Random forays:The delusive world of influencers
The great delusion of life itself has bamboozled mankind for aeons. So besotted do we become with our own illusionary little worlds that we never ponder over the bigger questions of life. Why did we take birth in the first place? Why will we have to suddenly leave one day, with no time to pack our bags?
And to add to our collective confusion, nowadays we have a battery of social media influencers trying to sway our minds us even more. The vice-like grip of social media upon our consciousness is unrelenting, and only a very balanced mind can remain aloof to its compelling magnetism. We tend to spend every spare moment, and very often our busy moments too, browsing through the latest posts, images, videos and messages on social media channels.
The impact and influence of such posts and their creators upon our minds is already the subject of study of many a researcher, and has at times been referred to by this columnist too. People such as socialite Kim Kardashian and her sisters may have displayed no great talent to the world at large, but their social media fan following is legendary, and no laughing matter at all. But to dive deeper into the subject, let us examine the success of a few trendsetters who might well be small town simpletons, but are setting the internet afire with their ‘earth shaking’ posts.
Kanan Gill is a ‘deluxe’ comedian, for instance, with half a million Instagram followers, while Kusha Kapila, a digital ‘creator’ has thrice as many followers. The latter often takes up serious issues with nonchalant ease and drives home her point almost effortlessly. And quite wittily, she declares that she is ‘kabhi authentic, kabhi synthetic’!
Kenny Sebastian, a stand-up comedian, has a million followers on Instagram, and regularly tickles the funny bone of his audiences without batting an eyelid. Dolly Singh, with an even larger following, creates hilarious videos and spreads cheer with every post.
All of them have undoubtedly scaled dizzying social media heights and struck gold in many ways by dint of sheer perseverance and ingenuity, but only because the world is consuming their posts almost hungrily. They have cracked the code of being genuinely and refreshingly different from a plethora of also-rans who are way behind them in the distance.
The key to the zippy world of these influencers is their ultra-creative approach and mass appeal based on their ability to make common people feel connected to them. They are nowhere near as popular as mega stars Virat Kohli or Deepika Padukone, but have carved out a niche for themselves, in whatever manner.
The upside is that they entertain and even inform the general populace who follow them almost blindly. The downside is, however, that youngsters across the land delude themselves into thinking that they will one day be just like them.
Thus, legions of school-going or college-going youngsters are attempting to ape these social media ‘stars’ by attempting to highlight their own talents. Humour, food, fashion, wellness, music, dance, glamour, wit, sarcasm and naughtiness all qualify as popular realms wherein a social media influencer can hope to make a mark. The name of the game is to have enough followers to make advertising brands sit up and take notice, or to be paid for their popularity by giants like Google themselves.
Health influencers like YouTube celebrity Vivek Mittal the “Fit Tuber” protagonist with five million subscribers are, on the other hand, doing a yeoman’s service to society by dispelling several myths about diet, fitness and health.
The key, as always, is the discernment with which the consumer, the viewer, digests the fare dished out by these influencers. To be taken in inordinately by any influencer and to allow him or her to impact the mind and even the heart is by no means a good idea for anyone, young or old. But to be entertained and even advised by those who are genuinely talented or well informed is to make judicious use of their influence.
The world is, after all, more delusive than it has ever been. And we need to be more sensible than we have ever been!