With the ever-growing popularity of social media, anyone with internet access has the ability to grow a following and share their life online. However, as a result of the huge growth in social platforms, a culture in “cancelling” public figures has taken shape.
What does it mean to be “#Cancelled”?
Cancel culture or being “#cancelled” is essentially an online punishment given to influencers, creators, celebrities, brands (etc) after unforgivable mishaps in the form of mass public shaming. Being involved in cancel culture has become hugely popular online to the point that in August 2019 YouTube rounded off all subscriber numbers to stop viewers watching the rise and fall in cancelled creators’ followers.
Prior to the recent popularity in cancel culture, being “cancelled” was in fact just a colloquial term used by twitterers in relation to something ‘cringeworthy’ done by a public figure. Then cancel culture was almost harmless… but is this still the case?
The rise of cancel culture.
In May 2019, one of the biggest influencer feuds occurred. Social media stars James Charles and Tati Westbrook took to YouTube to essentially ‘expose’ and ‘cancel’ each other for an audience of millions. James Charles, a 21-year-old beauty influencer with a now subscriber count of 22.8 million, was quickly ‘#cancelled’ by the internet after Tati’s (GlamLifeGuru) efforts to take down his career amid speculation of predatory behavior. Internet users saw James’ subscriber count fall drastically from 16.5 million to just under 14 million in 72 hours with the hashtags “#JamesCharlesIsCancelled” and “#JamesCharlesIsOverParty trending over all social platforms for days. This may be the biggest example of a cancelled public figure; although it was certainly not the first and most definitely wasn’t the last.
“So what?” you may ask, “it’s only followers”. Cancel culture results in huge public relations scandals for those involved, it is no longer about the drop in followers and frankly the least of their worries.
From a PR and business perspective, being cancelled is your worst nightmare. To you or me it may seem like nonsense, it’s only losing a few million followers and life goes on but to a public figure it is ‘social suicide’. As a result of being ‘#cancelled’ these influencers and figures lose huge contracts with brands as these brands are now skeptical of damaging their own image by supporting these deemed cancelled individuals. For example, another beauty industry creator Laura Lee was previously cancelled by the internet for her past racist comments over twitter. As a result, Laura lost ties with several major sponsors and even had her makeup line revoked from beauty retailer ‘Morphe’ indefinitely.
One of the biggest mainstream cancels this year was J.K Rowling for her transphobic and misogynistic comments; an unexpected scandal that kick started a wider cancel culture debate. Should we allow cancel culture and is it ethical? The pros of cancel culture can seem obvious to most as the public can seek accountability for inexcusable actions, in particular where the justice system has failed. For example, looking at the #metoo movement, cancel culture allows abusers to be cancelled as we saw with Harvey Weinstein. On the other hand, anti-cancel culture individuals highlight the increase in online bullying that leads to violence and threats often worse than the wrongdoing they’re calling out to begin with. Many cancelled individuals reveal the death threats and violent warnings they receive from internet trolls while being cancelled, and often confess to suicidal thoughts and PTSD as a result, like James Charles did during his scandal. So are we taking cancel culture too far? Is cancel culture even productive or is it just toxic?
Elise Ralph is a final year BSc in Communication Management & Public Relations student at Ulster University. She can be found on LinkedIn
It is undeniable that social media has become an obligatory part of our everyday lives. According to wearesocial.com, more than 3.8 billion people use social media in 2020. *MIND-BLOWN*
A major element of modern social media is influencers. Influencers are individuals who build a following on social media, based on their opinions and expertise on a specific topic, most commonly fashion, fitness or beauty related. Influencers post regularly, generating huge exposure from their loyal followers.
Molly-Mae Hague, you either know everything about her, or nothing at all. That is the beauty of influencers; megastars to their interested audience but not quite A-Lister household names. Molly-Mae is a 21-year-old, Social Media Influencer from Hertfordshire, who rose to fame in 2019 as a contestant on the UK hit series, Love Island.
Love Island has been known as a ‘gateway’ for Social Media Influencers to gain a higher following, overpowering the shows initial goal of finding ‘love’. Molly-Mae did not shy away from this and has since openly admitted that initially Love Island was simply a “business venture” to further her career in Influencer Marketing.
Molly-Mae’s career has gone from strength to strength, making her the most successful contestant to leave the show. This however is no accident, it is a result of meticulous planning, content creating and professional endeavours.
Upon leaving the villa, Molly-Mae’s business venture had already proven extremely successful, with all of the UK top clothing brands aiming to secure a deal with her. After considering her options, Molly-Mae signed an incredible £500,000 deal with Manchester based fashion company, Pretty Little Thing. This was the highest brand deal a 2019 Love Island contestant generated.
As Molly-Mae’s Pretty Little Thing collaboration rolled out, the brand found their sales increase dramatically, with the range selling out immediately. This therefore resulted in Molly Mae receiving another six-figure deal to extend the collaboration for an extra six months.
Molly-Mae donated all profits from one of her Pretty Little Thing collections to the mental health charity MIND following the death of friend and Love Island host, Caroline Flack. MIND provide advice and support to empower anyone experiencing mental health problems. The charity campaigns to improve services, raise awareness and promote understanding surrounding mental health.
The decision to donate all profits to MIND was a personal decision for Molly-Mae, due to the death her close friend. Doing this allowed Molly-Mae to use her huge platform to promote the importance of mental health awareness and understanding. Molly-Mae engages with a lot of young people through her social media following, maintaining a positive reputation and a high level of influence. It is important to target her following with important issues, encouraging them to speak out about their mental health.
