If you’re an avid user of social media, you might have seen posts such as these floating around recently:
Great news – Budget 2018 is coming soon! MOF is seeking feedback from individuals/businesses on local ushering issues, be it taxation, growing a company, skillsets etc. So here’s your chance to share your views with the Govt! 😁👌 . Join me for the listening point today, at Tanjong Pagar Complex or SMU on 12 Jan, 11:30am – 2:00pm — to share your suggestions too! You can also give feedback via the REACH Budget 2018 microsite by 12 Jan, link in bio. Every contribution counts! 🙂 #SGBudget2018 #MOFSG #REACHSingapore #sponsored #MOFSGxStarNgage
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.
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.
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!