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HomeInfluencer MarketingHow Faculty Influencers are Affected by the Influencing World

How Faculty 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 comfortable and welcoming ambiance. With social media at an all-time excessive, we’re seeing a a lot bigger inhabitants of on a regular basis individuals turning into social media influencers.

I’ve been a advertising/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-about social media influencers at JMU. My objective 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 nice, the dangerous, and the ugly of the influencing world. I wished to get a greater sense of how these college students stability being influencers whereas nonetheless making an attempt to have a standard 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, in the end 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. Appears like the final word dream, proper? However what about what’s behind the digital camera? What about what’s off display screen? The time, power, tears shed, self-shame, loss of life threats, humiliation. Welcome to the not-so-perfect aspect 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, trend content material on Instagram and work for Snapchat by posting movies on their Highlight Characteristic day by day.”

Do you truly take pleasure in being an influencer?

“I don’t suppose there’ll ever be a degree in my life the place I may sit in entrance of everyone and complain about what I do. I can let you know that it’s numerous work, however I wouldn’t wish to do the rest. So, if I’ve to work for nonetheless many hours a day, then high quality 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 generally? Completely. However who doesn’t while you’re working? It’s what I really like, it’s what I’m captivated with, it’s my work, it’s all the things.”

What are your targets for the longer term after school?

“I’ve some fairly enjoyable plans arising! I graduate this Might after which in August I’m transferring to Los Angeles, California. After I transfer on the market, I’m not getting your typical job, I’m going to focus totally on social media. In the mean time, I simply began engaged on this enterprise concept so I would begin up a enterprise whereas I’m there. I’m actually simply going on the market and throwing all the things at pursuing a dream. The way in which I see it’s that I gained’t let myself fail, I can’t. I’ve on a regular basis on the planet to place all the things 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 reside, I really 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 largely posting my outfits and dancing movies. I feel the primary video I ever made received round 50,000 views and I assumed that was the best factor ever, so then I stored going and my account simply slowly began going up.”

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

“The hate on the web. You’ll be able to publish one thing and never even suppose something is flawed with it, however individuals will choose it aside and discover something to touch upon. I’ve my very own humor and my very own fashion. In case you don’t prefer it, I don’t actually care, however on the identical time it’s nonetheless aggravating to see these hateful feedback.”

How has turning into an influencer affected your school expertise? 

“Regardless that I’m consistently 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. Typically it’s a bit annoying as a result of I don’t get to develop and do all the things I wish to do with TikTok. I’ve had many photographers ask me to return 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 individuals which might be in my space and those that are keen to return 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 arduous to stability doing TikTok and college?

“Yeah, undoubtedly. I’ve been placing much more emphasis on faculty this yr relatively than TikTok. Earlier than the varsity yr 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 an alternative as a result of my mother and father all the time emphasised getting a level first. Regardless that TikTok is nice cash, it was vital for me to give attention to the long-term.”

How has turning into an influencer affected your school expertise? 

“It’s undoubtedly 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 individuals I’ve met. A number of years in the past, I wouldn’t have the social abilities 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 must meet them. It’s correlated to numerous my faculty assignments as effectively.”

Tram Tran | 881.7K on TikTok

What do you do as an influencer?

“I went viral by making all you may eat sushi movies on TikTok. My mates all the time knew that I ate loads and as a joke they instructed me to movie a TikTok and my first video ended up getting round a half one million views.”

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

“Earlier than turning 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 lessons on-line for this semester as a result of it’s so arduous to maintain up with lessons 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 dangerous on me, nevertheless it appears dangerous on the company as effectively, so there’s numerous strain to make sure all the things is filmed on time.”

Do you truly take pleasure in being an influencer?

“I’ve this platform the place I get to make individuals comfortable which is so rewarding. I nonetheless don’t suppose 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 numerous DMs from women saying how a lot I helped them with their consuming problems and the way I inspired them to eat at this time. To know that I’m making somebody’s day a bit of brighter implies that that is all value it.”

Kendall Vertes | 7.3M on TikTok

How did you get began?

“I’ve carried out aggressive dance my complete life and ultimately we received a name from the TV present, ‘Dance Mothers.’ After seven years of ‘Dance Mothers,’ that was the steppingstone that opened numerous doorways for all the things that got here after. We had been getting sponsorships and numerous us received into music, appearing and modeling.”

Do you truly take pleasure in 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 publish about you is the toughest half. I’ve been by loads and I’ve robust pores and skin however on the identical time it’s troublesome to bear generally. It’s arduous to not reply, however more often than not I simply should let it go. I assume it comes with the job.”

How has being an influencer affected your school expertise? 

“It was undoubtedly a transition. Coming to an enormous campus in a wholly totally different state the place I knew nobody was undoubtedly an enormous change for me. Everybody right here at JMU has been so good and I by no means imagined having the variety of mates I do. I didn’t need my mates to love me for being ‘Kendall from “Dance Mothers”’ I wished them to love me for who I’m now. I don’t actually think about myself an influencer at JMU, and I don’t even like to contemplate myself well-known as a result of I got here to school to be a standard 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 maintain these separate. Typically I simply have to take a step again and bear in mind to reside my life for myself too, not only for my followers.”


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