On the back of her partnership with Pretty Little Thing, it was clear that Molly-Mae was a big hit. To ensure she captured her success at a high point, Molly-Mae decided to embark on her very own business venture. With a target audience in mind, through commitment and dedication, she successfully launched her very own tanning brand, Filter by Molly-Mae.
Filter is a collection of tanning products. However, some eager eyed fans have noticed the brand is listed on Endole as a ‘wholesale of perfume and cosmetics’, which gives them the rights to expand the range into a cosmetic and beauty brand. This expansion has been successfully carried out by many brands. Local brand bPerfect Cosmetics did exactly this, expanding their tanning brand into a makeup cosmetics line and most recently, opening a Mega Store in Belfast City Centre. *No pressure Molly-Mae*
In September 2020, Molly-Mae hit the significant milestone of one million subscribers on her ever-growing Youtube channel, where she documents her life through daily vlogs, behind the scenes on business ventures as well as hair, makeup and fashion tutorials.
It could be argued that Youtube is an extremely vital part in Molly-Mae’s success. Her loyal followers were introduced to her through Love Island, a TV show that followed her daily life, every day, for over two months. Therefore, people may feel that they know Molly-Mae on a more personal level and her Youtube ensures this relationship is continued.
To celebrate this milestone, Molly-Mae launched a huge giveaway on her Instagram account. This giveaway boasted £8,000 worth of prizes, with Louis Vuitton bags, Apple gadgets, as well as her tanning products from Filter by Molly-Mae.
Giveaways are an immediate way to create engagement on social media, with many influencers participating in brand collaboration giveaways. Collaborations benefit both the brand and the influencer, with brand specific prizes and entry requirements that increase following and engagement for both.
Molly-Mae decided to cut out the ‘middle-man’ and set up the giveaway on her own. This allowed her to include authentic prizes that were directly related to her personality, her brand and her followers’ interests. Doing this also allowed Molly-Mae to stay clear of the typical, robotic perception that comes with giveaways. She ensured her caption was sincere, including a message of gratitude to existing followers.
The entry requirements on the giveaway were as follows:
Like this post & tag a friend
Subscribe to my Youtube channel
Make sure you’re following @mollymaehague and @filterbymollymae
Share this post to your story for a bonus entry
These entry requirements ensured multi-networking which generated a high level of engagement, increasing social media following, as well as building brand awareness for Filter by Molly-Mae.
The giveaway also created headlines for the tabloids, keeping Molly-Mae in the public eye. It is very important that influencers show commitment and dedication to content creation in order to maintain their public image. This is especially important in 2020, with events, launches and media appearances being minimal due to COVID-19.
Molly-Mae’s vision for the future was impeccable and the aim of this giveaway was certainty achieved, with the total entry level reaching almost THREE MILLION, her personal Instagram gaining over 200,000 new followers and 300,000 new Youtube subscribers.
Both her personal Instagram and Youtube account will benefit greatly from this surge in followers through an increase of sponsored posts as well as an increase in earnings through social media insights and engagements.
The biggest success to come out of the giveaway has been the increase in Instagram followers for her tanning brand. Filter by Molly-Mae gained a mind-blowing 500,000 followers and counting. Yes, that is correct – 500,000!
Social media giveaways are an effective way to generate engagement with a loyal, existing audience, as well as a way to reach out to new people. Molly-Mae utilised people’s desire to participate in competitions to increase engagement for her new brand, Filter by Molly-Mae. She done this at a time where her fame and engagement were high, gaining public exposure at a time where this is limited.
To be sure she obtains the benefits of her giveaway and retains the increase in engagement, it is essential that Molly-Mae develops strategic communication tactics to build a relationship with new followers, as they are not required to continue following her once the competition has ended. It is important that she remains consistent, sharing user generated content, as well as asking for feedback and recommendations.
As soon as the winner of the giveaway was announced, Molly-Mae was already forward-planning, building excitement for the next one on social media. This is the perfect way to keep followers, old and new interested. However, if the next prize is anything like the first… who wouldn’t be interested?
I have a good feeling about the next one… if you see me out and about in the near future with a 4-piece Louis Vuitton luggage set or Apple gadget bundle… thanks Molly-Mae!
Ellen Turbett is a final year BSc Communication Management and Public Relations student at Ulster University. She can be found on Instagram and LinkedIn.
Sadly, it’s doesn’t. But the headline caught your eye didn’t it?
You might have heard the term ‘Fake news’ being thrown around lately, or perhaps from Donald Trump, as it is one of his favourite phrases! Fake news is essentially misinformation that is spread online as real news. I suppose you could say its big news right now as there has been a significant amount of it during this pandemic, however with so much media circulating about COVID-19, how do we know what is true anymore?
According to a survey by Statista (2020), almost 64% of UK respondents came across a false story at least once a day in the space of a week during September. In my opinion, this is absolutely crazy, how is fabricated news allowed to be shared across platforms millions of us use?
A new study by MIT in 2018 found that false news spreads more rapidly on the social platform Twitter than real news does and not because of any algorithms or technology, it’s all down to users retweeting it and sending it onto their pals. No doubt this has increased over the past two years!
Spreading inaccurate information online is more dangerous than we think, throughout the pandemic I personally have stumbled across many fake news articles and seen plenty of users sharing it across networks like Facebook. In concerning and tough times like this, reading a headline such as “Coronavirus is a Hoax” (I WISH!!) can have a massive impact on someone’s mental health if they believe this, especially when they are being kept from seeing loved ones and being told to stay inside.
