By definition, 'influencers' are individuals who have established credibility, authority, and a substantial following within a specific niche or industry. It seems reasonable, therefore, to utilize their influence for fostering valuable ideas. When these ideas are adopted by a large number of people, significant changes can occur. However, a question arises: Will individuals readily embrace ideas put forth by influencers?
My response is affirmative, although we must recognize that the primary impact of influencers is often observed in promoting consumerism, rather than in facilitating the spread of beneficial ideas. Considering the commonplace and superficial nature of influencers, it is my belief that, in numerous instances, relying on influencers to promote valuable ideas may even prove counterproductive.
The 'influencers' we are familiar with have emerged as products of the social media era. Social media platforms, with some reservations, offer an equal opportunity for anyone aspiring to embark on an influencer career. Consequently, the affable, pleasant, and compassionate influencers we are acquainted with have emerged from a bloody and ruthless battle for our attention. To exacerbate matters, numerous contenders remain concealed behind our attention barriers, displaying a willingness to employ any means necessary to claim the spotlight. In this unscrupulous contest where the winner takes all, placing trust in the winner's virtuous character becomes challenging. As a result, our target groups will not believe influencers’ gestures of humanity, justice and inclusion.
Furthermore, when a good idea should be promoted in the society, it means that the idea has yet to secure widespread acceptance. Therefore, any endeavor to convince people to pick it up will cause controversies and controversies are exactly what influencers are afraid of. In their fight over our attention, no opportunity can be wasted and therefore, influencers have no room for entertaining controversial ideas lest other influencers take the opportunity and start whistling to take their share of attention away from them. The best way to survive in this ‘fitness landscape’ is to say what people want to hear. It is reminiscent of what John Stuart Mill and many other writers of the 19th century called “tyranny of the majority.” If there is a bad idea prevalent in the society, influencers just try to go with it.
This is now more than two decades since the first social media influencers emerged and now that the image is clearer, we can see that influencers are more effective in fields like marketing, but still, they can have their effects in other more serious areas as well. Therefore, utilizing influencers remains a viable option when aiming to promote a cause among the public, though I think universities’ discourse still enjoys its place among the general public.