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Influencing you to be De-influenced

By Anna Giblin

Photo by Avani Mitra

The internet has brought us a lot of great. Memes, new music, fashion advice- to name a few. But all good things have a caveat. Too much of a good thing can be too much. As the internet has grown over the years, social media influencers have risen astronomically. In today’s age, it’s perfectly reasonable to make a living by posting content on social media. But more specifically, by influencing others.

My first encounter with social media influencing was in the glorious days of Beauty YouTube. Where I would sit for hours at a time watching beautiful people teach me the best technique for a winged eyeliner, and what eyeshadow pallet would give me the best smokey eye. I was being influenced from such a young age, that I didn’t even realize I was directly contributing to the success of influencers. Some of it was great. I still swear by the Makeup Forever foundation that Kathleenlights introduced me to in 2017. But other products, like the infamous Anastasia Beverly Hills Subdued pallet, sit collecting dust in the back of my makeup collection, not living up to the hype that I was promised.

Now that I’m older (and hopefully wiser), I see the harm that constant influencing can bring. When I scroll through my TikTok feed, I am bombarded with “5 must-have tops for summer from Amazon”, even though I gave up buying clothes from Amazon ages ago. The social media algorithms continue to push the narrative to impressionable audiences that “you need this mascara,” or “you have to buy this dress from Skims.” I see this type of content and think, what would my younger self do with this information? Buy it.

It’s easy to loop in the term “trend” with this topic because it’s essentially the same thing. Influencers tell you to buy these products because they're the hot new item, and “it will be the best product you've ever tried,” but these products are not one-size-fits-all. If I were a young girl on social media, I would so easily spend the money to buy what everyone else was wearing because it was trending, without thinking “hey, maybe that dress won’t be so flattering on me” or “hey, maybe I don’t need a fourth blush in my makeup bag”.

This isn’t to say that everything on the internet is total crap, just that buyers need to be aware that not all products are going to be the right fit for everybody. I’ve gotten a lot of good skincare products based on a YouTube recommendation; but that’s just what it should be- a recommendation. Not the end-all-be-all guide to buying.

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