By Faten Omar
KUWAIT: Not so long ago, being a doctor or engineer was the dream job for many in the Middle East. Recently, the US financial services company ‘Remitly’ analyzed and published a list of the most popular dream jobs around the world using Google search data, and according to their results, the top dream job in Kuwait is being an “influencer”. In the last five years, influencers have turned into a wide industry, attracting a lot of young people who want to fulfill their aspirations of instant fame and financial gain by providing content to followers through social media platforms.
Speaking to Kuwait Times, Professor Fatema Al-Aradi said the reason behind the increase in social media influencers is the absence of positive people. “Positive content is missing; that is why you see a big increase in influencers who are only interested in views by breaking the values and morals of society,” she said. She warned parents of using their children for fame and financial purposes on social media platforms, especially teenage girls between the ages of 12 and 13.
“Many will use their children, and in this case there must be legal action, especially with the lack of controls and censorship over social media,” Aradi said, criticizing the absence of the role of parents in guidance and awareness, leaving their children roaming on social media without accountability or supervision. Aradi said the community can encourage positive influencers among young people, specialists, experts, and successful people in life, and promote successful personalities as role models for youth in Kuwait.
Ahmad Abdulsalam, a father of two, affirmed that being an influencer will never be a decent career, explaining it is a phase, in addition that influencers are people who are controlled by brands and a certain way of living. “Brands affect their credibility, as influencers seek profit. They lose themselves to brands instead of being passionate about what they are doing,” he argued. He stressed controlling access to social media for children is a big responsibility, and parents have to educate their children on the main values and let them choose wisely.
Abdulsalam pointed out the concept of “influencers” is not a new thing. “Back in the day when we were young, we were influenced by movie actors and celebrities and imitated them. But today’s influencers on social media lack governmental oversight. The country has to control this sector and pay more attention to the presented content. In light of the steady development of communication technologies, social media and smartphone applications, it has become necessary to identify the fact that influencers exist,” he said.
Abdulsalam said the phenomenon of influencers should be viewed in a positive light and benefit from their positive impacts, while addressing some of the negatives and punishing those who use this “career” to attack the privacy of individuals and blackmail them.
Teenager Hatan Fatafta said that although the career of being an influencer sounds lame, a person can build a huge fan base and find their true personality that attracts people and brands to them, noting that a real influencer is passionate and confident in what they do and how they present their ideas and make them effective.
“Not everyone can be an influencer; they have to have exceptional skills in connecting with people and being able to create interactive content. The role of the influencer increases in this particular time, as a person’s world has become directly linked to social media and is a large part of their daily life,” she added.