In a world where likes, shares, and retweets are the new social currency, content creators have found themselves in a position of unprecedented influencing power. While their reach can be awe-inspiring, there is a fine line between influence and privilege—a line that can blur without careful consideration. A report by BBC spotlights a cautionary tale, and it warrants a wider discussion on the obligations and responsibilities of creators, particularly when their voices reach millions.

Lipstick King, China Influencer, Livestreamer, Content Creator, Influencers, Li Jiaqi

In the glare of social media spotlights, where influencers command stages more powerful than many traditional media outlets, their words and actions reverberate with a resounding impact. You must be wondering where we are going with this. We recently came across one such case in China. When a Chinese influencer who goes by the name – Lipstick King, made a comment that led to major backlash. He dismissed concerns over makeup pricing as “nonsense,” advising that those who can’t afford it aren’t working “hard enough,” and it ignited a firestorm of controversy. The reaction underscores not just the individual influence of a social media persona but shines a light on the weighty responsibility that comes with it. The comment transcends mere makeup prices in an economy grappling with youth unemployment and financial struggles. It hits at the core of societal grievances, adding another layer of complexity to the influencer’s role. 

Lipstick King, China Influencer, Livestreamer, Content Creator, Influencers, Li Jiaqi

Hence, it is not just about promoting products or lifestyles; it’s about the duty to be acutely conscious of the environment one influences. With such a vast audience looking up to them, influencers must thread the needle carefully, balancing between their aspirational image and the raw reality that their audience faces.

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Power, Privilege, and Platforms: The Indian Context

The role of an influencer in India is no different when it comes to social responsibility. With a diverse follower count that spans across regions, religions, and economic statuses, influencers have a duty to be keenly aware of their words and actions. As of July 2023, according to Forbes India, India has a staggering unemployment rate of 7.95%. This is not just a number; it represents millions of educated youths grappling with joblessness. According to a recent IndiaLends survey, while 90% of women contribute to home spending, 67% rely on men to make financial decisions. Speaking from a place of privilege without acknowledging these realities can be both insensitive and alienating.

The Call for Conscious Influencing in India

What does conscious influencing look like in the Indian context? For starters, it involves being aware of the rampant exploitation in workplaces, where the Workforce Confidence Index showed a decline in job confidence among Indian professionals during the pandemic, according to LinkedIn. Influencers can’t merely push for ‘hustle culture’ when their audience may be working in environments that undervalue their skills and labour. 

Trust plays a crucial role here. A 2023 report by Edelman Trust Barometer showed that 50% of Indian respondents trust influencers, underlining the responsibility that these digital personalities bear. Citing credible data, such as reports from NITI Aayog or other reliable sources, lends credibility and fosters a better-informed follower base.

Inclusion, Not Exclusion

The diversity of India requires influencers to be not just conscious but also inclusive. Whether it’s advocating for gender equality, supporting regional crafts, or discussing LGBTQ+ rights, the platform should be used for constructive conversations that recognise and respect the country’s social and cultural fabric. Starting from the very basic, gender-inclusive terms while live streaming or interacting with their followers to being empathetic throughout will create a major impact on the youth delivering inclusive knowledge. Being mindful of the words that they use and gestures that they possess holds significance as they are idolised by tons of youngsters.

Sustainable Influencing in India

The dilemma of repeating clothes has emerged as a point of controversy among audiences in recent years due to the influence of social media and the fashion industry, both of which often promote constant consumption and the idea that wearing something “old” or previously seen is a faux pas. This mindset, perpetuated by influencers who rarely repeat outfits, contributes to fast fashion culture and raises ethical and environmental concerns. In a country like India, where millions struggle to afford basic necessities, the issue becomes even more poignant. According to a 2023 report by Mint Lounge, the fashion industry is responsible for about 10% of global carbon emissions and nearly 20% of wastewater.

Fast Fashion, Fashion Waste, Outfits

The debate over outfit repetition touches on larger issues of sustainability, consumerism, and social inequality. In the Indian context, where the textile industry is one of the largest employers and also a contributor to environmental degradation, the conversation takes on added layers of complexity. Conscious influencers have a role to play in shifting the narrative. By repeating outfits and endorsing sustainable brands, they can set a precedent for their followers, encouraging a culture of mindful consumption over one of perpetual buying. Therefore, the issue is not just a superficial debate about fashion; it reflects broader societal values and the responsibilities we hold both as consumers and as influencers.

The Balancing Act: A Call to Action in India

In conclusion, being an influencer in India carries a robust set of responsibilities. India is a complex mix of cultures, beliefs, and economic realities. Conscious influencing, therefore, becomes not just a necessity but a moral imperative. It’s about using the clout of influence responsibly to promote understanding, inclusivity, and positive change. 

So, the next time you scroll through your feed, let’s hope it’s not just about the glitz and glamour but also about meaningful dialogue, mindfulness and consciousness.