When you’re on social media, who do you trust? After all, we know that everyone gives their photos a little tweak, or artfully edits out the kid’s toys and laundry slung over chair backs. And that’s totally okay. We know that everyone is just trying to be their best selves in a busy world. It’s the online equivalent of the ‘little white lie’ that hurts no one, right? But how far is too far? And what do we expect of social influencers, whose lives are their living?
It's actually a position of some responsibility when you start to think about it. After all, these are people who can have huge platforms from which to start (and take part in) conversations of consequence – whether that’s guiding followers on how to spend their money, sharing information or even just their opinions. Posts can even be the place where their followers see news first. A recent report from the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism found that TikTok reaches “40% of 18–24s, with 15% using the platform for news”. And while there are plenty of legitimate news organisations sharing content there, they absolutely are not the only ones. So, it’s often impossible to know whether what we see is a fact, opinion, propaganda or simply just clumsily researched.
It’s easy to fall into a spiral of giving people what you think they want, and the social media echo chamber can be loud. With this in mind, Canon Nordics set out to ‘influence the influencers’, encouraging them to take a closer look at what they share and to question whether they were simply hunting for likes or seeking deals and ‘gifts’. They recruited four talented independent content creators, with over a million followers between them, for a mission of thought-provoking trickery. This ‘Create Responsibly Crew’ would show how easy it is to deceive their followers (in the nicest possible way, of course!) and hopefully encourage others to think about the way they present themselves online.