Internet to Influencers: “Off With Their Threads!”


We here at Passionfruit have always thrown some side eye at the “Influencer” title, that word always felt like something a bunch of McCann strategists dreamed up in 2015 to connote the brand friendly, saccharine sweet creators that have choked our feeds for the last decade or so (in fact, the word dates back to the 1600’s, when it was primarily used to discuss matters of astrological import…”the fault in our stars” type stuff). 

No shade intended to those of you practiced in the dark art of influencing others to purchase things, we’re all trying to make a buck out here and turning your trusted opinion into a revenue stream is about as American as it gets. To that end:

Did we mention we’re on Patreon? Follow us there for free at the very least, we’re announcing a pair of IRL events in the Los Angeles area next month, and our Patreon subs are going to get a chance to RSVP first. Consider yourself duly influenced.

Where was I? Ah, yes. Having influence over an audience is a responsibility that extends beyond your ability to monetize said influence, and there’s an expectation that those of us with influence will reflect the beliefs of our audiences right back at them.

This is particularly hard when the beliefs of the audience are not “brand safe.” I won’t get into the hell that is the “brand safety” industry (though I’m coming for you one day, DoubleVerify), except to say that many millions of dollars are spent by brands every year to make sure their ads don’t appear next to anything they don’t want to be associated with. This includes, as you can imagine, discussions of things like war, crime, inequality, politics, and genocide…understandably, nobody feels like buying anything while watching this young refugee, despite her immense influence and important citizen journalism.

And yet. The images and videos that are truly influencing young people to protest, boycott, and stand up for human rights are being met by deafening silence from a large percentage of our most influential celebrities and creators, and the internet at large is just about done giving people a microphone if they are just going to use it when they can sell something. #blockout2024 is making short work naming names and spiking follower counts. 

Our once lauded leaders of influence are learning a lesson that those of us in the media have known for a long time: Just because something isn’t “safe” by brand standards, doesn’t mean we can’t talk about it. In fact, all the more reason we have to.

Not that you should care what an actor thinks about Gaza, or even what we think about what influencers think about Gaza. Frankly, they are not the experts in geopolitics you’re looking for. If you really want to learn from some intellectual influencers on this subject, I personally think The Pocket Report, SomeMoreNews, UnderTheDeskNews, Hasan Piker, and John Oliver do a good job (though curiously his most recent segment on student protests doesn’t appear to have made the full episode Youtube drop…perhaps some brand safety issues there?) 

Don’t just block the dummies who have nothing to add, go follow the smart folks who know a thing or two. Tom Cruise is not the source of truth on this one. More important than blocking blowhards? Donate.

And before you send me shit for not recognizing Israel’s right to defend itself, know that I’m a quarter Jewish (mother’s side, y’all have made it clear to me that counts), I do not equate the Jewish religion with the regime currently running Israel’s war machine, and while anti-semitism is a scourge that needs to be addressed whenever it pops up, I do not think committing genocide against the civilians of Palestine is helping to create a safer Israel or Jewish population.

But like I said, I’m just here to get you to sign up for our Patreon so we can keep writing articles about influencers not knowing how to wield their influence appropriately. Does that make us bad people? Probably. But at least it’s better than not saying anything at all.


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