There had been quite a number of influencers from across the globe who got called out for insensitive remarks and actions during the current health crisis — one of the most notable being the use of hashtag #coronavirus for clout on Instagram. While negative press makes for better headlines, there's a part of this pool of people that aims to truly use their influence to make a change. Here's how some influencers are using their platforms for the better during this trying time.
Raising the standard of who 'influencers' should be
Today's digital dependence has significantly grown. Remote working is now the new normal. Coming together online for causes has become more widespread than ever. Everyone is trying to put the 'social' in social media by "showing up instead of showing off".
In the case of influencers, this pandemic has really put their influence to the test. The situation has elevated the standards of social media users on whom to follow and whom to ignore. Overall, handling these situations through social media has served as a learning process for everyone embracing the digital age.
On fighting misinformation
Another way people, influencers, in particular, are helping out during this time is through fighting misinformation. Many influencers are using their platforms for sharing information from the World Health Organization (WHO) and other relevant sources to their audiences. Licensed doctors from various fields, who double up as content creators, are also providing their two-cents on the matter for free to address the queries of the public. In the UK, the government even partnered formally with social media key opinion leaders to prevent the spread of fake news about COVID-19, its symptoms, and treatment.
There has been 53.3 million posts on hashtag #loveinthetimeofcoronavirus (love in the time of coronavirus), which aims to uplift, share reminders and spread relevant news on the pandemic on viral platform TikTok. Creators on the platform share their bite-sized content and link to the official TikTok COVID-19 information page which gets updated on the dot with facts, stats, and other relevant details based on your region. Talk about putting that high following count and views to good use, right?
Launching and supporting donation drives
In terms of using high viewership for a good cause, influencers are also using their platforms for launching donation drives to support COVID-19 efforts. Chiara Ferragni's online fundraiser has raised EUR4 million in support of hospitals in Italy, where there are now almost 5,000 recorded COVID-19-related casualties.
In Malaysia, YouTube content creator and modest fashion entrepreneur Vivy Yusof has launched a donation drive, in light of the rising cases in the country over the last two weeks. The funds are said to be used for supporting Malaysian hospitals. Its initial aim of MYR300,000 has been surpassed significantly. As of writing, the fund now has more than MYR800,000 and has a new goal of MYR1 million. Vivy is constantly pushing out updates on Instagram on both the fundraiser status for transparency and relevant facts about COVID-19.
Meanwhile, in the Philippines, blogger groups are launching initiatives to help healthcare workers in this time of need. Frontliners PH, a project started by content creators Isabel Regino and Monica Pantaleon, aims to provide meals to health workers in Metro Manila. Last week, they were able to deliver 250 meal packs to nine different public hospitals.
Influencer organisations like Blogapalooza Inc. and Bloggers United PH are also helping to spread the news about donation drives across the country. This goes for fundraisers held by hospitals, private entities, schools, and other establishments that aim to support frontliners and patients affected by the situation.
Online gamers, like known cosplayer and social media personality Alodia Gosiengfiao, have also been doing consecutive charity livestreams in the past couple of weeks to raise funds for the United Nations Foundation fund, a global initiative helping WHO's worldwide response teams against COVID-19.
Rising above and beyond clout
In retrospect, it's easy to see why the term influencer easily gets targetted by the public. With huge following count should come great responsibility. Instances like these remind us that this word does have weight and value when used correctly. While not every influencer hits the bulls-eye nor understands the true meaning of this label, there are some who are trying to use their voice for something that truly matters.