Influence has a much longer history than we might think; from Josiah Wedgwood using the royal seal of approval in ads to Michael Jordan’s legendary endorsement of Nike sneakers.
However, in the modern age, influencers don’t have to be famous to make an impact.
Social media allows content creators to find an audience and connect with them like friends, recommending everything from video games to vaginal vaping. And this format clearly works, as the industry is valued at more than $15 billion.
But 13 years after Zoella first joined YouTube, the public seems tired of being sold.
De-influence is a new trend aimed at curbing social media-driven consumption that has amassed over 100 million views on TikTok.
Both environmentalists and consumers tired of the constant shipping and “must buys” have spoken out, talking about products that aren’t worth the money and suggesting ways to cut back on mindless shopping.
Multi-step skincare routines have been criticized, as well as viral products that have not lived up to the rave reviews from the big names.
The goal is to get users to think before they buy, given that 44% of Gen Zers and 26% of the general population were convinced to buy something through an influencer’s recommendation.
“The overconsumption of this app is absolutely wild,” Paige explained to TikToker in one video. “I want you to know that if your life isn’t like the life of the influencers on this app, you’re fine. Are you all right.
This is a noble cause, especially during the current cost-of-living crisis when budgets are tight. From a sustainability standpoint, it’s also much better for the environment to buy less and use what you buy.
However, not all means of de-influence are the same.
Some creators have been criticized for using the term to monetize their channels, which Refinery29’s Alexandra Koster called “toxic authenticity”.
It doesn’t take long to find self-styled de-influencers throwing out trending stuff, but recommending different alternatives (and making affiliate link cuts) in the same video. This may cause damage to the object and significantly affect repacking.
Regardless of the underlying motives for de-influence, it represents a shift in public perception. People are starting to realize how much we are unknowingly spending and wasting and how microtrends are fueling the cycle of overconsumption.
However, it will take more than a few Insta clips to break the habit of a lifetime. Consumerism is so ingrained in our culture that people need to make an active effort not to get into trouble.
If you want to get rid of the influence in your life, these tips can help you.
Never buy on a whim
- If you see something you like or are tempted by a social media recommendation, pin it. Take a day (or a week if it’s a big purchase) and see if you want it after the initial “high” has worn off.
Pay attention to the multiplicity
- If you already have three water bottles, do you need another one? Whenever you are about to buy something, think about what you already have. Chances are, you have a perfectly working alternative, whether it’s the same shade of lipstick or another trendy dress.
Repurpose or fix broken products
- Before you replace an item, consider how you can repair or repurpose it to avoid waste. Household items can be decorated with fabric or paint, and a tailor can easily deal with tears and tears in clothes.
Design your own “ride or die” products
- Recommendations from influencers can be helpful when searching for this Holy Grail item, but what matters most is your verdict. If you buy something based on social media approval, don’t beat yourself up about it. Instead, review the pros and cons of your needs (including things like skin type and whether you will be using it day in and day out) and audit what you have. Get rid of everything that doesn’t work or was left in the back of a drawer, keep what works, and hopefully your capsule collection will make you less susceptible to influence.
Second hand shop
- Thrift stores and sites like eBay and Vinted are great when you need retail therapy but don’t want the guilt that comes with fast fashion. They have the added benefit of saving you money on buying new ones, plus you’ll never end up wearing the same clothes as someone else.
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