Under the De-influence
By Sophia Blair
Photo by Pexels
In a culture ruled by social media, influencers have become powerful opinion leaders who dictate trends and influence mass amounts of people. For years, individuals who have been propelled into the social media spotlight have been telling us what to buy, what to wear, and who to follow. The “Influencer Phenomenon” took society by storm, but as the social sphere evolves, we see a new counterculture emerge: the rise of de-influencing.
De-influencing is a prevalent new trend that directly contradicts the “Influencer Phenomenon.” Recently, smaller content creators have been dispelling the hype surrounding certain brands and products that more prominent Influencers have recently pushed to audiences. Rather than using their platform to convince consumers to purchase a product, creators are now doing the opposite by encouraging people not to buy something that they don’t really need. De-influencers work to debunk the allure of cult favorites that were previously marketed as wellness remedies. Now, the hashtag #deinfluencing boasts over 123 million views on TikTok.
Influencers frequently promote products because companies compensate them, even if they aren’t huge fans of the product itself. They value profit over merit, which creates a spectrum of Influencer inauthenticity. The trend of de-influencing, which is continuing to gain traction, combats deceptive marketing by promoting credibility over virality. De-influencing breaks down the conventions of Influencer culture, resulting in transparency for consumers.
This trend marks yet another step towards individuality becoming the mainstream lifestyle broadcasted on social media, rather than the masses succumbing to what they are told to like. Until now, online trends existed within a quickly ever changing cycle. This month, Stanley cups and mini UGGs are “in,” but next month, it will be followed by the next exciting thing people “have to buy.” Following trends and purchasing popular products is a form of social currency, which are ways people improve their reputation amongst their peers.
However, younger generations are haunted by the looming threat of climate disaster and have collectively turned to sustainability as a trend. Practices such as thrifting and abandoning fast-fashion retailers have become widely popularized among the younger generation , and de-influencing has begun to turn the tide against consumerism. De-influencing has woken people up to corrupt marketing, and has started a revolution against overconsumption.
The idea that consumers are overly-influenced and need de-influencing seems to be a direct response to the #TikTokMadeMeBuyIt trend, in which people show off the things they bought because of social media, evidently fueling their innate-human desire to fit in. De-influencing also coincides with the “dupe” trend that is currently circulating on various platforms, in which people point out cheaper alternatives for more expensive, popular items.
Dupes and de-influencing says a lot about how social and fashion trends reflect the state of the economy. When the economy is booming, an influx of new beauty trends gets introduced. The term “recession-core” is a brand-new phrase that people have been using to describe how when the economy is down, things such as “no-makeup makeup,” minimalism, second-hand clothes, dupes, and de-influencing gain notability.
De-influencing shows how the influencer space would benefit from more transparency, authenticity, accountability, and trust. Consumers are rejecting trends, and instead creating a culture that is better for humanity. De-influencing is giving people a say rather than forcing them to be monetary pawns in a capitalistic marketing machine. The culture of media consumption is shifting from consumers being uninformed and influenced to informed and de-influenced.