• Reagan Hart

The New Home Shopping Network

I started watching YouTube Beauty tutorials about a year ago. I was living abroad, and it was a way for me to connect with trends in America, and hear some English. I enjoyed hearing about the bright colors, matte lips, winged liner, and the list goes on. I loved watching and reading reviews so much that I started my channel and blog when I moved back to The States.

I still watch many of the beauty gurus that I was watching before I moved, even if they are outside of my niche. I like to be aware of everything in the beauty industry. So, I view a wide variety of videos—from drag queens to 60-year-old women, and everything in between. After a year of steady viewership, one of the things that irk me the most in this online, TV world is the statement: “I do not mean to be negative…” and then the YouTuber goes into his or her honest opinion.

When did honesty become synonymous with negativity? This has become quite bothersome to me, as I have started trying out more makeup trends myself. Many of the products that I have tried, at the suggestion of various beauty gurus, are shit. I understand that my skin type may be different from the YouTuber’s, or that maybe they enjoy something about the product more than I do, but I have worked in the fashion and beauty industries, and I understand how marketing works.

There has been a major shift in the marketing landscape. The World Wide Web is only 26 years old, the age of a millennial born in 1990. YouTube is 12 years old and began in 2005, while Instagram is only 7-year-old (it started in 2010.) Internet marketing is a new tool, and the biggest driver for this new, technological age, is us – the customer.

My oldest brother’s generation didn’t have a whole database where people could buy products and share their opinions. If you wanted to know what the latest Chumba Wamba CD was like, you had to buy it yourself and then decide if it was good or not. If it were released in the summer, away from your school friends, you’d have to wait until the fall to discuss it with your pals.

When Beyoncé dropped Lemonade, the world shook. Within seconds, everyone was posting about it. Ladies across the globe were getting into formation and recreating the hit. Between Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, Facebook, and Snapchat, now everyone has an opportunity to share their opinion. I urge all the Youtubers, Facebookers, Grammars, Snappers, and Tweeters to share their opinions honestly of their favorite lipstick, or how Queen Bey looked in her Givenchy dress. However, please remember that the little people are watching.

Children watch 2.5 more times the amount of internet television than any generation. Children aren’t aspiring to be Brad Pitt or Britney Spears, they want to be like the people who share their lives with them three days a week, on YouTube. What are Influencers telling kids by giving dishonest product reviews?

Influencers are just that, people who influence. Influencers become such by being customers themselves and sharing their purchase opinions with others through an online, virtual community. When Influencer reaches a high subscriber count, companies may approach them to become affiliates. At this point, Influencers become the middle man between customers and companies—creating a bridge that previously did not exist.

Many influencers are afraid to share their actual opinions because they fear to be unable to gain certain sponsorships, or that they may lose current sponsorships. Famous bloggers and vloggers need to understand, without their honest product knowledge and feedback, they would not have a fan base. When influencers are not sharing their honest opinions, or make sharing their opinions sound like a negative thing, they are practically telling children that Ben Franklin matters more than honesty.

The internet not only created Influencers but also allows access between companies and customers. Due to the internet’s widespread popularity, we’re not only able to communicate with influencers, but we’re also able to communicate with companies directly easily. Sometimes I will contact a company via social media private messaging, if I am curious about a product, and they usually reply within minutes. Because of this communication accessibility, social media purchasing has become the home shopping of the millennial generation. Companies create the product; influencers create marketing through online content to promote the product, and content consumers purchase these products and share their opinions through online communities. This is a business schema that did not exist twelve years ago, and millennials are the creators of this wide and vast new business landscape.

With this very new marketing landscape, I challenge the beauty gurus, vloggers, and bloggers out there, to share their honest opinions! Honesty is not negativity; it is the truth! My motto is judge products and not people. No one is going to get hurt or fall ill because you gave an honest review of a product. We all need to remember that we’re creating a world for the next generation, and little eyes are watching. 

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© 2020 by Reagan Hart