Now Reading: What Are Influencers Really Influencing?


What Are Influencers Really Influencing?

August 29, 20187 min read

While a decade ago, influencer was only a noun and not a job description, the title still beared significant weight. But today, with the responsibilities that come along with being an influencer, the pressure has undoubtedly increased. However, some of Youtube’s biggest influencers are not living up to the demands of the job.

An influencer is an individual who has the power to affect purchase decisions of others, because of their authority, knowledge, position or relationship with their audience and has a following in a particular niche which they actively engage with. 

Youtube offers a perfect platform for any aspiring influencers, as there are niche markets for nearly every interest. From gaming to beauty, everyone can find at least one thing that interests them on Youtube. Some of Youtube’s most recognizable influencers include Emma Chamberlain and Logan Paul. Yet despite the platform they’ve been given, their influence isn’t always beneficial.

Emma Chamberlain has had a quick rise to stardom in the Youtube community. Since posting her first video in 2017, the 17-year-old California native has gained more than four million subscribers. However, despite her rapid success, controversy about the vlogger’s past has arisen in the past few months.

Recently, there have been rumours circulating around the Youtube community that before her fame, Chamberlain was a middle school bully. Her fellow students from her middle school have come forward and said that Chamberlain would put them down and pick on them solely based upon that she was popular and they weren’t. While the only evidence of these claims is direct messages sent on Instagram from students at Chamberlain’s middle school to exposing accounts, the stories line up logistically.

In addition, Chamberlain has also faced recent controversy over her new merch line. While many Youtubers increase their revenue by selling merch, Chamberlain’s fans have been complaining about the influencer’s recent collection.

Chamberlain’s merch collection is sold on Dote, an online shopping app. Fans complaints about the merch started with the fact that the products were blurred out on the site. Chamberlain inserted censor blurring over the merch so fans only had a vague idea of what they were purchasing. In addition, the prices were incredibly high, even for Youtube merch. A single scrunchie started at $25.

While Emma Chamberlain’s controversy is mostly surrounding rumours and merch prices, the fact that she’s already encountered this amount of controversy in the short year she’s been famous does not bode well for her future.

Logan Paul is known for his short comedy sketches and daily vlogs in the youtube community, but more recently, he’s been better known for all the issues that he has caused in his five years of Youtube.

This past year, the 23-year-old internet star found himself in a lot of trouble after posting a vlog from his trip to Japan. Paul and his group had the idea to camp out in Aokigahara Forest at the base of Mount Fuji, better known as the suicide forest. Paul took his crew into the suicide forest, knowing what it was and still decided to film while entering. Upon their arrival, the group saw a man that had just taken his own life, and Paul recorded it. He later posted this video on his vlog channel that has over 18 million subscribers. The video was later removed after a huge negative backlash as well as petitions that called for the video’s removal.

Some of Paul’s other recent feats have included joking about taking part in the Tide Pod challenge, removing a fish from a pond to give it CPR, and tasering a dead rat. Due to his behaviour, Youtube temporarily suspended Paul’s ad revenue on videos. In addition, Youtube also placed the two Youtube Red movies he was set to star in on hold, as well as remove his character from the Youtube Red series Foursome. 

Emma Chamberlain and Logan Paul are perfect examples of what is wrong with the Youtube community. Influencers are given a large platform and audience, and yet they chose to use it to promote themselves and hurt others. There are truly no limits to what they will do for more views or subscribers.

Despite the overwhelmingly negative influence that predominates Youtube’s biggest stars, there’s a shred of hope for influencers like Lilly Singh, better known to fans as ||Superwoman||, who has used her status to help those less fortunate.

In her eight years of video making, Singh has gained over 14 million subscribers, and has been selected as a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador. While being an ambassador, Singh has advocated for children’s rights, as well as girl’s education. In 2016, Singh partnered with Me to We to create a GirlLove Rafiki bracelet. M to We sent the jobs creating the bracelets to Africa, so more than 14,000 women in Kenya have been employed. These women use their salaries to send themselves or their daughters to school. Additional proceeds from the bracelets go towards helping girls in Kenya attend school. 

Influencers like Lilly Singh set an example for the rest of the Youtube community. When the title of influencer comes to mind, it should be associated with people that are making a positive impact on our society and affecting change, not using their status to promote themselves.

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Meredith Bushman

Meredith is a 16 year- old aspiring journalist from Long Island New York. She’s had a passion for writing since a young age, but has since refocused her writing in journalism. While her main interests are in arts, cultures, and celebrities, she also takes interest in political journalism and current events.