Social Media Influencers: What Is Their Responsibility?

Social+Media+Influencers%3A+What+Is+Their+Responsibility%3F

Amelia Perrin

The recent instances of police brutality, marches for racial equality, political chaos, and global pandemic are fueling people to use social media in new ways. At the click of a button, you can share your own opinion regarding current issues. Although many influencers are using their social media platforms to spread awareness, not all are. Should influencers be expected to speak up about current issues, and does posting online actually make a difference or should influencers extend past the click of a button?

During the pandemic, Instagram, TikTok, and various other platforms have become a place where many teenagers speak their mind and seek information about current events. Typically, teenagers check their favorite influencers’ accounts on a weekly basis to see what they have to say. However, when they aren’t posting, assumptions can be made. Sophomore Anay Sharma says,“There is a negative presumption that when an influencer doesn’t speak out on an issue, they are automatically against it.” However, Sharma tries to stray away from this presumption because “activism should extend far beyond a post.” 

Another tenth grader, Lauren Baxter, agrees with Sharma. She believes that teenagers sometimes falsely assume that an influencer’s silence means that they do not care about these issues. Baxter also adds that “influencers with one million-plus followers can make change through a post. However, signing petitions, donating, going to marches, and educating yourself has a bigger impact.” 

Sharma makes it clear that influencers who occasionally post should not get the satisfaction of saying they spread awareness. He says that “if your social advocacy starts and stops at the click of a button, you are not allowed to praise yourself as a social justice advocate. Instead, the term should be reserved for those fighting these battles rather than people who are posting behind a screen.”   

Spreading awareness is more important than ever, and social media is the new teenage outlet. There is an expectation that influencers should share their opinions and speak up during this crisis we all call 2020. Whether it is signing a petition, going to a march, posting to spread awareness, or educating yourself, there is something everyone can do. Influencers must demonstrate activism to be a positive influence and an inspirational role model for their audiences.