Influencer and social media: what are the effects?

The Wyred platform gave young people the opportunity to discuss the topic of influencers on social media and to create a debate around the role of Instagram influencers in our society.

Who is an influencer?

An influencer is a person who works on social media and who through posts is able to involve a number of followers and influence their purchase choices and tastes.

The word “influencer” has spread particularly in recent years on the web, in relation to subjects able to influence opinions of a series of other users, to the point that today we also speak of Influencer Marketing. The influencer enjoys, in real life or in virtual life, authority and is recognized as an expert on a particular topic.

The figure of the Influencer has now been integrated into Marketing strategies: there are many companies that entrust their products and their brands in the hands of these professionals who in most cases produce an increase in turnover. In the smart society in which we live the web and social media seem to be the easiest way to communicate and sponsor products.

But what are the psychological and social consequences of these figures? In the last decade, many researchers and communication professionals have focused their attention on influencers: bloggers, Instagram, Facebook and Twitter star pages followed by numerous users, on which they can exercise influence.

If on one hand can be strategic allies for effective communication, on the other side of the coin we also have many risks that seem to directly affect those who are consumers, or rather followers, in particular the young people and the newest generations seem to be particularly at risk if not helped to use these tools in a responsible manner. The tendency to lose contact with reality seems to be increasingly widespread. Several young people have developed an extraordinary ability to socialize online but find themselves in difficulty in real relationships. Excessive use of social networks also creates isolation, dependency and distraction.

Patricia Wallace, a professor at the Graduate School of Maryland University College who deals with the psychology of relationships and learning, has carried out a series of studies to better understand why the Internet represents a completely new environment for human behavior and interactions, an environment to study. The most profound human changes with the advent of Social Media, those that we have all touched with our hands perhaps concern the field of communication: “When communicating online, people not only seem to be more abrupt and aggressive, in reality they really are. Sometimes we forget that the tone, in more traditional communications, is conveyed with non-verbal signals, facial expressions yes, but also body posture, eye contact, voice, for example – comments Wallace – In the absence of these signals, online it is more difficult to express oneself subtly, so communications appear more abrupt and aggressive”.

One of the side effects of being always connected on the internet and on the pages of the influencers is that you can develop a real addiction: it is, therefore, desirable an education to the correct use of social media, marked by the awareness that as much as it can be enviable and perfect, it is always a virtual world that is totally detached from what is reality.

Agata Papotto