The ultra-consumption lifestyle promoted by influencers is increasingly being criticized

Travel to the other end of the world, luxury hotels, clothes, cosmetics…: Influencers and influencers who propagate an ultra-consumption-oriented and anti-ecological lifestyle are being singled out more and more frequently. Their behavior is inconsistent with the ever-increasing incentives for sobriety.

There are thousands of accounts on social networks like that of Payton Sartain, an American influencer very popular on Youtube and Instagram, which stage holidays while offering clothing promotions.

This influencer marketing industry, already worth nearly $14 billion by some estimates, will continue to explode for one very simple reason, as Stéphanie Lukasik, PhD in Communication Sciences and author of The Influence of Opinion Leaders:

“Influence is based on a consumption model. Influencers make money from product placements. We’re dealing with overconsumption because we’re in a short-term space on social media and so we’re constantly producing new content and therefore need to constantly place products.”

affinity through similarity

There is another, more psychological reason: “The mechanism of influence is based on homophilia, i.e. on similarity. Young people in particular are sensitive to this similarity: they will unconsciously want to follow a content creator, an influencer, like them by buying this product. That’s why it works so well.”

By staging them in their everyday lives, influencers create a very strong emotional bond with their subscriber community, and brands have understood that.

Critics are on the rise

But the criticism is growing. There are even movements organizing to survey influencers about their practices. This is the case in France for the Paye Ton Influence collective, which was founded a few months ago and is very active on social networks, explained Amélie Deloche, 27, one of its co-founders.

“We realized that influencers ultimately perpetuate lifestyles and consumption models that are totally opposed to climate issues. They influence an entire generation to continue their lifestyle and consumption models. Our goal is to wake them up, make them aware that today they have a responsibility, they have to reclaim their influence in the context of the climate emergency.”

We have found that influencers end up perpetuating lifestyles and consumption models that are staunchly opposed to climate issues.

Amélie Deloche, influenced by the Paye ton collective

For Amélie Deloche, influencers can make a difference “if they follow a certain ethical charter in their partnerships, such as working with certain industries or companies that reject the environment”.

Some influencers have changed their behavior, such as Maria Lopez, aka enjoyphoenix, 5.6 million followers on Instagram, who defines herself as a “content creator” rather than an influencer. But his case remains ultra-minority and ultra-discreet, because speaking out also means losing partnerships.

Sell ​​and sell

However, according to Laurence Allard, professor of sociology at the University of Lille, it’s always about the sale, even if it’s “local”. The goal of influencers is to “sell and sell by showing up, taking the stage, and getting paid for it.”

The model is therefore likely to continue as is unless there is real opposition from users.

There are more and more of these to be found, which has made Instagram a gigantic shopping mall. However, a legal transformation of Instagram or Tik Tok is inefficient, the model can only develop further if we also educate consumers about the mechanisms of these platforms, says Stéphanie Lukasik.

The collective paye ton influence but also other sites like bonpote started it.

Francesca Argiroffo/lan

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