To All the Influencers I've Disliked Before

Subject: To All the Influencers I've Disliked Before
From: Simran
Date: 14 Mar 2021

Before you think I’m bitter or jealous, I’m not saying that all influencers are bad and that I dislike them all. I’m saying there are some influencers out there who irk me by using their unwarranted fame to harm others and promote their reckless actions. From those who threw parties during quarantine to those who promote drugs and alcohol to a young audience, there needs to be something done about those who use their platform to change society for the worse.
Some background: these past weeks have been me scouring social media and the internet, compiling information on what influencers are, how they work, and how they’ve affected society, and my findings were they’ve messed us up. I’ve read several peer-reviewed articles showing how vaping and drinking are being normalized for young people. There has also been dangerous behavior broadcasted to millions of people, normalizing ignoring public health warnings. The peer-reviewed articles and the public’s actions have exposed that influencers are negatively affecting society, amplified by their millions of followers.
I can’t tell these people to quit their jobs, since that would be unfair, but I can ask them to at least consider what they post before they post it. There can also be stricter guidelines when people with so many followers post. Twitter and Instagram have taken steps to regulate content, but it can be tricky, so it’s up to the audience to let influencers know if their content is harmful or not. If kids and teens see activities like quarantine parties or binge drinking, it shows that those things are cool and fun. A lot of people can tell that it’s actually not, but there are tons of minors and easily influenced people on the internet. We don’t need more kids vaping and travelling around during a pandemic. To make sure these people don’t end up hurting themselves or others, there needs to be more education on the internet and how to safely navigate social media, particularly necessary for new users.
I do understand that social media has many benefits, and I use social media every day. But as an avid feed-scroller, I have seen the effects of TikTok and Instagram on young people. It’s widely accepted that young kids should not use social media because of the contents’ effects on mental health, self-esteem, and bodily wellbeing, but that doesn't stop them. Because of that, those on social media should take responsibility for their actions when they use their influence for bad, and we should keep them accountable as well.
If someone has repeated problematic behavior, unfollow and, if it comes to it, block them. Engaging and giving people attention when they do bad things only fuels them to do more bad things, so it’s best to leave. I ask for any readers to evaluate their follower list and unfollow those that use their platform to spread negativity and misinformation or promote unhealthy lifestyles. While people are entitled to live how they want, society relies on the collective, so when more and more people start to take the internet seriously and follow those that benefit society, it’ll create a better, more safe community.
Social media can be a blessing or a curse, so we need to work towards making it a positive addition to the world.
Thanks for reading and I hope you consider who you follow. - Simran, Cal Poly SLO