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How far can you go as a social media influencer

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How far can you go as a social media influencer

Aylin Tafoya, Staff Reporter

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As a daily user of social media, the definition of it comes easily. It is a collection of places on the interweb, where users are able to create and share content as well as participate in making connections through their platform.

There are many advantages regarding social media, such as the huge potential for virality of content, using it as a news source, providing and receiving feedback, and being public to a worldwide audience. To content creators, this is crucial because it can change the path they’re building for themselves and their audience. The ability to grow on social media and being considered original and fresh opens doors for more money-making opportunities because views equal a paycheck.

These creators are also referred to as “social media influencers” are users of social media who have established credibility in a specific industry for a specific audience. Social media influencers have the ability to persuade others because of their reach, affecting the online community’s way of thinking.

Social media influencers fall into many communities: the beauty community, the fashion community, health community, or entertainment community. To name a few recognizable people in those communities, there is Tyler Oakley, Nikkie de Jager, Huda Kattan, Louis Cole, and most recently scandalized, Logan Paul.

Coming from the entertainment community of YouTube, Logan Paul is a creator known for starting off as an original Vine star who became famous for posting six-second videos of pratfall comedy. In a three year span, Logan Paul’s rise to social media gave him opportunities to appear in commercials for brands such as Hanes, HBO and PepsiCo. He makes $15,000 per Facebook post and $80,000 for sponsored content on Instagram. As a result of his online presence, he was able to collaborate with actors such as Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson and make guest appearances in television shows like “Law and Order: SVU” and films like “The Space Between Us.” He made the list of “Forbes Top Influencers of 2017,” with a total audience of 30 million people.  This number includes other platforms outside YouTube, such as Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

Not long ago, Logan Paul made headlines for a video he posted from his recent trip to Japan. The video posted on December 31, 2017, showcased a dead body he found in Japan’s infamous national forest Aokigahara, dubbed as the “Suicide Forest.” Logan Paul’s trip to Japan was problematic for many reasons. To name a few, he filmed himself dressed in traditional Japanese attire disturbing the peace by running around and yelling nonsense obnoxiously through the crowded streets of Japan. He placed a GoPro camera inside a Koi fish pond. He pretended to “catch” people like you would in “Pokémon Go,” and purchased a game he then broke and returned because it was “defective.” It was with negative intent that Paul carried these acts throughout his trip. The amount of disrespect not only for the people, but the country itself is what prevailed throughout his video. The lack of judgment is an indication of why the title of “social media influencer” should be revoked and avoided being said in regards to him.

He later apologized in another video, for being insensitive and making a “mistake” by posting the initial content of his trip. Yet, by breaking down the process of recording and posting a video, there were many opportunities for him to realize that a “mistake” was about to happen. The video was taken down but not before millions of people watched it, he apologized on Twitter on January 1, 2018, and uploaded an apology video for YouTube the following day. He took it upon himself to say his behavior was a “coping mechanism” as well as the fact that he was just trying to raise awareness to the issue of mental illness and suicide, and did not realize this was not the right way to do it. Even though he has not posted since then, Paul has gained more than 400,000 new subscribers.

The initial video gained 6.3 million views within 24 hours of being published and reached number 10 on YouTube’s trending list prior to extended community outrage. He was criticized by celebrities, politicians, and other members of the YouTube community for being insensitive and posting the video just for views. Several petitions were made urging YouTube to cut ties and delete Paul’s channel.

YouTube issued a statement claiming that the video violated their policies and guidelines, and on January 10, 2018, announced it was removing Paul’s channels from its preferred ad program and the sequel to his YouTube Film “The Thinning” was placed on hold.

This, however, has not been the first time one of his videos had been criticized. He and his brother previously filmed their middle-aged dad kissing underage girls who were blindfolded and tricked into thinking they were kissing the brothers instead.  Another video circulated YouTube where he faked his own death in front of his young fans by getting shot in the head as a prank. Now with him making a mockery out of Japanese culture, which is founded upon respect, in front of his impressionable audience of children where does, it leave us? Have we been monitoring what our kids have been watching, what society watches, well enough?

Holding social media influencers and platforms to higher standards is not impossible, but it has taken too many incidents like this one to come to the conclusion that it needs to happen and it needs to happen fast. As far as how YouTube might actually change their site to avoid another incident like this is still unclear. The morality of the content that has been posted on social media, and will undoubtedly continue to be posted, has to be reevaluated. But this raises a question. “What difference will it make if we censor content and people?” Will it actually make any difference?  Or is it too late?. Because of how much viewer traffic and daily uploads are on YouTube, there is some difficulty to process and organize videos, and they may not be able to categorize videos and filter them easily.  However, as a community, just like Logan Paul is being filtered out of social media, we have the power to raise awareness as well. We too are social media influencers of our own kind, as we are the sole dictators of what becomes viral, interesting or trending.

 

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How far can you go as a social media influencer