We have seen the impact fake news has had on political campaigns in America back in 2016, where it has been used and abused to target vulnerable people and influence their political opinions, which is why I feel more needs to be done about how to combat it – If this comes as a surprise to you, I would advise watching The Great Hack on Netflix!
So, what are social media platforms doing about it?
We use Instagram, Facebook and Twitter every day, so surely these big tech companies have a part to play in stopping the spread of false news? Well, they have previously turned a blind eye to the matter however, recently many have been taking action.
Facebook has vowed that they will continue to use fact checkers to review misinformation and then remove the fake news or perhaps sometimes, conspiracy theories. For example, at the start of the year when coronavirus began to spread, Facebook focused on removing false stories surrounding cures and treatment for the virus including “Avoid spicy food to avoid infection”– which was obviously not true. They also blocked certain hashtags on their platform Instagram which were linked to the topic.
YouTube also took it upon themselves to remove any videos that include misleading information about vaccines and that contradict local health authorities like the NHS or World Health Organisation (WHO).
And like I mentioned before, fake news has become the centre of previous election campaigns, and recently Twitter banned accounts which had been tweeting spam in relation to Donald Trump, which is against Twitters rules.
What can WE do?
Do a quick search on Google or Twitter. By doing this you can see if it’s came from a trusted source or if anyone else has questioned it. For any stories regarding COVID-19, only listen to health organisations like the NHS or WHO.
If you’re unsure if a social media post is fake news or not, don’t like, comment or share it – this can increase your chances of seeing more fake news as social media platforms like to show us more of what we interact with. The more engagement a post like this receives, the more likely it’s seen as something relevant.
If it does in fact turn out to be fake news, report it! You can do this on any social media site, the World Health Organisation has published a great guide on their website which can help you do this.
And lastly, just think before you share! Sometimes it can be hard to resist a click bait headline but try get used to reading trusted sources instead of what Sandra might have shared to her 200 followers (No offence to any Sandra’s out there) …
To sum it up, I think it’s scary to see how fast false information spreads these days and, in my opinion, it’s ruining people’s opinions on real journalism as they jump to believe the false article they just read on Facebook rather than the actual facts. There is definitely more work to be done here by social media platforms to stop the spread of fake news but for now, we can only look out for the warning signs!
Shauna McKillop is a final year BSc in Communication, Advertising & Marketing student at Ulster University. She spent her placement year at The Tomorrow Lab in Belfast, where she continues to work as a junior digital marketing executive. Shauna can be found on: LinkedIn and Twitter.
You Tubers. I mean, I would imagine that most would be aware of what a You Tuber is nowadays but incase you have indeed been living under a rock for the last 10 years, here is a quick explanation of what exactly a You Tuber is…
The explanation of a You Tuber tends to split todays society in half as the definition can vary between two. For example:
Sourced by the ever so trustworthy Urban Dictionary…
‘SomeoneWhoMakesDefinitions’ defines a YouTuber as “Someone who uploads You Tube videos, particularly someone who has some what of a fan base. Although it can mean anyone in YouTube, it specifically means someone who makes videos.” Whilst, ‘AKACroatalin’, defines a You Tuber as “Someone who posts clips or pontificates on You Tube. Usually a brain-dead nonentity with no friends who is idolised by cretinous preteens who have no life.”
You can make up your own mind.
It may seem surprising that this activity even pays enough to be taken as a full-time job but it is important to understand that the figures vary depending on many different factors. For most You Tube channels, it can take more than a few years before they start seeing a consistent income through the use of online advertising, sponsored brand posts via Instagram and by earning money through their amount of views per video.
British beauty and fashion vlogger, Zoe Sugg, better known as Zoella has an estimated net worth of £2.5 Million as of 2019. She first began her channel in 2009 and currently has almost 5 Million subscribers to her main channel.
According to CelebsNow, You Tube vloggers earn approximately ‘£0.0007 per view’ and Zoella’s channels average out to 22 million clicks per month, resulting to monthly earnings of £15,000. CelebsNow also reported that her written blog Zoella.co.uk makes around £4,000 per month from ads alone, with approximately 7.4 million clicks each month. Zoe & her boyfriend, Alfie Deyes who also happens to be a YouTuber even have their own wax figures in Madame Tussauds, London!
I have actually seen these in real life and I can confirm, they are just as creepy in real life as they are in this picture.
But where is the downfall with all of this? Why should we be worried about young children aspiring to be You Tubers?
Due to the likes of Zoella and many others, you may find that a large amount of young teens today when asked ‘What do you want to be when you grow up?’, they will answer ‘A YouTube Star’.
A recent survey by LEGO & Harris to mark the 50th anniversary of the moon landing showed that children were three times more likely to want to become a YouTube Star than an astronaut. Only 11% of 8-12 year olds said that they wanted to work for NASA whilst 29% said they wanted to show their life through content online. Five of the top ten earning You Tubers in 2018 were men who filmed themselves playing video games which results in thousands of young boys having a new ambition – playing video games. This is something that’s widely seen as grim.
“Gone are the days when children dreamed of becoming doctors and nurses – today’s children want to become You Tubers and vloggers,” wrote the Daily Mail in 2017.
And to be honest, I find this is absolutely terrifying! I fully understand that it can be a great outlet for those who flourish when it comes to creativity but we all know how hateful the online world can be and how much of an effect it has on large amount of people’s mental health, especially young people! Some may argue that it’s no different than a child wanting to become a famous athlete, singer or actor but I disagree. People in these jobs can switch off, however, You Tubers & Social Influencers cannot as their life is online.
