Influencer or Influenza? They make things go viral

If you’re an avid user of social media, you might have seen posts such as these floating around recently:

…seriously, though. Who uses a laptop standing next to a pool?

That’s right, over the last week, more than 50 Instagram ‘influencers’ were engaged by the Big G to promote youth involvement in the lead-up to Budget 2018.

If you’re not aware of the phenomenon of influencers, these are Instagram users with huge followings numbering in the thousands or more, and are often contracted by private firms to promote their products in posts.

Basically that popular kid from school

There has been considerable worldwide success in using Instagram influencers in promoting brand awareness and products, with top models earning tens of thousands per post.

However, MOF’s move (ministry of finance, not food) has been met with very varied public response, to say the least.

The widespread public response online appears to lean more towards distaste, with some questioning the credibility of these influencers.

And some questioning why the big G is spending money on these people where there might be real faults to be concerned about.

There is definitely some utility in engaging influencers. Many youths stay off traditional news platforms and so are disenfranchised from current affairs in Singapore. Alongside the echo chambers of social media where misinformation biased perspectives propagate, it is necessary to sometimes reach within these groups in order to engage such people.

Echo chambers…where you state your opinion and everyone magically agrees with you

Nonetheless, the intended message of outreach might be distorted through such a platform. Youths follow instagram influencers because…well…simply put, because they are hot. To juxtapose someone’s banal desire or entertainment with serious issues such as financial planning might result in unintended effects.

Facebook user Jeraldine Phneah made some balanced observations regarding this whole campaign.

What do you think? Could this be perhaps a misguided plot to win public favour amongst the younger generation before some rather shocking events in the budget? Let us know down in the comments below!

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