The appeal and dangers of social media influencers

Local News

SPRINGFIELD, Mo.– A social media influencer is someone who influences a large number of people.

“People develop emotional relationships with characters that they see on tv, online and social media,” said Professor of Media Journalism Andrew Cline. “The internet age has made it rather efficient to find things that we’re looking for quickly.”

Cline says this can make us susceptible to receiving lousy information.

“I think it requires us to be much better critical thinkers about the media and social media we consume.”

He says we are far more likely to buy into a product or idea than we might think.

“That’s why they’re called an influencer, you feel emotionally connected, they are influencing you,” said Cline.

Dietician and Owner of Bright Sky Nutrition, Donna Webb, says social media influence also holds true for things like fad diets.

“We are less likely to believe facts and more likely to believe what our tribe thinks,” said Webb. “It’s this groupthink, so I think people need to be aware of that.”

Webb says it’s never a good idea to jump into something just because everyone else is doing it.

“Depending on what kinds of medications people are on or other maybe diagnosis they have, they could be dangerous,” said Webb.

She says to always seek out the advice of a medical professional first.

However, half of Millennials say they trust influencers on product recommendations.

Both Cline and Webb encourage you to vet out these sources before jumping on board.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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