I’d like to start off with a disclaimer: This is not a post hating influencers, a lot of them are amazing, talented and generally do an amazing job, but it’s more a commentary on how we no longer trust them as much as we used to.
Times have changed a lot when it comes to influencers and how much power they had over their audiences. Before the time of gossip channels and phrases like ‘spilling the tea’, we tended to trust their opinions and views on products a lot more. We knew about paid sponsorships and deals but we honestly believed that the influencer would give us their honest opinion.
Remember when Jeffree Star hyped the Sleek highlighter pallets? After one mention you wouldn’t be able to find them in store as people would rush to buy every single one. Now, I’m not saying those highlighters weren’t good, but for my melanin infused readers – did we need the purple colour in that palette?
This used to happen so frequently that brands felt like they had a new level of power when it came to using social media, other products that were hyped up include LA Girl Pro Concealer and the famous Laura Mercier setting powder.
With each hyped product came the stream of people exposing influencers for lying or being paid off. Although people have always outed bloggers, when they all sold their souls to Morphe that’s when it really came out. It’s hard to act like some cheap brushes are amazing quality when floods of pictures showing them not performing circulate the internet.
Because of the air of mistrust, gossip channels had a boom and broke down the level of trust we used to have as consumers. By exposing the shady deals and highlighting their case with evidence, we were forced to actually think more critically about influencers.
Personally, I’ve been that person who has brought a product because an influencer recommended it and it doesn’t always end well. I don’t mind if it’s not too expensive but sometimes they are – and sometimes they suck. So since my wallet was personally attacked by all of this I’ve lost a lot of trust in reviews, because they can all be finessed to promote a product better.
It’s important to remember that not all bloggers are in the wrong. People still have to pay their bills and to be honest some sponsorships change their lives for the better, so they should definitely get that coin. The issue only comes when they promote bad products that are not even worth the time of day.
It’s interesting comparing influencers relationships with their audiences over the past 5 years, because before we were all quite naive to everything. We fell for their personalities and believed that no one would peddle horrible products. Now we’re overcritical, and it’s not helped by cancel culture at all.
Overall it’s important to remember that influencers have a job to do, and regardless of the product, it’s important to do research beforehand and maybe get a sample size if it’s every possible.