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HomeInfluencer MarketingHow School Influencers are Affected by the Influencing World

How School Influencers are Affected by the Influencing World

I attend James Madison College in Harrisonburg, Virginia. With greater than 20,000 undergraduate college students, simply think about a typical U.S. college, and that’s JMU. There’s Greek life, soccer after all, many golf equipment and organizations to hitch, an array of majors, and a really completely happy and alluring environment. With social media at an all-time excessive, we’re seeing a a lot bigger inhabitants of on a regular basis folks changing into social media influencers.

I’ve been a advertising and marketing/communications intern with Discover Your Affect since January and coincidentally, as a author for a student-run life-style journal, I used to be given the chance to interview 5 college students who’re thought of social media influencers at JMU. My aim was to realize a greater understanding of what the influencing world was actually like for younger school college students. I wished to unlock the reality; the great, the unhealthy, and the ugly of the influencing world. I wished to get a greater sense of how these college students steadiness being influencers whereas nonetheless making an attempt to have a traditional school expertise.

Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat, and the ever so addictive app, TikTok, have taken the world by storm. We scroll for hours till the blue gentle, illuminating from our smartphones, finally exhausts our eyes. 5-minute break; time to scroll once more.

Social media influencers have grow to be a rising phenomenon. Influencer tradition has exuded a pristine picture of perfection. It has grow to be the life that the majority adolescents envy; model offers, sponsorships, cash, fame and followers. Feels like the last word dream, proper? However what about what’s behind the digicam? What about what’s off display screen? The time, power, tears shed, self-shame, demise threats, humiliation. Welcome to the not-so-perfect facet of being a publicized punching bag.

 Megan James | 604.3K on TikTok

What do you do as an influencer?

“I do your relatable sort of content material on TikTok, vogue content material on Instagram and work for Snapchat by posting movies on their Highlight Function day by day.”

Do you really get pleasure from being an influencer?

“I don’t assume there’ll ever be some extent in my life the place I may sit in entrance of all people and complain about what I do. I can inform you that it’s a variety of work, however I wouldn’t wish to do the rest. So, if I’ve to work for nonetheless many hours a day, then positive I’ll do it as a result of that is what I wish to do with my life. I benefit from the hell out of it. Is it exhausting? Do I wish to rip my hair out typically? Completely. However who doesn’t once you’re working? It’s what I like, it’s what I’m obsessed with, it’s my work, it’s every thing.”

What are your objectives for the longer term after school?

“I’ve some fairly enjoyable plans arising! I graduate this Could after which in August I’m shifting to Los Angeles, California. Once I transfer on the market, I’m not getting your typical job, I’m going to focus totally on social media. In the meanwhile, I simply began engaged on this enterprise thought so I would begin up a enterprise whereas I’m there. I’m actually simply going on the market and throwing every thing at pursuing a dream. The way in which I see it’s that I received’t let myself fail, I can’t. I’ve on a regular basis on the earth to place every thing I’ve received in direction of this one factor. Now, say it doesn’t go how I would like, then I simply get a job. I stay, I like, I can do no matter I would like, so why the hell not?”

Anna Medykowski | 322.6K on TikTok

What do you do as an influencer? When did you first get began and why?

“I first began out in December of 2020 principally posting my outfits and dancing movies. I feel the primary video I ever made received round 50,000 views and I believed that was the best factor ever, so then I stored going and my account simply slowly began going up.”

What’s the most tough half about being an influencer?

“The hate on the web. You possibly can put up one thing and never even assume something is mistaken with it, however folks will decide it aside and discover something to touch upon. I’ve my very own humor and my very own model. In case you don’t prefer it, I don’t actually care, however on the similar time it’s nonetheless aggravating to see these hateful feedback.”

How has changing into an influencer affected your school expertise? 

“Regardless that I’m continually filming TikToks and dealing to maintain my followers, I’m nonetheless having the identical school expertise I’d have even when I wasn’t on TikTok. Generally it’s a bit annoying as a result of I don’t get to increase and do every thing I wish to do with TikTok. I’ve had many photographers ask me to come back out to LA, however I’ve to say no as a result of I can’t miss class. So proper now, I’m simply specializing in the folks which can be in my space and those that are keen to come back see me.”

Spencer Aitken |  2.3M on TikTok

What do you do as an influencer?

“I sometimes make story time movies on TikTok. I’d make story time after story time after which final summer season I had my most seen video which was near 60 million views. That’s once I actually began to realize extra followers.”

