Social media influencers are actually speaking politics
Social media influencers, who typically use their popularity to integrate products, services, and experiences, are under pressure to take political positions.
Travel blogger Ankita Kumar, known as @ monkey.inc, says the trend is new. “By the end of last year, people were okay with influencers sticking to their niche.”
When the debate about the Citizenship Amendment Act arose, she began to actively post about politics. “It felt like I had a responsibility,” she says.
She received threats of murder and rape while protesting against the ruling party’s line. “It took me some time to get used to it, but it helped block those sending these threats,” she says.
Lifestyle blogger Deena Pinto aka @skinnygirldiariez says lifestyle, fashion and makeup bloggers, especially women, tend to be pigeonholed and seen as incapable of making informed political opinions.
“When I talk about economics or politics, a lot of people always say, ‘What do you know? Stick to the lifestyle ‘. I have a degree in finance and when I tell them they usually stop, ”she says.
On the other hand, there are times when followers ask influencers to speak up. “I remember posting a fitness video on Instagram during the Kerala floods and someone asked how I could post things like this if my home state was flooded,” fitness blogger Karthika Anand, @kartasian, says on Instagram.
Karthika wants to hold on to her expertise and sees no point in sharing posts “pointlessly”. “Reading takes time and effort. If I have a passion for a topic, I will read it up and talk about it, ”she says.
Deena adds that the important thing is to be well read, rather than just making sure the information you post is accurate. “Most of the time I have to defend my position and discuss it, and in order to do that I have to be informed about all aspects of a problem,” she explains.
Ankita believes that being apolitical is no longer an option. “Everything is political. Can’t say I’m happy in my niche as a travel blogger. Travel is political. So keeping silent on these matters is not the way to go, ”she explains.
Deena agrees, but understands why people shy away from it. “For most of us, our social media platforms are our sources of income. Our follower counts and brand deals play a big role in this. We tend to lose both as our content becomes increasingly political, ”she says.
She tries to counteract this by creating political content that matches the brand image she created for herself. “I realized that posting messages leads to more people getting upset. That’s why I post meme-like content that still communicates the core idea, ”she explains.
Deena admits that politics takes a back seat when her regular workload increases. And Ankita doesn’t want politics to adopt its content.
“I’ll talk about current events, but I’ll choose my battles. Ultimately, I’m a travel blogger, not a news agency, ”she concludes.