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What place is there for authenticity on social media? While almost everyone has their digital double on Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat or Twitter, how faithful is the copy to the original? While millionaire influencers (in terms of followers) are currently losing credibility, digital authenticity is seeking to find its own cyberpath.

Social media are part of daily life for many of us, a perfect instrument for bringing everyday people and celebrities closer together, communicating in real time, telling others about your life and inviting friends to share it. In 2017 and for the first time, one out of two inhabitants of planet Earth had access to the Internet. Of these 3.8 billion internet users, three billion use social media. Despite the current turmoil, Facebook is well ahead of the rest, with over two billion users, followed by YouTube with 1.5 billion. As always, after a tricky learning curve, the general public has adopted what began as an innovation.


For several years now, various voices have raised issues regarding the flip side of the coin, humorously denouncing the havoc wreaked by social media, the tyranny of the codes governing a world apparently super cool but often fake. Between ultra-careful shot framing and Photoshopping, the grand ego show is closer to a pimped-up and glamorized scenario than to truth. Many people speak of constant social pressure, with incessant comparisons that generate frustration and even depression. Meanwhile, various movements such as #nofilter and #iwakeuplikethis have attempted to denounce this idealized worldview. But it’s not easy to cope with getting real in a truly authentic way: witness the fact that you can now download filters to create a stunning #nofilter effect. But there’s still no need to hit the panic button! Over time, digital natives have acquired greater maturity and are well aware how the dream factory works. The real me coexists unselfconsciously with the social me. While that might seem a touch schizophrenic, millennials are well equipped to handle just another paradox and are capable of putting technologies into perspective.


All the digital platforms have their mega-influencers, some of whom have as many followers as the population of Switzerland! For them, the web has become a business, and the broader their audience, the less authentic they become. According to a study conducted in February 2017**, the engagement rate of communities surrounding ‘small-scale’ influencers with less than 30,000 followers is 60% higher than the big names. Suspected of commercial connivance with brands, accused of becoming marketing professionals, these ‘millionaires’ in terms of followers are having a rough time… They are unfavorably compared with micro-influencers who proclaim an authentic, more personalized and solidarity-driven approach. They have grasped the fact that communities had lost their original naivety and were no longer taken in by the system. For them, nothing is more important than being true to yourself and your convictions, especially if the latter are cutting-edge. An ‘authentic attitude’ which considers that small is beautiful!

By Anne-Marie Clerc


* Stats posted on Le Blog du Modérateur (a website for digital professionals) on December 28th 2017.
** Study conducted by HelloSociety Media - MediaPost.

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