I am part of a very small & rare percentage of Instagram users that does not follow Influencers professional or personally on the app. It is so rare, in fact, that I cannot find a true percentage of Instagram users who do not follow Influencers. I trace this lack of following, back to my original days of Facebook in college when I would go through all my “friends” and remove people I could not immediately recognize every two-three months. Back then my actual friends would make fun of this bimonthly chore. Weird, as it might have been during the time when adding as many friends as you could was the “thing to do”, I felt that it was a non-genuine experience. Fast forward 10 years, I feel the same about following Instagram Influencers.
“It’s not cool anymore to be manufactured.”
While I may be on an island of my own by not following any influencers, Gen Z is snubbing the original Influencer branding as well. Gen Z influencers, are rejecting the originator Influencer mentality that dictated all pictures fit their personal brand, style & signature look. This “generic” approach does not satisfy this younger generation of Instagram users. In fact, they are doing the exact opposite. The less perfect, messier, off “brand” the photo is, the better! Gen Z is taking the path of genuine and real photos, without the photoshopping or filters that make you look tan.
This new anti-trend for Gen Z is logical when we consider the prolificacy of the “Instagram vs Reality” culture. Even a global pandemic cannot fully stop the show pony Millennial Influencer. Pictures of idyllic foreign sunset have been on hiatus; but they have been replaced by picturesque meadows or completed backyard DIY sanctuaries. This younger generation has seen the negative effects that come with keeping up with the “Instagram Perfect” aesthetic and witnessed the toll it has taken on their Millennial siblings, relatives or friends. Numerous studies have been published about the adverse side effects of social media on mental health. The constant access to “picture perfect” lives publicized by Millennial Influencers is associated with higher diagnosis in anxiety and depression. Learning from the Millennial Influencer mistakes, GenZers are rebelling against the Instagram Perfect culture, creating their own anti-culture, preferring the true “ugly” reality to the filter delusion.
While this is an encouraging trend for many to see, it still has not persuade me to click follow on any of these uprising Influencer accounts, but crazier things have happened in 2020.