As a content creator or social media influencer, you may have noticed an increase in scolding and advice-giving on platforms like TikTok and Instagram. The rise of the TikTok scold is fueled by the app’s popularity as a destination for quick tutorials and how-to videos. However, the advice being given often comes in a hectoring tone that implies the viewer has already made several catastrophic errors and is in dire need of remedial education. Despite their aggressive stance, these videos have become hugely popular, with hashtags like #Mistakes and #DosAndDonts seeing significant increases in views over the past year.
Part of the reason for this trend is that negativity sells. Unfortunately, people are drawn in by it. But negativity is also an effective strategy for establishing credibility as an expert. By using negative language and denigrating other approaches, scolds can authenticate their own identity as an expert.
This trend is perfectly calibrated to our particular historical moment. Many Americans are feeling insecure, adrift, and eager to shore up their self-esteem after the upheavals of the past few years. As a content creator or social media influencer, you have an opportunity to offer your audience positive, uplifting content that helps them feel good about themselves and their choices. Instead of shaming them for their mistakes, focus on helping them achieve their goals and aspirations.
Influencers have always offered a sense of control over an unruly environment. When they first emerged on blogs and later on Instagram in the late 2000s and early 2010s, that sense of control centered on the promise of economic self-sufficiency. Today, in a world that feels more uncertain and confusing than ever, influencers can offer their followers a sense of control over their own lives by providing them with positive, inspiring content that helps them achieve their goals and aspirations.
As a content creator or social media influencer, you have a unique opportunity to make a positive impact on the world. By offering your audience uplifting, positive content that helps them feel good about themselves and their choices, you can help them navigate the challenges of our uncertain world and achieve their goals and aspirations. So instead of joining the ranks of the TikTok scolds, focus on being a force for good and making a positive difference in people’s lives.