Coronavirus: Social media influencers like Kylie Jenner could be the ones to save us all in time of pandemic
These are strange apocalyptic times we are living through. So it doesn't seem bizarre to note that the ones to save the millennials and the even younger Gen Z from the coronavirus pandemic could be influencers like Kylie Jenner.
The US Surgeon General Jerome Adams called in for a chat about the novel coronavirus on 'Good Morning America' on March 19. Adams called on social media influencers, including the likes of Kylie Jenner and NBA player Kevin Durant, to use their influencer power for the benefit of humanity: well, the younger ones — millennials and young people — especially, to understand the seriousness of the disease.
His plea comes after reports that "spring breakers" are ignoring strictures about congregating and partying in Miami, Florida. "If I get corona, I get corona. At the end of the day, I'm not going to let it stop me from partying," spring break goer Brady Sluder told Reuters.
Some millennials have also shirked orders to attempt "social distancing". A 21-year-old college student recently went viral on video-sharing app TikTok for trying to start the "coronavirus challenge," in which she filmed herself licking an airplane toilet seat.
How do we stop such madness?
One might argue that it just Darwinism at work, but these young men and women also have at-risk old folks back home — grandmothers and grandfathers — who they might unknowingly infect as carriers showing no symptoms.
The only voices that young people will listen to are people like Kylie Jenner.
Kylie Jenner has already become the youngest self-made billionaire on the back of her influencer game. Starting with ponying other people's products, she has gone on to creating a beauty empire. At just 21, Kylie Jenner is worth $1 billion, and her cosmetics company, Kylie Cosmetics, is valued at $900 million.
So if she tells the 21-year-old college student licking toilet bowls to cease, to desist, she might listen. The spring breakers might still not give a damn but it might start a discussion and get at least some of them to accept self-quarantined conditions, even if it is in hotel rooms.
Influencers have been labeled as the epitome of mindless consumerist culture till now — not without reason.
Influencer culture is all about getting young people to part with their money as quickly as possible. It's 'smoke and mirrors' aspirational illusions created through Instagram snaps and viral videos lean on their fanbase to buy into that lifestyle, into the culture showcased.
Right now, since being alive and healthy is a prerequisite to being sexy, Kylie Jenner could hawk the "culture of social distancing" to her fanbase.
For now, Kylie Jennee is sticking to posting inspirational Instagram messages to her 141 million followers. "Another daily reminder to take this social distancing serious and self-quarantine," she wrote. She also revealed how isolating herself during her pregnancy had trained her to cope with the coronavirus pandemic.
She has a vested interest in keeping as many of her followers alive so that they keep buying her products. So, maybe she could launch a sexy toilet or hand sanitizer. Or maybe a snap chat movie about staying home with family or live stream her online Netlix watch party. So many options really, and it is a win-win for everyone. Kylie Jenner makes money, more young people stay alive and infect fewer people and the US Surgeon General sees an improvement in the situation and maybe gets a whole night's sleep?
Maybe, this is the true purpose (and importance) of influencers. These are strange apocalyptic times we are living through indeed.