The Influencing Epidemic: Spot The Signs And Know The Dangers

Influencing, also known by its street names “Lifestyle Blogging,” “Blowing Up On Social” or “What Bachelor In Paradise Contestants Do After The Show,” is nothing short of an epidemic. It has ravaged communities from bougie neighborhoods in California to bougie neighborhoods in New York, and shows no signs of abating. It has destroyed friendships, careers, and countless formerly-under-the-radar local landmarks. Here’s everything you need to know to about this dangerous new trend.

How Does It Work?

When someone has crafted an aspirational-yet-relatable online personality based on two or more intersecting interests - i.e., young mom in fashionable clothes; knitter with dogs; anodyne geek who enjoys books and coffee - and built up a few thousand followers, they can then monetize their various platforms by partnering with brands to create sponsored content, or “spon con.”

Who Is Susceptible To Influencing?

Primarily hot people between the ages 16 and 36, regardless of race, gender or sexual orientation (as long as they are hot).

Short Term Effects:

  • Loss of income as Influencers begin leaving work to visit Burning Man and Tulum.
  • A temporary “high” or “rush of validation” as they amass likes and followers. (However, habitual Influencers quickly build up a tolerance, requiring more and more engagement to feel anything at all.)
  • Even a small dose of Influencing can cause people describe all of their actions as “brave.” Posting a photo in a skimpy outfit, communicating with one’s parents, leaving the house: all “brave.”

Long Term Effects:

  • Vision loss due to eye strain from screen use.
  • Friend loss due to personality decay.
  • Complete collapse of individual identity, with brands taking the place of values.
  • Bankruptcy, leading to the creation of Patreon accounts, circumventing the spon con process and turning an Influencer’s life into a bizarre kind of game show wherein their paycheck depends on their popularity.
  • The accumulation of hundreds - sometimes thousands - of FabFitFun boxes.

A Former Influencer Says…

“It’s not worth it. I looked like a Bratz doll with all that makeup on, and it didn’t make me happy. Which is why I’ve pivoted my brand from beauty to health and wellness. Would you like to buy a crystal?”

Early Warning Signs That A Friend May Be Influencing:

  • Overuse of hashtags like “#letitflow” “#keepitreal” “#payattentiontome”.
  • The sudden appearance of multiple houseplants.
  • The sudden disappearance of ugly friends.

Getting Help: There is no cure for Influencing, but rehabilitation is possible. If you feel tempted to Influence, log out of all your accounts immediately. Repeat grounding mantras such as “I am a real person” and “my dog doesn’t need his own account, he’s a dog” and “look what happened to Mindy Kaling. She used to be so cool! Now she’s, like, selling shaving cream? Isn’t all shaving cream basically the same? What the fuck, Mindy?”

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