Following Influencers: Are They Leading You or Chasing You?

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Social media platforms like IG, Xiaohongshu, and YouTube have made it possible for us to access a plethora of glamorous influencers. We find their lives exquisite and their ideas avant-garde, making us resonate with their speeches, attitudes, and opinions. We follow them with just a click, keeping up with their every move, believing that their lifestyles are ahead of ours. We feel that following them is like finding a lighthouse in the sea or a leading sheep in a flock. We believe that by following them, we can also live an exquisite life and become a wonderful person.
However, we seldom realize that from the influencers' perspective, they spend more time chasing after us. What we see from them is often a projection of our dream life in the real world. Take the recent trend of camping as an example. Many bloggers share their camping lives online, portraying it as a free and easy experience. We follow them to buy the corresponding equipment, find exquisite camping sites, and learn outdoor cooking. But the reality may be that more and more self-media have noticed people's inner desire for freedom during the pandemic lockdown, as they are unable to travel. Therefore, they see the demand for camping and produce a lot of articles and videos in this area that cater to our interests. So the influencers are always following the preferences of netizens and making corresponding content. The number of followers they get is actually because they guess the trend correctly. It has always been the supply meeting the demand.
This also explains why there are various theories in the world that cannot be scientifically verified, and why there are different opinions on the same topic. For instance, some influencers claim that eating meat can help you lose weight, while others suggest that giving up starch is the key to health. Similarly, some influencers advocate giving up meat and eating vegetarian for the best health. In fact, it is likely that influencers see the supporters of the corresponding theories in the market, and produce content accordingly.
On the other hand, many people also encourage being single, saying that in today's world, there is no need to settle, and being single is the true freedom and happiness. At the same time, many online contents support marriage, claiming that a good marriage brings the greatest happiness to life. Which theory is correct? The truth is that influencers follow our preferences and produce content accordingly.
The biggest problem with following the leading sheep is that we think we can find good food. But we don't know that the leading sheep just sees us lost and comes over to say he can take us to find food. In fact, he doesn't know where the good food is either. Therefore, we should take influencers' content with a grain of salt and be aware that they are following our preferences and producing content accordingly.
One thing we should keep in mind is that influencers are not necessarily experts in their fields. They may not have any professional training or education in the topics they discuss. Therefore, we should be cautious when relying solely on their opinions and advice. We should always do our own research and seek advice from professionals before making any major decisions.
Moreover, we should also be aware of the inherent bias that influencers may have. They may be sponsored or paid by companies to promote certain products or services, which may not necessarily be the best for us. Therefore, we should always read between the lines and be mindful of any potential biases.
Alright, so at the end of the day, influencers might look like they're the ones in charge, but in reality, they're just going along with what we want. They create stuff that aligns with our tastes and desires, and we should keep that in mind when we check out their content. It's always a good idea to do some digging on our own and ask real experts for guidance before we decide anything too important.

Original Post in Chinese

在 IG,小紅書,youtube上,你看到很多光鮮的網紅 (influencer)。你覺得他們的生活很精緻,想法很前衛。你對他們的生活,言論,態度,意見很有共鳴。所以你隨手就按下了 follow,跟緃他們。他們的生活往往感覺都領先了你,你 follow 他們就好像在大海裏找到燈塔,羊群找到領頭羊,順利過上精緻的生活,做個妙人。
用近期比較火的露營經濟來舉例,我們好像是看到有些博主在網上分享自己露營的生活,是多麽自由自在。我們跟着他們買上相應的用品,找到精緻的營地,學上戶外煮食。但事實可能是越來越多自媒體看到人們內心在疫情封城下,又不可出外旅遊。對自由有一種期盼。所以看見這個露營的需求,從而針對我們的興趣,做出很多這方面的文章,視頻。所以說是網紅一直在跟緃網民的喜好,然後製作出相應的內容。他們得到的跟緃人數,其實都是因爲他們猜對風向。一直都是 supply 在滿足 demand。
這也解釋到爲何世間充斥着各式各樣的理論,隻要無法用科學認證的,都會有各種各類的說法。例如你會找到很多 influencer 跟你解釋吃肉減肥,戒澱粉才是健康的。同一時間又會有很多 influencer 跟你說要戒葷,素食才是最健康的。諸如此類。其實很可能都是 influencer 看見巿場有相應理論的支持者,才做相應的內容去形合。
又例如網上有很多內容支持婚姻,好的婚姻才會帶給人生最大的幸福。但也同一時間有很多人鼓勵單身,說在現今世界已經無需將就,單身才是真正的自由快樂。那個才是對的理論?不要跟 influencer,因爲他們其實都在跟你。