Influencers and celebrities during this time are becoming saviors for the distressed. Rational, responsible or relevant?
You open any social media platform and I assure, you would be swamped with requests for beds, oxygen cylinders, ambulances, ICUs and all other Covid-related materials. Families are all grief-stricken, pulling out all stops to save their loved ones. Social media, in this context, has become the ground-zero, for helping raise these requests, reaching to a plethora of individuals and reassuring that better times await.
Standing tall in these times are students, celebrities, leaders and influencers who are responding compassionately to these raging SOS requests. The role of social media influencers has been particularly pivotal here, given their reach, penetration, popularity and relevance to the platform. “Twitter and Instagram became the repository for oxygen cylinders and medicines during the second wave. Social media influencers retweeted, reposted, some of them even called the sources to authenticate before posting. It was a lot of selfless work and giving back through a medium they gained a lot from,” states Pratik Gour, Co-Founder and Head of Business Development and Campaign Management, Footprynt.
Koo’s Co-Founder, Mayank Bidawatka also agrees that the role of these influencers has become more important than ever. He asserts, “These are trust-based relationships and information is very well received when someone trust-worthy asks you to take an action.
While influencers are trying to help people through their reach, masses are reaching out to them for amplification. It wouldn't be wrong to say that the power of social media is being used in the right direction, in its true sense. Further, these influencers are also doing what they do the best- keeping the mood uplifted, creating content that is helping people to get through such a time.
“The whole community is coming together to help people in need in this time of distress and it is effective. Not just the Covid-specific information, but we are seeing global influencers who have started to raise funds,” shares Shuchi Sethi, India Lead, AnyTag.
‘But is this their attempt to be responsible internet users or yet another image-building exercise?’ we explore.
Bidawatka believes that as long as an influencer delivers a factually correct message, that can help the user stay safer, it’s a good thing. He doesn't see any intentions of image-building.
Giving us a more first-hand perspective, Pavitra Paruthi, Content Creator expresses, “Influencers amplifying these messages is first a human-thing, more than an influencer-thing. We have lost a lot of people around us. Using our platform to disseminate helpful resources is our little effort in saving lives.
While some may believe that it is an image-building exercise, it is eventually helping the society with verified leads and that is all that should matter.”
He goes on to add, “Till now, we have more than 1500 plasma donors across the country and around 200 verified oxygen suppliers. All of this has been possible because of the following that the influencers have.”
Are they seeking relevancy, by avoiding irrelevant or insensitive content?
“Positive and optimistic content is also important. But nothing loud nor crass,” advocate experts.
“It will be really silly to post insensitive content. If an influencer understands the power, he/she wields on social media, they will not post anything insensitive,” points Gour.
Bidawatka also supports that it’s important for people’s messaging to be relevant to the mood of the nation. Influencers sense the pulse of people’s mood by seeing what’s being discussed on a platform and to embrace and cater to that mood. “There’s a time and place for everything and while everyone is going through some sort of struggle either directly or indirectly, it’s very important for influencers to either be helpful by sharing some COVID related helpful information or stay low instead of posting something funny or irrelevant at a time when people aren’t in the mood for light content,” he says.
Experts approve that influencers are keeping a very healthy balance. They haven’t observed any influencers going all out or just talking about how they are doing a great job by enhancing the reach, they are very subtle about it. Gen Z & the millennial generation doesn’t really care about building an image in distress, they already have an image, which they are using for people’s advantage. In fact, they have seen so many influencers urging to not to do branded activities. Instead, act as a responsible user and give back to their followers.
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