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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 in fact, many golf equipment and organizations to hitch, an array of majors, and a really comfortable and alluring 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 of social media influencers at JMU. My purpose was to achieve a greater understanding of what the influencing world was actually like for younger faculty college students. I needed to unlock the reality; the great, the unhealthy, and the ugly of the influencing world. I needed to get a greater sense of how these college students stability being influencers whereas nonetheless making an attempt to have a traditional faculty 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 turn out to be a rising phenomenon. Influencer tradition has exuded a pristine picture of perfection. It has turn out to be the life that the majority adolescents envy; model offers, sponsorships, cash, fame and followers. Seems like the last word dream, proper? However what about what’s behind the digicam? What about what’s off display? The time, power, tears shed, self-shame, dying 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 kind of content material on TikTok, trend content material on Instagram and work for Snapchat by posting movies on their Highlight Function every single day.”

Do you really get pleasure from being an influencer?

“I don’t suppose 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 whole lot of work, however I wouldn’t wish to do the rest. So, if I’ve to work for nevertheless 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 generally? Completely. However who doesn’t if you’re working? It’s what I like, it’s what I’m keen about, it’s my work, it’s all the pieces.”

What are your objectives for the long run after faculty?

“I’ve some fairly enjoyable plans developing! I graduate this Might after which in August I’m shifting 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 thought so I would begin up a enterprise whereas I’m there. I’m actually simply going on the market and throwing all the pieces at pursuing a dream. The best way I see it’s that I received’t let myself fail, I can’t. I’ve on a regular basis on the planet to place all the pieces I’ve received in the direction of this one factor. Now, say it doesn’t go how I need, then I simply get a job. I reside, I like, I can do no matter I need, 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 believe the primary video I ever made received round 50,000 views and I assumed that was the good 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’ll be able to submit one thing and never even suppose something is fallacious with it, however individuals will decide it aside and discover something to touch upon. I’ve my very own humor and my very own fashion. When 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 faculty expertise? 

“Despite the fact that I’m continuously filming TikToks and dealing to maintain my followers, I’m nonetheless having the identical faculty 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 all the pieces 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 time I had my most seen video which was near 60 million views. That’s once I actually began to achieve extra followers.”

Is it exhausting to stability doing TikTok and college?

“Yeah, positively. I’ve been placing much more emphasis on faculty this yr slightly than TikTok. Earlier than the college 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 highschool as an alternative as a result of my dad and mom all the time emphasised getting a level first. Despite the fact that TikTok is sweet cash, it was necessary for me to give attention to the long-term.”

How has turning into an influencer affected your faculty expertise? 

“It’s positively positively affected my faculty expertise. I really feel prefer it’s made me right into a extra assured and confident particular person. I believe that has mirrored on my relationships and the individuals I’ve met. Just a few 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 corporations provide you with deadlines, you must meet them. It’s correlated to a whole lot of 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 pals all the time knew that I ate so much and as a joke they informed 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 exhausting 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 unhealthy on me, nevertheless it seems unhealthy on the company as effectively, so there’s a whole lot of stress to make sure all the pieces is filmed on time.”

Do you really get pleasure from 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 every day. Like I’m simply that woman that eats on TikTok, nothing particular. My favourite half about influencing is the response from my followers. I get a whole lot of DMs from ladies saying how a lot I helped them with their consuming issues and the way I inspired them to eat as we speak. To know that I’m making somebody’s day somewhat brighter signifies that that is all value it.”

Kendall Vertes | 7.3M on TikTok

How did you get began?

“I’ve completed 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 whole lot of doorways for all the pieces that got here after. We have been getting sponsorships and a whole lot of us received into music, performing and modeling.”

Do you really get pleasure from being an influencer?

“General, my life is a revolving door of posting on Instagram, filming motion pictures and making TikToks. My life is figure, however I find it irresistible. That’s what I do. The hatred that individuals will submit about you is the toughest half. I’ve been by means of so much and I’ve robust pores and skin however on the identical time it’s tough to bear generally. It’s exhausting to not reply, however more often than not I simply must let it go. I suppose it comes with the job.”

How has being an influencer affected your faculty expertise? 

“It was positively a transition. Coming to a giant campus in a completely totally different state the place I knew nobody was positively a giant change for me. Everybody right here at JMU has been so good and I by no means imagined having the variety of pals I do. I didn’t need my pals to love me for being ‘Kendall from “Dance Mothers”’ I needed 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 think about myself well-known as a result of I got here to school to be a traditional particular person and get the standard faculty expertise. I didn’t wish to mix the celebrity a part of my life and the traditional faculty a part of my life, so I try to maintain these separate. Generally I simply must take a step again and keep in mind to reside 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 highschool, watch manner an excessive amount of TV, fail checks, get their hearts damaged and even do the dishes. By means of exhausting work, dedication and a robust 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 faculty and hundreds of thousands of followers.


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

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