Is social media becoming too curated for it to be honest?

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(Representational image) Are we tired of watching ordinary people with absolutely perfect lives, fabulous vacations, smiling faces, perfect homes, and the best clothes? And if so, what will be the fallout of this?

Note to readers: On social media, in conversations, and in press releases and interviews, we all tell stories about ourselves and our businesses. This is a monthly column on how to tell more compelling stories. Each column will look at one aspect of content strategy for individuals, companies and brands.

the latest tech news, global tech news daily, tech news today, startups, usa tech, asia tech, china tech, eu tech, global tech, in-depth electronics reviews, 24h tech news, 24h tech news, top mobile apps, tech news daily, gaming hardware, big tech news, useful technology tips, expert interviews, reporting on the business of technology, venture capital funding, programing language

In just a decade, social media has become one of the greatest tools for democratising popularity and providing access. The power of influencers on social media is so vast that it can, and often does, rival that of traditional celebrities ranging from movie stars to sports personalities and fashion icons.

You find how everyday folk, without the networks, opportunities and access that was critical to stardom, have a following running into a million and more, doing what they are good at.

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Age, too, is hardly a barrier. Ryan Kaji who reviews toys on YouTube was still in elementary school when he was raking in millions and making it to influencer lists a few years ago. At the other side of the spectrum ‘grandfluencers’ who are in their 70s have a loyal Instagram following.

Social media followers now determine where you sit at the table of opportunities. Getting influencers to talk about brands can cost a hefty sum per post. An influencer, which means you typically have 10,000 followers, can command a fee before typing or posting a video or tweet. And thus being an influencer or content creator on social media is not just a full-time occupation, but also a lucrative one for thousands across the world.

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But is this getting overdone? Is fatigue setting in? Are we tired of watching ordinary people with absolutely perfect lives, fabulous vacations, smiling faces, perfect homes, and the best clothes? Are we getting lulled into believing that everything that is curated for us is their reality?

In just the last two years, the game is shifting. Instagram influencers are now being asked to mention collaborations or paid promotions so that people know they are getting paid in cash or kind for endorsing a product to their followers. That’s no different from a traditional endorsement in advertising when you know the celebrity is getting paid to promote a brand. Most savvy followers know that celebrities don’t use the brand of commercial soap they are endorsing or drink the sugary soda water they are guzzling on screen.

So where are we headed? Towards more of the same awareness on social media influencing, perhaps. And presumably, more honesty.

Enter Substack and similar platforms such as Patreaon, Cameo and others where subscribers pay for the content they consume, which frees the influencer from the grip of brands. This makes the review or the opinion a more independent voice, more authentic and therefore more believable.

The fallout of it all? Many social media users who are not influencers may suddenly feel less influencer-poverty, because a large base may add little value. If it becomes harder to monetize, many influencers whose sole income is from endorsements, may not be incentivised to produce so much content to gather influencers. A new type of super-influencer may emerge where the audience actually influences and controls content, forcing it to be more honest, a bit like a democracy in which the power rests with the people, but only when they realise that.

Also read: Instagram tries to pull off a Netflix but will its subscription feature find takers?

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