I’ve held my tongue, and I’m not completely sure why. The recent political shift had really exposed some of the influencers I follow on IG. On the night(s) of the 2020 election, I viewed so many IG stories to check in on my virtual friends as the nation literally sat on pins and needles waiting to find out who won. In the influencing world, it’s basically the norm to ignore politically heavy agenda items or hide the party you support due to the fragility of landing future brands and business collaborations.
I’ve DM’d one influencer, in particular, asking why she intentionally skirts around the hella obvious social injustices and the disregard for Black lives, but claims to be a person of color, yet only used the BLM local protest for a photo op. We’ve all seen them, they’ve posted that little black square on their IG feed in June of 2020 (maybe took it down by now), and never again showed that they ever cared. We’ve gotten to the point where social pressures you to not “seem” like an asshole while still not understanding that BLM is not just some chant.
The night(s) of the election, I watch all of these white women lifestyle influencers fall in line with the same code of ethics that other were doing.
Step 1: Show off your “I Voted” sticker and state how excited you are to watch the poll results.
Step 2: As the results began to cut close, call on your followers to pray for the nation.
Step 3: As Joe Biden is declared the winner, start sending out kumbayah messages like, “Whatever the results may be, let’s just remember to love one another.”
Step 4: Literally one day after the final results are announced, they waste no time in showing you their latest skincare routine, or a new meal they’re trying from Trader Joe’s today.
When people post their lives on social media, it becomes too easy to understand what THEY align with. For instance, liking only Trump-related hashtags in the comments of posts, or driving a distinguishable vehicle with Trump stickers in a relatively small town. We’ve gotten far beyond politics to a point where people are harshly judged for their party alignment on both sides however this is not a disagreement of policies, but rather the humanity of life, responsibility for what Americans deserve, and condemning white supremacy. Beyond that, when influencers preach the word of the Bible, Christianity, or religion to use as a blanket temporary solution for when there’s racial turmoil or domestic terrorism, please know this does NOT count towards your participation point of the day. If you can speak on live for 1 hour about your “day in the life of a stay at home mom,” then you can say more than a one-liner about the 2 different Americas we just witnessed on January 6th. Anyone can steal a religious-based Pinterest post to add to their stories and never add any other commentary.
Instagram allows us to connect with endless people larger than our hometowns. Attempts like the ones listed are beneath lazy, especially when you’ve been granted a large platform with numerous followers. Teetering the line of what to post, when to do it, and what to say is governed by the account owner, but if worrying about your influencer status is limited by sharing your views on current issues- who do you really work for? And what do these promoted brands really support? What about “keeping it real” with your followers?
We all have a huge role in buying power, especially social media influencers. If we truly knew the values and beliefs of more influencers pushing brands, I’m sure we would question our support. I make a number of purchases based on IG reviews and promotions from influencers, but now more than ever I’m doing research on the brand/company. I shouldn’t even be shocked, but most of these promoted brands don’t have a word to say about diversity, inclusivity, or BLM, especially around Summer 2020. As we prepare for 2021 to come with some bullshit, do not feel too flabbergasted to continue doing absolutely nothing, just offering prayers and thoughts, or quickly switching the topic.
Engage! We have the tools at our fingertips in addition to a literal question box that can be posted on stories. Kindly calling them out in 2021.