Who are influencers and how do they influence our choices?
We often hear about influencers, people who appear on social media by posting photos of their lives that seem to be about their personal sphere but re actually advertising campaigns.
That of the influencer has become a real job. Their post can be worth huge gains and this because their post is able to condition our desires.
Have you ever wished for something so intensely that you thought your whole life would benefit greatly from that possession?
Generally, we are led to think that our desires are born spontaneously and that we are the ones to place, completely autonomously, our interest on a certain object. This approach would explain the birth of desire by the fact that a certain thing possesses in itself an intrinsic value such as to stimulate desire itself.
Desire and envy
Things don’t always work the way we think. Today, for example, the role of influencers is very fashionable—people who are capable of influencing public opinion by promoting the birth of certain desires and needs.
Referring to the daily experience one would think that every desire depends on a free choice, but this straight line between subject and object of desire encounters contradictions when feelings such as great admiration, or envy and jealousy condition it.
In these cases, rather than wanting the object, we identify with the person who possesses it and focus our attention on it to the point that it takes away the importance of the object itself.
We are interested in things, not so much for the things themselves, but because others possess them.
A model is placed between the subject and the desired object, a model whom we envy because he already possesses the object.
The object acquires value only because it is already desired by another.
The presence of this “other” calls into question the individualism that sees people as autonomous and free entities to make their own choices regardless of external conditioning.
Imitation as a consequence of low self-esteem
We can say that often desire is an end in itself—you want without knowing what. In the continuous search for improvement, you will always meet someone else provided with something that we lack and that will seem essential to obtain that fullness that we have not yet achieved. The object is given a disproportionate value. It is transfigured by the desire of the subject.
It’s the model that fascinates and attracts. To fix one’s admiration on a model is to recognize or grant him prestige that one does not possess. This is to admit one’s own inferiority or low self-esteem to ascertain one’s own insufficiency and incompleteness.
The man you envy is a man who doesn’t love himself. The desire that the subject has for the object is none other than the desire that he has for the prestige that he himself assigns to the one who possesses the object.
The object possessed becomes a status symbol, a social identification that makes the subject feel accepted and appreciated.
The acceptance of the fact that one’s desire is not spontaneous but the fruit of imitation (that is, the precedence of the model with respect to the desire itself) will always be rejected by the subject because it would discover him and reveal its weakness.
The role of the model
The model does not have a passive role in this triangle between the subject he wants and the desired object, he is not content to wait for a volition of the subject but he does everything to create it. An object which no one desires would have no interest, no value capable of giving rise to desire, and therefore no merit for him who possesses it, therefore the model tends to magnify the object and to exhibit its own advantage which becomes such only if by the other is considered such.
In other words, the desire of the model needs to feel other competitive desires to its own to stay alive. The model, therefore, always tends to arouse competition itself, that is, to cause the emergence of a role that he will tend to supplant.
Let’s take an example: the lover who praises the quality of his partner with his friends tries more to assert vanity and pride and the superiority of his happiness than to confirm his desire.
The answer he wants to elicit is that his friends, envious, make themselves want his partner and refuse other suitors. This would serve as a confirmation to the lover in his vacillating certainty of having chosen well.
A circular dynamic
The dynamic of desire, therefore, follows a circular trend, the model flaunts its satisfaction with the object and this does not escape the subject that intensifies the efforts to get in turn to possess it.
Each one needs the other but, at the same time, he tries to make himself another rival. For both the desire is always to be another, to be seen with different eyes, to increase his prestige and the consideration that others have of him.
However, sooner or later desire inevitably comes into contact with other desires and both the subject and the model will turn their interest elsewhere, perhaps even changing their roles, and creating new objects to be desired.