Children and young teen’s interests no longer lie with getting outside to play with their friends and roll in the mud as quickly as they possibly can, it’s all about getting onto their iPads and iPhones to look up their next You Tube video.
All I can say is that I will forever be thankful that I was born in 1997 and somewhat avoided the deep dark hole of social media at a young age.
Laura Magennis is a final year BSc in Communication Management and Public Relations Student at Ulster University. She can be found on LinkedIn at linked.com/in/laura-magennis-035529157/
Hello friends, and welcome to this episode of… my blog!! This episode of ‘the blog’ is brought to you, by the motherf@*king cash app, number 1 on the app store.
If you don’t get that reference, well, hopefully you will, soon. Along with a few other sayings.
I never realised how convenient podcasts were until one of my work colleagues introduced me to them and to the man himself, Joe Rogan. And I am forever grateful for him. The man covers everything and anything. From podcasts about your health, fitness and hot yoga, (one of his favourites) to anything to do with conspiracies, evolution and DMT. So be prepared for a whirlwind of content.
The man believes in aliens. Yes, ALIENS, and had Bernie Sanders on the podcast show. In hope that with the help of his exposure to his wide audience, that he gets elected president to announce any Area 51 myths. And to legalise weed of course.
Some background information on Joe.
Joe’s a stand-up comedian, who also his own Netflix specials – if your intrigued. So during his podcasts, it is very rare he doesn’t have you in a fit of laughter, depending on what the topic is. Any one that watches the UFC will also know of him, as many fans love his commentary and his respect for the game. He is a mixed martial artist himself, with a purple belt in Ju-Jitsu and was a US Open champion in Taekwondo when he was 19. He has over a total of 1000 podcasts, making a supposedly, five figure sum for each episode. So you’ll find at least one podcast that will get you thinking differently, about everything – weed, conspiracies’, and the world and possibly get you thinking about aliens and their existence too.
You will be spending most of his podcast looking like this.
He has a total of 6.78 million subscribers on YouTube alone, so it’s understandable why he makes so much money with one podcast, and why so many people want on his podcasts.
He has a range of celebrities on the show and it can be very interesting to learn from their successful mentality and how they’ve got to where they are today. But along the way, they share information about their personal life, their struggles, their life experiences and stories that may never have been heard before.
Celebrities such as Kevin Harte, who talks about his positive mentality and who always looks to better himself day to day, and believes that there is no limit on anything in life. Whereas, Tyson Fury talks about his struggles with depression and really goes in deep into how he nearly took his own life, to eventually coming over his personal issues.
The JRE, really goes deep into the rabbit hole with his guest speakers. Usually lasting a couple of hours, diving into conversations about anything and everything. You never know what you’re going to get on the JRE, no podcast is ever the same. But that’s why it’s so good, and that’s why it’s so different from any other podcasts I’ve listened to.
The JRE can be quite educational too, with many guest speakers being scientists talking about sleep patterns, and how important it is. Human stem cells and how technology has become so important in today’s society in saving and changing lives. Journalists’ talking about their experiences in Mexico and Columbia with drug cartels, the US government and operation paper clip.
And if there is something that Joe is unsure of, you’ll soon be introduced to his right hand man. The keyboard warrior, who is known as Jamie. If there is anything interesting in relation to the topic, or videos that may be of interest, you’ll hear the following…more than once
Jamie, pull that sh*t up!!
If you feel like giving the JRE a chance, which I strongly advise you do, here is a few to get you started.
Joey Diaz #1319
Dan Bilzerian #857
Bernie Sanders #1330
David Sinclair #1349
Edward Snowden #1368
Brian Redban #1364
Bob Lazar #1315 (Aliens)
Elon Musk # 1169 (Weird Man)
Mike Tyson #1227 (DMT)
Annie Jacobson #1299 (Operation Paperclip)
Okay that’s more than a few, but there all just too good. There may be occasions were you don’t know what’s going on, just be like Elon, and just roll with it.
And last but not least. The first podcast I ever listened to and it being one of my favourites, was with Alex Jones #1255 podcast. That was me, hooked. I advise you to give this a listen, it makes for great entertainment. Lizards in control of the government, Human/animal hybrids, and you guessed it, more aliens.
Heres a little taster.
There is a reason why it has 16 million views on YouTube.
It’s no secret that social media and PR has become inundated with influencer marketing. With YouTubers and bloggers making more money than most upcoming musicians, artists and actors, this is a sector not to be ignored. In a recent study Influencer Marketing Hub found that the market size of ‘influencer marketing’ in 2018 was said to be worth $4.6 billion and set to rise to $6.5 billion in 2019. Figures more than doubled from 2017, suggesting that this market is likely to keep growing and growing.
In a world full of “famous” people who were made rich through selling charcoal teeth whitening strips or selling their soul on Love Island it’s hard to tell who’s actually genuine and worthy of that follow. Believe me, I watch Love Island as much as the next person but do I think they are the most authentic salespeople? No, probably not. Maybe we should look at some of those influential content creators who’ve spent years of their life building their brand on YouTube, blogging or creating products and deserve a little bit more of our respect?
Influencer Insights 2017-19 Studies
While it’s very easy to critique these so-called ‘influencers’, they are beginning to have a direct impact on our lives and if you work in this industry you’re more than likely going to be dealing with them at some point in your career. In 2017, Influencer Insights conducted a survey that found 47% of people turned to social media to research a brand. This is a huge element to consider when deciding what influencers to work with.
