What’s the Hubbub About “Influencers?”  
 
What’s the Hubbub About “Influencers?”  
Written By Ecce Verum   |   05.06.24
Reading Time: 4 minutes

In 2022, research found that almost 1 in 5 Gen Z-ers were willing to quit their job to be an “influencer” on social media.

The next generation of culture warriors hope to make a difference and they are an answer to our prayers. We hope to encourage and mentor these young contributors so they can take the baton from us in the future. God’s gift of liberty and self-government must be fought for and protected. The fundamental principles of faith, virtue, marriage and family must be upheld and taught. Please pray for these bold young culture warriors and extend to them some grace as they hone their skills.
The next generation of culture warriors hope to make a difference and they are an answer to our prayers. We hope to encourage and mentor these young contributors so they can take the baton from us in the future. God’s gift of liberty and self-government must be fought for and protected. The fundamental principles of faith, virtue, marriage and family must be upheld and taught. Please pray for these bold young culture warriors and extend to them some grace as they hone their skills.

12% would quit college.

So, whatever an influencer is, it sure seems important to this generation. Is that for good or for ill? While there are rarely clear answers to questions like these, here are some thoughts that might offer a sound perspective on the newfangled industry of “influencing.”

What exactly is an influencer? Is it just a general term for a “popular online personality?”

While that’s not incorrect, this line of work is firmly enough established by now that I can cite an actual definition. According to Influencer Marketing Hub, an “influencer” is someone who has “a following in a distinct niche” and “the power to affect the purchasing decisions of others because of his or her authority, knowledge, position, or relationship with his or her audience.”

Influencers often use social media (surprise!) to influence their swarm of followers as they make regular posts about their topic of expertise. So, if you are popular among people who share your niche interests—beauty products, video games, or whatever else—and you are influential enough to convince them to buy something you recommend, you are most likely an influencer of some kind.

As an influencer, what’s in it for you?

Well, when you gather large followings of people who are enthusiastic about your niche or sympathetic to your opinions, you become prime marketing material for major brands who want to sell their product to your followers. And big brands are willing to pay you big bucks if you promote their product to your audience.

Influencer Marketing Hub even uses a system of ranking influencers by their follower-count and gives advice to businesses to help them see which kind of influencer might best suit their goals. For example, “mega-influencers” are those with more than 1 million followers—they might charge your business up to $1 million per post.

But don’t worry; there are also “macro-influencers,” “micro-influencers,” and “nano-influencers” for you to investigate.

If you hit it big as an influencer, you can hit it really big. Take a look at PewDiePie, a video game commentator who was ranked in the top five influencers a few years ago. In 2019, CBS reported that he had about 102 million subscribers. That’s tens of millions higher than the current populations of Germany, the UK or France—and twice the population of South Korea.

In that year alone, he was reported to have earned $15.5 million.

Understandably, many in today’s world look at smashing successes like PewDiePie and start craving similar heights. In the same year CBS reported on PewDiePie’s success, they reported (referencing a study by Morning Consult) that 86% of young Americans were willing to try their hand at being an influencer.

And here’s an especially poignant comparison—the study found that Gen-Z men were as likely to follow PewDiePie on social media as LeBron James.

As riled up as men get about sports, that’s saying something.

On the one hand, it’s easy to see the dazzling success stories and want to get in on the game. And, given that the influencer industry netted $13.8 billion dollars in 2021, it obviously is working quite nicely for quite a few.

Besides the pure financial incentives, just consider the psychological allure—imagine yourself in a station in life in which you can make a single post, and millions of people around the world will do something differently tomorrow because of it.

On the other hand—and there always is an “other hand” to things like these—the profession isn’t a golden opportunity through and through.

A 2022 article in The Conversation provides some helpful observations. Because influencing is most often a self-employed position, an influencer’s income isn’t guaranteed consistency. So relying on your influencing skills to bring home the bacon (while quitting your job, as many Gen-Zers seem willing to do) doesn’t necessarily seem like a wise decision.

Not only can the income be unstable, but so can the workload and expectations.

For influencers to successfully influence, their content must actually appear in front of their audience, which is easier said than done in a social media world controlled by algorithms. The Conversation points out that influencers may feel compelled to stoop to new depths to keep the clicks coming and stay “relevant”—for example, some influencers have begun sharing increasingly personal moments of their lives to keep their content from being displayed farther down on the search results.

On a deeper note, though, let’s think about what an influencer’s whole profession is based on. An influencer is someone who makes a career out of everyone else’s perception of him.

While, strictly speaking, that’s not inherently wrong—you could say the same thing of other professions like theater or comedy—it can lead to very serious pitfalls if handled without wisdom. The danger in a career based on other people’s perceptions of you is the vicious temptation to base your view of success on other people’s perceptions of you.

In reality, your success depends on the Lord’s perception of you, and anything beyond that is a nice-to-have.

Here are some questions I think every influencer should constantly ask himself:

  • Am I creating a fake version of myself just to make money?
  • Do I evaluate the truth and goodness of what I do according to the reaction I get from my followers?  
  • Am I willing to take a stand for the truth even if it means I lose popularity or followers? Or my business entirely?

Don’t get me wrong; being popular is not sinful.

If it were, then Jesus would have been sinning for most of His earthly ministry—I’m sure he drew the biggest crowds that the people around Him had ever seen.

People are often attracted to righteousness, and Christ used His tremendous influence to confound the hypocritical religious authorities of the day.

Yet, for the sake of His Father, Jesus also was willing to lose every single follower he had—from the thousands whose “Hosannas” became calls for crucifixion, to the twelve closest disciples he had on earth who all deserted Him.

His righteousness may have drawn people toward Him, but when they turned away, He didn’t revert to unrighteousness to keep them.

And I daresay He influenced the world far more in his deepest moment of unpopularity—nailed to a torturous execution device with his guards gambling away his clothes.

In doing so, I believe He set us an example of how to approach influence.

A Christian influencer should never place the opinion of men over the opinion of God.

It might mean a “subpar” career in the world’s eyes, but last I checked, we are called to seek His kingdom first

…and all these things will be added unto you.
(Matthew 6:33)


Ecce Verum
Ecce Verum is passionate about the gospel of Jesus Christ and how God’s redemptive work relates to every aspect of life. His earnest desire is to steward well the resources and abilities that God has given him, in whatever situation God may have him. Currently, Ecce is pursuing a B.A. in classical liberal arts at New Saint Andrews College, with the intention to enter law school after graduation and fight for the truth in the legal and political fields. However, he does enjoy aptly written words regardless of the topic, and has contributed to blogs on apologetics and debate in...
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