Because life finally became the Black Mirror episode we feared it would in 2018, The Atlantic is reporting that a growing number of aspiring influencers are posting unpaid, self-funded ads in an effort to appear like they have more clout than they actually do.
As the story said, “a decade ago, shilling products to your fans may have been seen as selling out [but now] it’s a sign of success.” In other words, the more products you’re asked to sell, the more you’re revered in the fetid waters of the influencer economy.
While monetizing one’s existence may seem like easy work, the story noted that it can be very difficult “transitioning from an average Instagram or YouTube user to a professional ‘influencer.’” And because “the hardest deal to land is [the] first… many have adopted a new strategy: Fake it until you make it.”
One of these not-quite-an-influencers was pretending to have a relationship with Voss water, another was buying their own Chanel makeup, a third was making it seem like they were working with a Chinese cell-phone company.
(To be completely fair, the tactic isn’t that different than mocking up a portfolio or writing on spec, it’s just incredibly public and camel-level thirsty.)
Though the FTC “recently ruled that paid advertisements must be disclosed,” the story said, “there are no rules against people who aren’t paid captioning their photos to make them sound like paid disclosures.”
“Besides, what do the followers know?”
You can read more about it at The Atlantic.