Consumerism and the death of social media

By Sophie Butt |

On his most recent episode of Views, YouTuber David Dobrik discussed how much influencers should charge per advertisement, and the figures were astonishing- around $5,000 for just one Instagram post for an influencer with 1 million followers. The world of social media has taken a drastic turn within the last few years, and what began as an exciting new platform for innovation and entertainment has now become a billion dollar industry. It has taken until 2020 for this to finally be recognised by the likes of mainstream media, TV and film utilising Instagram and TikTok as their most effective form of advertisement – and it works. It appears as if the world is finally recognising that the internet equals money, money, money. 

The newest Instagram update is evidence of this dramatic shift. What was previously a section for you to see your likes, comments, follower requests and interactions with other posts has been taken away and replaced by a ‘shop’, a place for businesses to advertise their goods based on your likes and data. Personal data is becoming free enterprise for businesses and their marketing strategy, and it is no wonder that online businesses are seeing a massive increase. Instagram influencers continue to gain millions for their 10 second ads, and many famous YouTube stars have began the shift to TikTok and Instagram for the easy salary. 

“The world is realising how much money can be made through these platforms” | Solen Feyissa/Unsplash

Quarantine and lockdowns definitely contributed to this. What began as a platform for people to share new dance challenges, DIYs and comedy skits, has started to turn into a platform for advertisement and the ‘new influencer.’ With screen time at an all time high, we are constantly taking in advertisements – and the options are endless. Finally, the world is realising how much money can be made through these platforms. 

“Has content lost its value?” | Prateek Katyal/Unsplash

As someone who is an avid user of these social media platforms, I have seen the dramatic shift and change in the content that I am consuming, and the content that is being advertised to me. You cannot go 5 minutes into a video without an advertisement, and it leaves you constantly questioning the integrity of the people that you watch, and if they truly love these brands, or whether the sponsorship is genuine and sincere. Has content lost its value? Do influencers feel pressured to produce content that fits around the advertisers that are paying them? Could we potentially see social media suffer the same fate as television and radio, slowly dying a death consumed by the rigid hold of big cooperation? As something that began as a secret world of entertainment for the younger generation, social media has begun to grow into the big world of business, and has lost touch with its roots.  

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