Social media has become a very accessible and easy way for people to keep up with not only friends and family, but people they admire as well (public figures.) Born out of the habitual consumption and use of social media are social media influencers. By definition, a social media influencer is a person who uses social media and has access to a rather large audience whom they may persuade by virtue of their authenticity and reach.
An important aspect of the formal definition of a social media influencer I want to highlight is the idea that they are all able to persuade through the use of their "authenticity."
On a social media platform such as Instagram, it's quite easy to alter the way people may look through the use of editing apps. Whether it be slight enhancements or drastic changes, it is altering nonetheless. Social media influencers– if trying to deceive which many do– have become editing pros, and are able to alter pictures of themselves in ways that display unrealistic beauty standards. The larger the following, the more people they're deceiving. However, this issue goes much deeper than deceit.
As a result of these unrealistic beauty standards set in place by so many social media influencers, there has been a huge emphasis placed on the importance of looking a certain way in society. Many times, people tend to follow social media influencers on Instagram simply because of their outer– often unachievable – beauty.
As more and more social media influencers are being praised for how good looking they may be, many people in their day to day lives become so consumed by how good they look on social media and how people perceive their looks. This deep emphasis on personal looks has led to many people becoming extremely vain, sometimes without them even realizing it.
The people being praised have an even deeper vanity issue that needs to be addressed as well. When people gain a mass following simply due to the way they look, it's very easy for it to get to their head. Walking around as if they are better than others and judging those who they don't consider to be 'on their level' not only makes other people feel inferior to them and possibly bad about themselves, but also closes this person off from friendships and people that may have a long-lasting and life-changing impact on their lives.
Beauty is about much more than someone's outer appearance. Consumption of social media needs to be done in a healthy, productive, and useful manner to avoid being sucked into what I like to call the "vanity trap."