Are Influencers the New Celebrities? Let’s Debate

Photo from whatstrending.com

Over time, there have been many influential figures in our society. In our generation, most of those figures come in the form of influencers. Influencers, to put it simply, are people who influence an audience through brands, promotions and endorsements. Most influencers originated from social media platforms such as YouTube, Instagram and TikTok. Recently, influencers have started to become popular in the mainstream media. With this increasing popularity, the thought of whether influencers are becoming the new celebrities comes into play.

This debate was ignited following a tweet published by Instagram influencer Nikita Dragun earlier this month.

Tweet from @NikitaDragun on Twitter

Aside from her tweet receiving mixed reviews, this has expanded the discussion of whether influencers are becoming the new generation of celebrities.

What Is A Celebrity?

Before VALLEY gets into the discussion of influencers, let’s look into what makes a celebrity a celebrity.

The main aspect that makes a person a celebrity is in the specific things that they do very well. Whether they are the star in a movie or TV show, have an album that is at the top of the charts or simply have a business that provides products that the public loves, they are garnering attention from their successes. They are people who became famous through the fields of entertainment, music, sports, business and more. The most common examples of celebrities today are Oprah Winfrey, Mariah Carey, Michael Jordan and Elon Musk.

What Is An Influencer?

On the contrary, an influencer is a person who primarily uses their following to have any influence or persuasion over their audience. The difference between an influencer and a celebrity is the way they both build their influence. Celebrities get their influence through the admiration they recieve from the public because of their successes in the specific fields they go into. Influencers tend to get their influence through the content they publish on social media, mostly because that can lead to partnerships, deals or endorsements. The most common examples of influencers today are Charli D’Amelio, Lele Pons, Liza Koshy and Zach King.

The Debate

With the differentiation and the basic defitnitions out of the way, can influencers technically be considered celebrities? Yes and no. According to Forbes, celebrities can be influencers, but not all influencers can be celebrities. The reason for this is that influencers are influencers because their main purpose is to promote brands through the use of influencer marketing. Their main following isn’t built on admiration for what they do. Celebrities, however, can become influencers if they wanted to, because companies can use their following to help endorse their products while also doing the thing they are most known for. 

To help explain this further, take the example of LeBron James, a famous athlete most known for being a successful basketball player in the NBA —aka a celebrity. James has been a part of many endorsement deals, including Nike, McDonald’s, Dunkin’ Donuts and Beats by Dre, while still playing for the NBA.

Photo from Headphonesaddict.com

Influencers, however, with the deals and endorsements that they do, will most likely not achieve the same celebrity status due to the fact that their main influence is through marketing with different companies and brands, not through admiration.

An example of this is Addison Rae; she has a great following through TikTok, and she is endorsed by several brands including Uptown Cheapskate and McCary’s Jewelers. Even though she has debuted her own song and starred in Netflix’s re-vamped version of “She’s All That,” she still isn’t considered a celebrity. This is because her main source of following is her influence from brands and TikTok. It is for this reason that the public’s recent negative response to her attendance at high-profile events makes sense, because she does not have any channel other than endorsements.

However, there are rare instances where a few influencers can scratch the surface of becoming a celebrity. Emma Chamberlain is the perfect example of this. Yes, she did start out as an influencer on YouTube, and she has had endorsements in the fashion industry that include Louis Vuitton and Calvin Klein. Regardless, she has attained a quality that celebrities have developed— admiration from her following and the public. This has most likely grown because of her personality shown in her YouTube videos that emulate an honest lifestyle for fans to enjoy. This is probably why, unlike Addison Rae, her recent attendance at high-profile events has been positively received.

Do you think influencers are becoming the new celebrities? Tweet us, @VALLEYmag, and let us know your thoughts!

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