What do you look at when you access the internet? Buzzfeed articles? Online shopping sites? Maybe you go and like your favorite photos on Beyonce’s Instagram. Or perhaps you even use it to talk to your great aunt Carol, who you haven’t seen in months.
Although you use the internet a lot, there is one thing you have on your phone that you access more than you would like to admit, and that’s social media. Social media has taken over the world with different ways to reach out to people.
Whether it is Facebook, Instagram, Youtube, or even Snapchat, if you have your phone on you, you will always have access to your social media accounts.
You can send photos, videos, quick messages, and follow your favorite celebrities to keep up with their lives. With social media, there are going to be people who will slowly gain a following and who will become a ‘household name’. Those people will become internet famous, and you will most likely be so invested in their lives you are likely to follow their every word. While many people do ‘okay’ when they become well-known, the number one place for people to become famous on the internet is YouTube.
Youtube first came to be in 2005, and from there it grew into a massive platform with over three hundred hours of videos uploaded every minute. Overtime, people began searching their favorite uploaders and would even subscribe to their channel to catch their weekly uploads. Fast forward twelve years later, and the site has exploded with thousands of people gaining millions of subscribers. The site has become one of the most popular forms of media to date. With these creators having so much traffic to their channels there will be brands and companies reaching out to get their products or service out there to grow their business. The creators are some of the biggest influencers out there, and if you realize it or not, you are most likely going to fall under their spell and go for the product they are showing you.
But they do not just influence you with the products they promote, but they can with almost anything. Charities, games, television shows, music, or even ways to get around such as Lyft or Uber. We fall for their promotions because of the amount of admiration we have for them. We feel like we are their friends, especially when they show us their lives almost daily. We, as viewers, probably do not even realize the amount of influence they have on us—probably thinking we bought the product or used the code because we needed to at the time or it was just convenient.
They have such a large platform with so many people watching that it would make sense that we would think them promoting something means it would be the best thing in the world or even in that moment.
Some creators, such as Markiplier, can use their influence to get you to purchase the next game craze. Jaclyn Hill will talk about a new foundation that will make your skin look flawless. Tom Cassell can engrave in your mind ‘Life’s too short, make the most of it’ and get you to go out and chase once in a lifetime experiences. It’s the power they have over us that makes us give in. We follow them for so long that we can’t help but think we are family and, for some, desperately hang onto every word they say because they would never steer us wrong. Some will use their power to influence their viewers to do some good in the world, but some can make us do something that could potentially get you arrested. As viewers, it is our job to make the right decisions when watching our favorites.
But that may be easier said than done.