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Why do we follow bloggers and influencers?

The webspace is an ocean of information - it is one of the most frequently used metaphors that characterize the communication possibilities offered by the Internet. This metaphor speaks of obvious benefits - we have access to an unimaginably large amount of interpenetrating information that we can use anywhere and anytime. It also points to the biggest problem of new media - the lack of awareness of the bottom of this ocean. Just as the sea depths are impenetrable, the information found on the web becomes more and more difficult to identify and even more difficult to verify and interpret.

This is where bloggers and influencers come to our aid. People who describe narrow usually specialized sections of the world through the prism of their own experiences and the accompanying emotions and then shared these creations with others, setting the boundaries of what is important and valuable, and above all, what is interesting.

Why do we visit bloggers and influencers' websites?

Like any other media, blogging and influencing channels can respond to many, sometimes very diverse and specific, needs of the recipients. We can use them to find information on a specific topic, provided in an accessible, short and attractive form. We can also look for entertainment and a sense of community - people who experience similar events, perceive the world in a way similar to us, are interested in what cannot be found in traditional media or what is very rarely present in them. The availability of these channels will also be important. For the most part, we can use them without the traditional fees without having to wait for the content to be made available. These channels are also technologically and communicatively transparent, i.e. they are based on media formats and platforms that we know well and use on an ongoing basis. Finally, our choices may result from the sympathies and dislikes we hold towards specific bloggers and influencers.

Why do we need the opinion of individuals?

Bloggers and influencers act as a kind of filter. In a situation where the vast majority of us struggle with constant information overload and have problems with assessing the credibility of the received media materials, we start looking for content that, firstly, has a personal confirmation of its validity and truthfulness, and secondly, gives the impression of direct contact with the sender (if I know her/him, I can easily recognize when she is lying). Apart from reporting the world, the authors of these contents interpret it, influencing our beliefs and choices (his / her interpretations are valuable because she/he is so similar to me). Thus, network creators become a kind of opinion leaders, i.e. people who have the mandate of a media guide and advisor.

Why do individuals appear more authentic than the media?

The authenticity of web creators is the product of their actual knowledge, how this knowledge is presented, and their impression of the recipient. By definition, people who are similar to us in some way, talk about topics and experiences that we experience ourselves, and at the same time show an appropriate level of media skills, seem more authentic to us. The language they use will also increase the credibility of bloggers and influencers. A more direct, friendly tone, jargon vocabulary or revealing the secrets of production (failed shots, substantive errors, etc.) make the prepared materials more familiar. Finally, the honesty of the creators will be supported by discussing the topic from the perspective of one's own feelings without suggesting the objectivity and universality of these experiences.

Why should we not trust everything we see?

How we see and perceive bloggers and influencers depends on our emotional relationship with them. Thus, the people we consider more attractive may seem more credible to us. Most of the time, as recipients, we have no chance of colliding these ideas with reality. Usually, we do not know what sources of information they use and what the authors undertake in contracts concluded with business partners. We also cannot, obviously, know their real motivations. When following bloggers and influencers, we therefore only perceive their media representations, not real people. Our attention should also be drawn to the fact that the less diverse the media channels we use are - therefore, the more often we only use content provided by people we like - the more likely it is that we do not verify what they say and show often enough.

Dr Karolina Burno-Kaliszuk - media expert, an employee of the Department of Journalism at the Institute of Social Communication and Media Sciences at UMCS. Author of works in the field of metamorphosis and hybridization of journalistic genres.

    News

    Author
    Monika Kusiej
    Date of addition
    9 June 2021

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