than I ever wanted to be.
What I had once gawked at in awe, impressed that people could reach fame simply through a few pictures, now causes me to dread opening certain apps, avoid in person conversations with certain people, and to ultimately wonder if these friendships will be killed due to their obsessions with the idea. And I cannot help but wonder how much longer I can pretend that I have not blocked them on social media…