Is it onerous to steadiness doing TikTok and faculty?

“Yeah, positively. I’ve been placing much more emphasis on college this 12 months slightly than TikTok. Earlier than the college 12 months began, I had the chance to not go to JMU and exit to LA to be part of a content material creator home, however I made a decision to go to high school as a substitute as a result of my dad and mom all the time emphasised getting a level first. Regardless that TikTok is nice cash, it was vital for me to deal with the long-term.”

How has changing into an influencer affected your school expertise? 

“It’s positively positively affected my school expertise. I really feel prefer it’s made me right into a extra assured and confident individual. I feel that has mirrored on my relationships and the folks I’ve met. A couple of years in the past, I wouldn’t have the social expertise that I do now. I can now be myself with none repercussions. I’ve additionally gotten much more organized. Earlier than TikTok, I used to be horrible with time administration, however when firms offer you deadlines, you need to meet them. It’s correlated to a variety of my college assignments as nicely.”

Tram Tran | 881.7K on TikTok

What do you do as an influencer?

“I went viral by making all you possibly can eat sushi movies on TikTok. My associates all the time knew that I ate so much and as a joke they instructed me to movie a TikTok and my first video ended up getting round a half 1,000,000 views.”

How a lot time, work, and energy does it take to maintain your following?

“Earlier than changing into an influencer, I by no means realized how a lot work it takes to maintain up together with your following and keep related. I needed to e-mail my advisor and ask to do all my courses on-line for this semester as a result of it’s so onerous to maintain up with courses together with my work. Simply posting a 15 second video can take me nearly three hours to make. I even have sure deadlines I’ve to satisfy for manufacturers. I’m a part of an company the place they assign me sure deadlines and if I don’t meet them, not solely does it look unhealthy on me, but it surely appears to be like unhealthy on the company as nicely, so there’s a variety of strain to make sure every thing is filmed on time.”

Do you really get pleasure from being an influencer?

“I’ve this platform the place I get to make folks completely happy which is so rewarding. I nonetheless don’t assume I’ve grasped how many individuals watch me each day. Like I’m simply that lady that eats on TikTok, nothing particular. My favourite half about influencing is the response from my followers. I get a variety of DMs from ladies saying how a lot I helped them with their consuming issues and the way I inspired them to eat in the present day. To know that I’m making somebody’s day a little bit brighter signifies that that is all price it.”

Kendall Vertes | 7.3M on TikTok

How did you get began?

“I’ve achieved aggressive dance my entire life and finally we received a name from the TV present, ‘Dance Mothers.’ After seven years of ‘Dance Mothers,’ that was the steppingstone that opened a variety of doorways for every thing that got here after. We had been getting sponsorships and a variety of us received into music, appearing and modeling.”

Do you really get pleasure from being an influencer?

“Total, my life is a revolving door of posting on Instagram, filming films and making TikToks. My life is figure, however I find it irresistible. That’s what I do. The hatred that folks will put up about you is the toughest half. I’ve been by means of so much and I’ve powerful pores and skin however on the similar time it’s tough to bear typically. It’s onerous to not reply, however more often than not I simply should let it go. I suppose it comes with the job.”

How has being an influencer affected your school expertise? 

“It was positively a transition. Coming to an enormous campus in a wholly completely different state the place I knew nobody was positively an enormous change for me. Everybody right here at JMU has been so good and I by no means imagined having the variety of associates I do. I didn’t need my associates to love me for being ‘Kendall from “Dance Mothers”’ I wished them to love me for who I’m now. I don’t actually contemplate myself an influencer at JMU, and I don’t even like to contemplate myself well-known as a result of I got here to varsity to be a traditional individual and get the standard school expertise. I didn’t wish to mix the celebrity a part of my life and the traditional school a part of my life, so I try to preserve these separate. Generally I simply have to take a step again and keep in mind to stay my life for myself too, not only for my followers.”


Influencers are function fashions, public figures, comedians, fashion-icons, and extra, however they’re additionally actual people too. They go to high school, watch method an excessive amount of TV, fail assessments, get their hearts damaged and even do the dishes. By means of onerous work, dedication and a powerful work ethic, Megan, Anna, Spencer, Tram and Kendall have developed the energy and resilience to make it within the influencing world and have preserved by means of the challenges of balancing school and thousands and thousands of followers.


Freelance contribution particularly written for Discover Your Affect by Jordan O’Connor.

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