In Influencer Insights’ first study in 2017 they likened influencer marketing to word-of-mouth marketing with an updated twist. This is a very interesting outlook which forces us to ask if the novelty of influencers is their ability to relate to their consumer? And will we see this change as the years go on and honest opinions perhaps become less authentic? Only time will tell.
So, we should follow those people who drive important conversations, influencers and brands that are transparent with their sponsorships, people who create original content and ultimately those who are morally ethical with their posts (maybe not those promoting detox ‘skinny teas’). As when an influencer aligns their marketing methods with their own key values the brands they’re working with are introduced to a huge, yet targeted, segment of the market. Not only should we, as PR practitioners, choose carefully the people we work with, those people should too choose their brands appropriately and selectively.
Below is a list I’ve compiled of people that have stood out in a saturated but ever-growing industry, as well as their current Insta stats;
@Uhnonee- 131K followers
Oenone is a British personal trainer, influencer, activist, podcaster and blogger. With ‘The Tiny Tank’ as her original Insta handle, she is a ‘tiny’ girl with lots to say. She openly admits being brainwashed by social media in her earlier days and continuously calls out myths being marketed online. Upon listening to her podcast ‘Adulting’ I have learned so much about feminism, socialism and it’s really opened my eyes to the privileges I have in society. Oenone is unique, well-spoken and comes across really genuine, making her channels a must-listen. Glancing quickly at her Instagram page you would think she’s just a normal fitness influencer but if you click onto the posts and read the captions she actually juxtaposes standard bikini posts with lengthy, motivational and often significant captions. She opens conversations and initiates discussions, something hugely important in today’s society.
@SammiMaria- 571K followers
Sustainable fashion is a huge, important topic at the moment and many influencers are starting to raise awareness where they can. Check out Sammi’s video explaining how she is trying to cut down her fashion footprint and also naming brands that do their best to reduce their environmental impact.
I started following Sammi (formerly ‘The Beauty Crush’) about 7 years ago now. Influencers weren’t a ‘thing’ when I first started watching YouTube and from following Sammi’s channel alone I have seen just how much this market has grown. Unlike Tanya Burr, Zoella and Fleur deForce I never really grew out of Sammi’s content. She has been transitional over the years and despite her own worries of not being ‘up-to-date’ with the algorithms, I really think she has done well. Speaking out about her own battles with anxiety, domestic abuse and bulimia she has shared a lot with her millions of followers. Her energy is radiating, she seems truly authentic and her child Indie is one of the cutest on YouTube (If you needed any more reasons to follow!)
@HealthyLittleLifter- 71K followers
For the fitness fanatics out there Aisling is a must-follow.
For some people following tons of fitness influencers may not be beneficial to their mental health, and we should be wary of that. But for people who are looking for that motivation to improve their diet and adopt a healthier lifestyle- follow Dr Aisling Gough. She’s from Belfast and is also a registered doctor with a wide range of knowledge to support her ideas, so I think we can trust her opinion. She posts infograms with truly useful tips, shows you how you can track a Boojum on a ‘diet’ and continuously links new medical studies to better inform her audience. Despite competing in WBFF she hasn’t let this alter her food mentality. This is certainly refreshing and Aisling is a great role model for people who have an interest in health and fitness.
@NellyLondon- 46K followers
Nelly is by no means a ‘larger model’ but she has curves and comes across more ‘real’ than many people on Insta. She was part of Missguided’s #MakeYourMark campaign and regularly speaks out about body confidence, her struggles with eating disorders and her radiating confidence is motivational.
@DrJoshuaWolrich- 137K followers
Joshua recently changed his Insta handle from @Unfattening to his real name. Contrary to the ‘Unfattening’ brand he actually posted nothing about weight loss. He used this trap to get people to his page, conversely trying to encourage an anti-weight loss mindset and bettering people’s attitudes towards foods.
Already a registered NHS doctor and a following that’s growing massively, Joshua is one to watch out for. After being introduced to him on Oenone’s podcast I started following and found his content really refreshing. I’ve already learned so much from his posts and he makes you think about why you call certain foods ‘bad’ or ‘good’. Not only does he correct popular misbeliefs, he also makes you aware of the fake news that circulates the internet in terms of fat loss. In terms of health these myths can be extremely detrimental to young people’s mental health and sometimes even dangerous. This is why accounts like Joshua’s are so important in 2019.
@JBone89- 141K followers
Jordan (or Jordan’s Beautiful Life for blog followers) is a blogger, YouTuber and author who suffered a car accident in 2005, leaving her paralysed from the waist down. She writes about the usual beauty, lifestyle and fashion topics while proving that influencers don’t always have to fit a certain mould. She’s inspiring to read and follow, check out Jordan’s Instagram page here.
@JameelaJamil- 1M followers
I’m sure you’ve already seen the radio presenter and actress’ #IWeigh campaign which already has over 342,000 followers on Instagram in itself. The campaign aims to encourage people to not base their self-worth on the number on a scale, instead weighing up other attributes of your life. Jameela is using her celebrity status coupled with her own overcoming of an eating disorder to call out celebrities and brands which aren’t doing enough. She’s even recently started a change.org campaign to ban celebrities promoting detox teas which you can view here. Definitely worthy of a follow.
