Social media influencers are social media users who have gained credibility in certain areas, such as fashion or entertainment. These individuals typically have substantial followers and impact perceptions of various products, people, or issues. Social media influencers use numerous platforms, but one the most persuasive is blogging because readers feel a personal connection to them through the more intimate and long-term setting of a blog. In some cases, bloggers have even become, if not more, influential than traditional journalism outlets.
When did Social Media Influencers exceed Journalists?
Ever since the rise of social media, blogging has taken on a new role in the way people choose to learn, read and understand issues in society. Social media has created a stigma for efficiency, which translates to quick and simple articles for readers. Social media influencers capitalized on the opportunity and began blogging about their lives and opinions. Most of these individuals have a large following on their blog, as well as other platforms, such as Instagram, Snapchat, Twitter, and Pinterest.
Social media influencers have the market cornered. Most people follow at least one blogger, can tell someone why the blog interests them, and information about the blogger’s life. People feel a connection with bloggers and trust their opinion. When journalists publish an article, people do not usually read the story based off of the journalist who wrote it, but rather the content of the article. Some people may base the journalist’s credibility off of the publication they write for or the sources used within the article, but when an influencer publishes an article, most people ignore the credibility aspect because they feel a connection to the blogger.
While credibility is important and not all stories written by social media influencers are completely trustworthy, it is clear that people are more likely to read a short, quick blog written by someone they feel a connection to rather than an unknown journalist.
What does this mean for Journalists?
Journalists can be angered by social media influencers because they do not have the “qualifications” or “credibility” to write serious articles, in their mind. This does not change the fact that people will choose a blog post over an article published by a journalist to an accredited publication. Journalists must realize how social media and social media influencers have changed the way of receiving news and information, and look at it as an opportunity.