COLUMN: Why I could never be an influencer


Katja Benz, Columnist

I went home over the Fourth of July weekend to spend some time with my family and although I had to to be back on-campus to work on the Fourth, I had a lot of fun with them.

As my parents were making the drive down, I was scrolling through Instagram and mindlessly liking random posts from people I’ve either never met, met once and never saw again, or haven’t seen in years (even though I’ll probably never see them again).

After I scrolled through the home screen, I went to the search screen (which for some reason thinks I like cooking and content related to various reality television shows that I’ve never seen) and started scrolling some more.

I came across a post of an influencer wishing everyone that follows them a happy and safe Fourth of July.

That got me thinking: this person doesn’t actually care if people actually are having a safe and happy Fourth. As long as they get tons of likes or new followers, they will be okay and get a huge paycheck.

Thinking about this started a different train of thoughts.

For one thing, I think that it’s interesting that being an influencer is a full-time job now. When we were kids, social media platforms like Snapchat, Instagram and TikTok didn’t exist. YouTube wasn’t super big either (even though it came out in 2005; it’s crazy to think that most people in college next year are older than YouTube), and even then, YouTubers didn’t really become a ‘job’ until I was probably in middle or high school.

And I kept thinking about how it’s amazing that influencers can put their lives out there on the internet for money and like it. It almost seems… shallow and conceited that someone expects others to be hyper-interested in their ‘brand’ and everyday life when it’s just as mundane as your own.

And I mean, I’m guilty of this too. Sometimes I don’t know if I’m actually interested in their content or if they are influencing me to watch them by using a cunning online persona.

Part of me wonders what made them decide to do that- were they influenced by someone else?

Were they tricked into it? Or did they want the lifestyle that came with it?

Regardless, I’m not sure if I could put out content that people could (or would) like.

And worst of all, I doubt I could handle the comments (good and bad) that come with the profession. Why would you predict someone else’s life when you can’t predict your own?

Katja Benz is a senior English major. She can be reached at 217-581-2812 or at [email protected].