@GraceFitUK- 1M followers
If you haven’t heard of Grace you must have been hiding under a rock for the past year as her brand has completely blown up with an Instagram that has just crept over 1 million followers. She’s a seemingly ‘normal’ girl from London who goes to university at Oxford, maintains friendships and has created a hugely successful but also sustainable fitness brand. At only 21 Grace really is one to watch.
From a career perspective Grace produces some really informative content. In a recent YouTube video talking about the ‘influencer’ job role I learned so much information about the career and how brands can work with these people. Not only did she speak about her own methods of gaining sponsorships and commission, she also videoed an hour-long discussion with other female fitness and beauty influencers speaking openly about how much they get paid, how brands can reach out to them and interesting secrets about the industry. From both a consumer and marketing perspective I found these videos really informative, open, honest and definitely worthy of a watch.
So, to conclude, as the number of influencers out there continues to rise make sure that if anyone you follow on Instagram is making you feel a certain way about yourself, is producing incorrect information or even making you feel like you need to buy something… delete them. It’s not worth it. There is a world of content out there on the internet and we should be using this upsurge in social media use to our advantage- challenging our minds, speaking out about things that need to be spoken about and ensuring we lead a path for generations below us. In an industry overcome with successful females we should be supporting those influencers who are making a difference instead of criticising the career as a whole. We can use this career shift to our advantage. As marketers, advertisers and PR professionals we are in charge of who our brands work with so let’s make sure each influencer we work with is a truly worthy role model.
Lauren Wilson is a third-year BSc in Communication, Advertising & Marketing student at Ulster University, currently undertaking a year’s placement at Belfast City Council. She can be found at: LinkedIn – https://www.linkedin.com/in/laurennxwilsonn/
Like many young girls, growing up I was a typical ‘Barbie Girl’ (it’s almost impossible not to sing the famous line by Aqua in my head when writing that!). I loved everything pink and I proudly owned an army of Barbies, as well as all necessary accompanying accessories such as: the Barbie Dream House, the Barbie horse and carriage, the Barbie Beach Hut – the list is endless.
To my surprise, I discovered that this year on 9th March, Barbie will be turning 60 years old, with a not a wrinkle in sight. She really does live up to the saying: “Life in plastic, it’s fantastic!”.
Ruth and Elliot Handler co-founded Mattel Creations in 1945 and 14 years later in 1959, Ruth Handler created the Barbie doll. However, it’s no surprise that more than one billion Barbie dolls have been sold since she made her debut at the American Toy Fair in New York on 9th March 1959. The Economic Times commented that despite fierce competition in the toy industry, 58 million Barbie’s are sold each year in more than 150 countries. In a growing generation of children’s obsession with iPads and tablets, Barbie has cemented herself as a staple toy for children and come a long way since her first model, pictured above.
Despite her years of success, Barbie has found herself under scrutiny for negatively influencing girls and portraying negative body expectations. Since her creation, it has been debated that Barbie is an unrealistic image of what the ‘average’ girl should look like, as well as failing to represent differences in race and colour. There is no need to question whether Barbie’s body shape is unrealistic. Researchers have reminded us that her proportions would occur in less than 1 in 100,000 adult women and that her waist is 20cm smaller than a reference group of anorexic patients. Most shocking of all, research also argues that if Barbie’s measurements resembled an actual woman, she would not be able to menstruate or even hold up her head.
Mattel claims that the proportions were created for ease of dressing and undressing the doll, not replicating an adult figure. However, there is no such rationale for the very thin representation of Barbie in her TV show, movies, books, and range of online games. In all forms, Barbie represents a completely unattainable figure for adult women; leading parent’s to debate Barbie’s credibility as a role model. Negative connotations of ‘blonde’, ‘bimbo’ and ‘air-head’ also are associated with Barbie. Teen Talk Barbie in 1992 said phrases such as “Math class is tough”, with many arguing that Barbie discouraging young girls from academic ventures.
Now ask yourself this: how can Barbie represent and be relatable to the twenty-first century girl? Since 2000, Mattel have worked to keep the Barbie brand as relevant as ever to represent woman and remain on-trend. Although the typical ‘Barbie’ style consisted of blonde hair, blue eyed dolls, the first black Barbie called Christie was created in 1969, with Mattel showing exclusivity and diversity. The Barbie franchise today represents more than 40 different nationalities.
One campaign in particular that stood out for me in the evolution of Barbie occurred back in 2010 with American PR agency Ketchum West and Mattel. Mattel, along with Ketchum West, harnessed Barbie’s brand power by having the public choose her 126th career, with her past occupations including president and princess. However, over a million people voted for Computer Engineer Barbie in a campaign mixing the public’s love for Barbie with the movement to empower girls. In an inspired touch, the Society of Women Engineers and National Academy of Engineering helped create the doll’s look.
Michelle Chidoni, VP of global brand communications at Mattel, said the company knew giving consumers a voice and delivering a doll they requested would drive earned media and create a conversation around the lack of women in STEM. “The conversation was extremely positive and underscored the brand’s purpose,” she noted. “When a girl plays with Barbie she imagines everything she can become.”
This campaign broke down the negative stereotypes associated with Barbie, emphasising that Barbie was more than just a fashion doll, but more so a positive role model for young girls. Blonde or brunette, slender or curvy, black or white, princess or president, Barbie is a forever favourite for young girls, and this campaign has helped influence future PR campaigns for Barbie. This includes the most recent campaign, Dream Gap, in 2018 which taught young girls to believe in themselves, and not to buy into sexist gender stereotypes. It also helped to influence the unique range of dolls made for Barbie during International Woman’s Day in 2018, with the release of 15 new dolls which are “role model” dolls crafted in the likeness of real iconic women across the globe, for example Nicola Adams OBE Box Champion from the UK.
