Social media influencers are balancing ‘authentic’ messaging during protests and the pandemic – The Washington Post

“Posting regular content right now is irrelevant to me,” she said in an interview. “I’m trying my absolute best to educate myself the best I can.”

Social media influencers — who promote products or sell their own online to followers — have never been more visible than they have in the last three months as people stay at home and scroll through Instagram, TikTok and YouTube for hours during the coronavirus pandemic. Influencers hold outsize power to speak to their hundreds of thousands of followers, and often earn between $100 and more than $1,000 per post, depending on how big their following is.

The rise of influencers, who typically document huge swaths of their lives with videos and photos as they advertise for products ranging from makeup to mattresses to meals, has fundamentally changed the way many younger consumers shop. The group includes well-known names like the Kardashians and more niche accounts focused on organization, wellness or fashion. But just one well-placed post by an influencer with tens of thousands or even millions of followers can make or break a product — and even sell it out in seconds.

But as with many career fields, the global pandemic — and the subsequent protests that have swept the nation to support the Black Lives Matter movement — has fundamentally changed the way these influencers
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