Today, all of us are “influenced” by opinion leaders. Whether it’s a sportsman, a politician or an actor, many people directly or indirectly affect what we think, what we say and even what we buy.
In recent years, the figure of the influencer has gained prominence thanks to the rise of social networks such as Facebook and Instagram, and video platforms such as YouTube and TikTok. These are people who can be just like any of us and who recommend which products or services to consume, either on their own initiative or as a result of advertising campaigns.
However, in recent years, a new type of content creator has come to the forefront who, instead of recommending something to you, tries to convince you not to buy it. Their name? Disinfluencers. People who, like the influencers we all know, enjoy great popularity on social networks such as TikTok, but who function as catalysts of a general feeling of weariness towards the constant recommendation of products.
“Being constantly sold to is exhausting. Being told that everything is a miracle product is tiring,” says Dieux CEO Charlotte Palermino, interviewed by Wired. “A few years ago, TikTok seemed so authentic because it wasn’t serious,” Palermino says. “Brands weren’t investing a lot in creators. It was a fun space where there was no pressure. Now the pressure has reached a boiling point.”
Despite what one might believe, disinfluencers can also “practice” as influencers. This is the case of Palermino herself, who recommends skin care products on Instagram. By de-influencing, these creators aim to avoid impulse buying of products by users. “I have a graveyard of products in my bathroom and every night I use the same five,” Palermino comments.
Wired also talks about the evolution of the disinfluencer figure, and how brands, ironically, have begun to take advantage of their ever-increasing popularity. “I posted my first disinfluencer video on a Wednesday, and by Monday morning I had two packages on my doorstep. One of them I don’t know how they found me,” says marketing consultant Alyssa Kromelis, a popular disinfluencer with 123,000 followers on TikTok.
Despite the “negative influence” exerted by these types of influencers, who advocate more selective product purchases, industries such as beauty may not be affected by their actions. “I don’t think influencers materially affect the beauty industry in terms of decreased consumerism,” says Jessica DeFino a reporter who criticizes beauty products in her newsletter.
And it’s that “deflating” is a trend that, even with all its current popularity, could have its days numbered, according to DeFino: “Consumers always fall into the trap, and often take pride in it because they have adopted the aesthetic of ‘less,’ if not the ideology.”
Will this “trend” continue to grow, will disinfluencers end up “becoming the very thing they swore to destroy”, and will this trend disappear altogether? Only time will tell.