With careers spanning from president to astronaut, Barbie can also add ‘Social Influencer’ to her long list of attributes. In the new era of social media, Barbie has remained on trend by having her voice established across a number of social platforms, allowing her to connect with her new digital fan base. The @BarbieStyle Instagram account has 1.5 million followers and looks more like an Instagram account for a celebrity than a doll. Through the success of this account, back in 2016 Barbie was photographed at an event for Dyson’s new supersonic hairdryer, and posted the picture to Instagram. This was the first sponsored post for Barbie, but with over 51,000 likes, it won’t be her last. This emphasises the dynamic nature of the Barbie brand, which refuses to be limited to the category of simply a toy.
Barbie also stays connected with fans through her own YouTube channel, with an impressive 5.5. million followers. Her channel includes a ‘vlog’ style series, which is designed to mimic some of our favourite YouTube stars, yet tailored to provide Ted Talk style videos to young girls regarding a number of issues such as: ‘Feeling blue? You’re not alone’ to the importance of having your voice heard.
Barbie has exceeded her previous stereotype, and has paved the way for a generation of new Barbie lovers; it really is no surprise that she’s remained a universal brand for the past six decades. With talks of a live-action Barbie film starring Margot Robbie, there really is no stopping the Barbie brand.
All that’s left to say is: Come on Barbie let’s go party – here’s to the next 60 years!
If you have been active on any major social media platform over the past 3 years you have probably seen an ASMR video of some kind on your feed. Weather this is in a satisfying slime unboxing, the calming whispers of a teen YouTuber or the oddly relaxing sounds of a soap cutting video, ASMR is everywhere. It’s the internet trend that no one could have predicted but everyone is very much here for.
If at this point you are feeling confused, don’t worry, we all were the first time we saw an ASMR videos. I am about to delve into this weird world and hopefully provide some clarity on how it has become one of the biggest internet trends of 2018.
What is ASMR?
ASMR stands for Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response. This is just a fancy term used to describe our body’s response to being exposed to certain visual and auditory stimuli. People have called this response a “brain orgasm” (although ASMR is not sexual) and describe a unique tingling sensation that runs down the back of their head and spine. Others have described a feeling of deep relaxation, often causing them to fall asleep.
People’s responses to the stimuli can be completely different, with many people claiming to not feel anything at all. Currently there is no real scientific research into the phenomenon and so I don’t really have any explanation as to why people respond in these ways.
To keep this in simple terms, an ASMR trigger is a stimuli that induces this tingling response in your head. There are many types of ASMR triggers and the response to each usually depends on the person. However, some triggers create a stronger ASMR experience when compared to others. Things like frequency, volume and intensity will also affect the ASMR experience.
Some common ASMR triggers include
Hopefully at this point you are a little clearer on what ASMR is. However you are probably still wondering: how did they trend become so big? Why is a video of a women eating pickles into a microphone gaining 18 million views?
(This is personal favourite of mine)
The term ASMR was coined in 2010, and was originally circulated around a small niche community of people seeking a sensory response from videos posted on YouTube and within a small Facebook group. The more content that was posted, the more people who became interested and this small community grew quite steadily until 2015 when the ASMR trend really blew up.
How did it become so big?
Like all social media trends. Popular influencers saw this niche content growing and decided to try their hand at it. Popular Youtubers like Jeffree Star and Trisha Paytas introduced this phenomenon to their millions of followers with videos reading their hate comments in a deep whisper and kidnapping roleplays (Thank you for this iconic video Trisha).
Suddenly there is huge interest in ASMR, giving ASMR channels a gateway to increase their followings as they feed this new interest. Since 2015 ASMR has sky rocketed, with hundreds of hours of content being posted everyday across all social media platforms. In 2018 YouTube channels dedicated to ASMR now have millions of subscribers, Instagram slime video receive hundreds of thousands of likes and snapchat stories receive thousands of daily views. ASMR has well and truly blown up.
With human stress levels constantly on the rise people have a higher need for relaxation. More and more people are now turning to ASMR for this outlet of relaxation. ASMR is an incredible effective way to shut down your mind and relax. People who suffered from high levels of stress, anxiety and panic attacks have claimed that ASMR has helped then to reduce the effects of these issues.
There is clearly a need for ASMR within today’s society whether that is purely for entertainment purposes or for the relaxing sensation that many people have benefited from. And with constant technological improvements and new triggers being found every day I see this trend continuing to grow over the next few years.
Cathal McCaughey is a final year student on the BSc in Communication Management & Public Relations at Ulster University and a Study USA alumni of College of St. Benedict / St. John’s University MN. He can be contacted on: Instagram – @Cathal_10 / Twitter – @Cathal__10 / Linkedin – http://www.linkedin.com/in/cathalmccaughey ASMR Snapchat Channel: OctoberASMR
During my time on placement I had the opportunity to work with PR managers across Europe and one thing I learnt was that YouTubers and social media influencers are increasingly becoming one of the most important ways to communicate with your target audience.
I was so intrigued that I have even decided to base my dissertation on their influence on consumer decision making – I will let you know come May if this was a wise decision!!
But why this growing interest?
The exchange of information between influencers and their followers is very powerful as those people who create their own content are becoming the third party endorsement that many brands need.
I will admit that on many occasions I have purchased products based on the fact that someone on Instagram, Snapchat or YouTube has recommended them or use the products regularly.
