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The Era of Influencers

Posted May. 24, 2018 07:21,   

Updated May. 24, 2018 07:21

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“Everyone Boyroo” Anyone in their teens or 20s who doesn’t get this phrase is likely to be singled out. Elementary school students even shout out this greeting, which is a coined expression‎ of Bokyum and Hi-roo (an Internet greeting for hi), to their teachers. Bokyum, a YouTube creator that hit 2.21 million subscribers as of Wednesday, exerts strong influence over the mobile-accessible younger generation. “Is this real life?,” which is a preval‎ent saying to express unbelief or surprise, was also created by him.

“Influencers” are gaining attention. The term was coined by the words “influence” and “er,” referring to people who have strong influence on the public on social network services. If the first generation of influencers were represented by celebrities or opinion leaders such as Shinsegae Vice Chairman Chung Yong-jin or novelist Lee Oi-soo, the second generation consists of mostly content creators such as Bokyum, Buzzbean, Ddotty, who communicate by video on Facebook, YouTube and Afreeca TV.

Companies are scrambling to attract these influencers, who are younger and more receptive to new trends than bloggers, the initial targets companies sought after. Beauty influencers such as Pony and Risabae are known to earn tens of millions of won with a single video shoot. A cosmetic shopping site recently launched a make-up kit of Risabae’s recommended beauty items (retailed at 29,900 won) and sold over 100 million won in just five minutes right after the launch.

Facing a new turning point following the advent of cutting-edge information technology, influencers have successfully established themselves as one-person media, appealing to the public and meeting needs for diversity. Influencers, who appear to win fame regardless of academic background or economic power, have risen as beacons of hope for the younger generation. However, some influencers project broadcasting of swearing or slander as trendy and deny social values. It is impossible to control the exponential rise of one-person media on cyberspace, but we should be mindful of the influence they have on adolescents, the main audience.