From The New Republic:
Researchers have produced mountains of studies on the motivations and rewards that drive the social media user. The craving for attention, the narcissistic self-referencing, the seeking-out of the digital mob for emotional sustenance: It all comes down to the basic human need to be validated by others—to be loved, that is.
With the Instagram influencer there appears to be a dual motivation: one psychological, one pecuniary. There are profits to be made as the influencer unveils to the world a body ripening in the sunshine. This figure is liberated from the tedious confines of office and home, from domestic and professional routine; is wild at heart, adventurous, exploring the loveliest places that nature has to offer. Meanwhile you, sad viewer, sit on your miserable device, in a weird stew of jealousy and longing, wanting to be in that place looking as lovely as the influencer.
This is, needless to say, the oldest trick in marketing and advertising: Associate the product with scenic landscapes and attractive people, and by a kind of sympathetic magic, one becomes as attractive by purchasing the product.
The most insidious of these influencers are those who operate under a veil of environmental concern and advocacy and an expressed love of the wilderness.
Image by Jens Karlsson via Flickr (cc)