Between TikTok, Instagram, and YouTube, practically everyone wants to achieve “influencer” status these days. But with all the competition out there it’s becoming increasingly difficult to accomplish viral fame organically. Perhaps, this is why the internet recently discovered what appears to be an “influencer school” in China—which has also become subject to a fiery debate.
Video of the class began making its way around social media earlier this week, in which dozens, if not hundreds, of young women (and at least a couple of men!), can be seen wearing matching pink tops and practicing with their smartphones in front of ring lights. One Reddit user described the scene as a “TikTok Factory,” while branding expert David Armano called it “the most dystopian thing you’ll see today.”
“Black Mirror season 7 or an Influencer Marketing school in China?” added Amber Atherton, the CEO and founder of the branding agency Zyper.
Others, however, jumped in to defend the so-called influencer school. One might think that branding professionals, of all people, might understand the value of, uh, personal branding—but evidently, that message was lost on the few who were slamming it. Many pointed out that maybe the problem wasn’t so much with the school itself, but where it happened to be located?
“Marketing schools exist in the west and moreover every social media platform indirectly offers the same dystopian incentives to act in a similar way and pursue similar trends,” scorched one user. “This is just ‘China uniquely and self-evidently bad’ isn’t it?”
Others responded similarly to those dragging the influencer school.
He makes a good point. Anyone slamming China as being “dystopian” really ought to take a good, long look at the society we’re currently living in. You really hate to see it.