With interest in people who create their own content and who have built up their own loyal following coming to the forefront I thought it would be exciting to interview an up and coming beauty and lifestyle content creator. On my time in placement I became friendly with one of the outgoing interns Uche.
Uche has her own YouTube and Instagram sites and the content is beauty and lifestyle based, with 25,200 Instagram followers
and 101,973 YouTube subscribers
Uche is also an official ASOS Face + Body Insider.
Six quick questions with a lifestyle and beauty content creator
1. How did you first begin creating make up and lifestyle content?
I started watching university videos during sixth form which really sparked my interest in YouTube, I later went on to create content as I was bored during my first year at university.
2. How was this received by your family and friends? Did they understand what you were trying to achieve?
I didn’t tell anyone for years, honestly unless people are interested in it it’s not something people tend to understand or is easy to explain to people that ‘don’t get it’.
3. Can you explain the process of creating your own content from the creative idea to finally sharing it on YouTube and Instagram.
It’s a rather lengthy process, having a large following helps now as people are always suggesting the type of content they want to see which obviously makes everything much easier. Before then I would go with trends or what I loved myself. Once you have an idea it’s then about filming and bringing the idea to life, editing and finally posting it for everyone to see.
4. What social media influencers do you follow?
I tend to gear towards people with great personalities so Jackie Aina, Imogen (Imogenation) etc or really talented individuals who teach me something every time so Claire Marshall, Samantha Ravndahl or people with both like Jamie Geniveve!
5. What brands would you like to work with in the future?
A brand I haven’t worked with yet that I would love to is Nars for sure!
6. Have you any advice for anyone who is considering creating their own content on YouTube and/or Instagram?
It’s not as easy as it looks to post great content that’s high quality and also engaging so be prepared to put in time and money, if you stay committed, patient and consistent you will flourish.
From chatting with Uche it is clear that it is much more than just posting a video on YouTube or picture on Instagram you have to ensure that your content is authentic, you have a passion for what you are doing and that you are committed to put the time and work in.
My cousin Katie came home from her first day of secondary school gushing to tell me all about her classes and the people she met. She was decorating her diary, filling in her timetable and telling me all about the day’s events. I flipped through the pages of her diary and was horrified to find a page called ‘Snapchats’ with everything from EllieXoX to Hollie123 (I could tell you about the day she lost her phone and gone were the hard-earned 237 day streaks, but that’s another story in itself.)
What ever happened to the good ol’ days of giving out home phone numbers? Gone now are the glory days of your mum shouting at you to get off the house phone because Nanny’s probably been trying to get through for the past 3 hours. To this day I’m still annoyed I couldn’t three-way call like Lizzie, Miranda and Gordo.
I’m not claiming that I don’t use Snapchat or any other forms of social media to keep in touch with my friends, I love aimlessly flicking through Facebook looking at memes and cat videos as much as the next person, I’m just sad to see so many young teenagers glued to their smart phones.
However, every once in a while we meet someone, an absolute anomaly, who isn’t obsessed with uploading their next Instagram post at prime time or with the latest iPhone that’s going to smash sooner than the last one (and I’m not talking about your dad that still has a Nokia 3310). Enter Katie’s older brother, James. His interest: farming and absolutely nothing else; whilst most teenagers would come home and go on Facebook, James got straight into his overalls and headed to our Granda’s farm, when other teens were getting play stations and footballs for Christmas, James was getting tractor simulators and new work coats for the farm. But alas, nothing lasts forever.
As James got older he became glued to his dad’s iPad watching YouTube videos by farmers called the Grassmen, a group of men who decided to experiment with cameras in their tractors and fields and soon developed a mass following with some videos gaining almost 5 million views. James watched all their videos and couldn’t wait to tell me when he met Donkey at The Balmarol Show. Naturally I assumed he meant the character from Shrek; I soon learned that Donkey was one of these Grassmen and a major influence on James.
My interest was piqued when James’ parents asked if they could buy GoPro accessories for James from my Amazon account for Christmas. James? A GoPro? He’s not travelling to Thailand this summer to find himself, why does he have a GoPro? When I thought about it I didn’t know many people who owned a GoPro, never mind any 14 year olds. I was on placement in London at the time and soon forgot about it until one day my mum sent me a YouTube link with the message: “Watch this”, and five minutes later: “Did you watch it yet?” James had uploaded his first video – my reaction: instant fan-girl.
Being from the country I’ve seen plenty of tractors driving around and, as many of you probably know, it’s really not that exciting. With a variety of editing and the addition of music James managed to make something that people would generally find quite boring really fun to watch. The video currently has 364 views (of which I think 64 are mine). I remember showing my co-workers the next morning with pride written all over my face, their expressions were mere confusion as many of them most likely hadn’t seen a tractor in central London nor knew anyone that drove them. I’ll let you decide for yourselves but I’m sure you’ll agree the results are amazing, especially for a 14 year old that wouldn’t have touched an iPhone just a few years ago.
It turns out James wasn’t just producing short videos but was also uploading images to an Instagram account of the tractors and the fields. We still joke about him lying down in the grass to get the perfect shot, but the truth is the pictures are amazing:
Some people are paid thousands to make content for social media and here was my cousin spending his time doing it for free all because he loved farming. So, as much as we want to roll our eyes and moan about “kids these days” with all their gadgets, at the end of the day they’re allowing teenagers to be creative in ways we never would have dreamed of just a couple of years ago. It also goes to show that social media isn’t just for the travel and beauty bloggers, farmers are even starting to get a piece of the action!