What exactly is a celebrity, and what is an influencer? Our digital culture has somewhat blurred the lines between those two concepts. In previous generations, celebrities were people who entertained the masses. They sang and danced. We saw them on TV and at awards shows. That began to change when Paris Hilton came on the scene. In that era, the Kardashians became famous for doing whatever it is that they did in 2007. Then we had shows like The Hills proving that anyone can land a TV show if they’re willing to document every moment of their lives. These reality TV stars were seen at all the same spots that celebrities were. Does that make them celebrities as well?
What Does a Celebrity Offer?
Now, it’s sometimes impossible to tell who is a celebrity and influencer. Someone could be both at the same time. A quick Google search reveals that an “influencer” is someone who uses marketing skills to endorse products on social media. That’s only part of the truth. An influencer has to be already influencing people before brands trust them to endorse their products. An influencer has to possess baseline marketing skills already before they really begin marketing on social media. It’s quite a catch-22.
If you think about the benefit that celebrities have to society, it seems quite similar to the benefits influencers offer. Celebrities do more than entertain. They fill a void in our lives, whether we choose to admit that or not. Hollywood wouldn’t exist if we were all out there living fulfilling lives. Following people’s lives we see on the big screen is an easy way to fill the void. Hollywood culture, and the celebrities within it, fill in the gaps of our society. Without them, we would be bored out of our minds. An influencer offers the same sort of release.
Like anything else in our society, influencers were born out of a need for something. Paris Hilton was the original influencer, and Kim Kardashian followed suit. Many people hated them for having no talent. Everyone said they were famous for being famous. However, they had more brains than most people thought. Around the time that the Kardashians became famous, reality TV was having a moment. These shows about random people across the country allowed us to access parts of the world that were previously foreign. Because of reality TV, we learned what life is like on the Jersey Shore, in Laguna Beach, and in Calabasas. Influencers were born out of this fascination with different worlds.
Influencers show us that there are many ways to live. You can work a regular old 9-5, or you can be an entrepreneur of sorts and focus on growing your online presence. Neither option offers more to society than the other. Those who choose to focus on life online give us options to learn something new and be entertained in the process. It might be mindless entertainment, but that’s where were at as a society right now.
What do you think of celebrities and influencers? Sound off in the comments!