The Social Media Bubble Economy

From teeth-whitening kits and vegan smoothies to obscure unoriginal clothing and trendy restaurants, you cannot go on Instagram and avoid being berated by advertisements. I am not talking about ads sold by Instagram and forced on users, I am talking about Instagram users selling their pages out to companies for free products and discounts. It’s almost a new type of pyramid scheme.

Instagram users all over are hoping to secure a deal with a brand they love. They do it by building up a following base of “Likes” and “Follows” and using those high numbers to get a company to give them free product so they can provide a 10% off deal to their fans on one of their posts or some type of shoutout.

These users and posts are everywhere.

This is the life of a “social media influencer” or whatever the hell they want to call it.

All one needs to do to make it today is build up a fan-base and then profit off the fact that people give enough of a shit about the image of their life and what they consume to sell the products they already use to their fans.

At some point the gravy train is going to end.

The social media bubble economy is going to burst.

The Instagram bubble economy is going to burst (and soon I hope as an Instagram user).

YouTube has cracked down on ad revenue for content providers amid a stream of controversies. Essentially, YouTube had their advertisers get upset because their ads were being shown with extremist-linked videos.

YouTube then pulled ads on content which was deemed unwholesome by use of a strict algorithm, which ended up cutting advertising on content providers that addressed taboo subjects, used foul language, etc…

Content providers on YouTube have seen a drastic decline in their ad-revenue as a result of the crackdown. People who used to make a lot of money on YouTube are now pissed. I don’t really care if it means less ads on YouTube videos though.

The YouTube bubble has already burst. It is only a matter of time before Instagram sees a similar shock.

The underlying issue however is not that there are too many people on Instagram whoring their pages out to companies, the issue is this: too much value is being placed on social media followers.

Theoretically with over 6 billion people in the world each person could amass a following of 100,000 followers, and each could monetize their account, but if more users have large followings it will devalue the benefit of large followings.

In order to sell products on your page, you’ll eventually have to have 2 million followers, then 5, then 10, and then 25 million.

The length of videos has gone from 10 seconds originally to 1 minute now. Next it will be 10 minutes. Then the accounts with millions of followers will distribute their own shows via Instagram, avoiding the networks, YouTubes, and Netflixes. Instagram could end up being a whole new media empire like television.

Of course Instagram will want their cut and put an advertisement in videos too. And so-on and so-on…

The over-valuation of social media followers is ruining the world.

Yelp reviewers are the worst of the social media lot.  They whine about their experiences like a dog yelps after it gets slapped with a cat fist full of claws, so I guess the name Yelp makes sense.

Good restaurants have had reputations tarnished over the hurt feelings of a single douchebag “Yelper” that didn’t get a free side with their entrée and just had to bitch about it to the internet.

But why does anyone give a shit about what Bob in Central Missouri thinks about the local taqueria he is visiting on his trip to Los Angeles? He ordered one thing one time at a place he’d never been to and probably didn’t even get something good.

Why should we give Bob a cookie for having dinner at a place and leaving a review and then take his word for it as if he even knows what the fuck he is talking about? We should not.

We should not reward people for leaving reviews on social media like we do in our society today.

But hey, if you think giving Bob a free appetizer because he graced your business’ presence with his Yelp account which has 500 reviews and 25 friends will bring in more business more power to you.

Businesses need to put less weight on social media reviews and stop giving free products to people because they have a lot of “followers.”

In most cases these accounts with many followers are indistinguishable from other accounts. Most are a girl doing squats and taking posed pictures in a mirror. We get it, you go to the gym. What do you do with your life that enhances the human experience though?

I can’t tell you how many of my friends only follow certain accounts because we think a woman is “hot” and because I am a man and I do the same I assume the number is at or near 100%. That doesn’t mean men are going to go buy some pre-natal vitamins because we saw them in an Instagram post.

Social media has become derivative and the bubble economy it has produced cannot sustain itself.

In many ways, I would argue that the social media economy should not sustain itself and that it has in fact harmed businesses rather than helped them by forcing them to cater too much to people who already use their products.

Sorry that I’m not sorry that I hope your bubble bursts if you are a “social media influencer,” but you’re ruining the world.