Opinion: Don’t be influenced by influencers

Della Babcock, Columnist

Public opinions are formed and then broadcasted across various social media platforms. The seed of public opinion starts with one person, typically someone who is higher up in the social hierarchy. These people are known as opinion leaders, who are celebrities, influencers and professional athletes. These people have the stamp of approval to share their own opinions and start trends on a large scale.

 Because of that, social media creates a sense of falsehood. If you do not have the same opinions as to these opinion leaders who are setting the everyday trends, you do not have a safe environment to share your personal thoughts and beliefs.

 Social media forces people to put themselves in a box that has many limitations. So, people lose all sense of individualism. 

Oftentimes young people on social media will alter their public opinions to coincide with the public. I have contributed to this. Young adults are not only seeking approval online of people they see and talk to in person, but they are also seeking the approval of people they have never spoken to.

Teagan Kimbro

 The upkeeping of personal profiles on various social media accounts causes an unhealthy amount of stress, and it starts to impact one’s mental and physical health. An online article titled “Opinion Leadership and Negative Word-of-Mouth Communication” discusses opinion leaders and how they expect people to look a certain way, act a certain way, use products that they endorse and believe specific things. This has always revolved around the ratio of followers and likes you receive. Publicly, people have decided that the more likes, comments and followers you have, the more important of a person you are. 

Furthermore, we can see people lose signs of their individualism through many different factors. For myself personally, I was losing individualism primarily through pictures on Instagram due to them not getting enough likes to sustain the public opinion of the more likes the better the content is. This built insecurities within me, and it took a long time before I grew up and realized other people’s opinions, especially on social media, did not define my self-worth in the slightest way. 

I’ve also seen family members and friends struggling with the idea that we all must conform to the trends and social norms. This has caused these key people in my life to be diagnosed with eating disorders and depression, simply based on insecurities from their online profiles and not getting the approval they were longing for.  

I observed this from the key people in my life. I can’t even fathom how many people have been affected by the pressure brought on by social media. Profiles through apps on your phone can dictate how happy and content you are with your life. 

Make the change, and focus on the more important elements in life. Exercise genuine communication face to face and watch your world change for the better substantially. 

Although the typical person would like to pride himself or herself on being an individual and differing from the conformity of the public, the thought is easier than the lifestyle. We, as people, feel pressured to conform to others in any way we can. This is oftentimes due to the fear of being isolated from differing from one another.

 Most people scroll through their social media accounts daily. It has become routine. It has become expected. On a daily basis, you’ll find yourself scrolling through miles of people conforming to the same ideas and looks. The worst part is, not only are we conforming to one another, but we constantly compare and pick ourselves apart for any way we differ from the majority of the public.

 I, as a young adult who is still building my own identity, feel constantly put into a box where if I make one move that is out of the routine of social norms, I am out of place. We have normalized the abnormal. If you do not have the perfect body type, you now must either alter it or you cannot share pictures of yourself. If you have acne, scars or blemishes, you feel as if you have to edit, apply filters and spend minutes altering what you truly look like before you even think about publicly sharing it. 

Moreover, we have created a social media-based world where we all have become accustomed to putting other people down for who they are. In the future, we as active social media users can start making more movements that inspire our peers, family, friends or even strangers to express their true selves. Stop comparing and stop altering. Be who you are and take a stand for what defines your own individualism.