Column from Italy: And then to see the false dream of the social media


Christian Life

Chiara Lamberti, CNE.news

Chiara Ferragni (centre). Photo EPA, Ettore Ferrari

In Italy, the influencer system on social networks is at a breaking point. The perfect, glossy world that was created, as in every other country, has suffered a wave of scandals, and now new scenarios are emerging.

In Italy, the influencer system on Instagram was born with Chiara Ferragni. A girl who, since 2014, photographed her outfits every day, has reached 30 million followers, becoming one of the most important influencers in the world.

When she married a famous singer, her influence in Italy increased even more.

He is a rapper, and she is a fashion blogger. Together, they have built a multimillion-dollar empire by using social media and consciously choosing to show (almost) everything about their personal and professional lives.

Thanks to their undeniable communication skills, the two have amassed followers over the years to the point where she has reached 30 million and he 14 million. Together, they influence more than half of the nation or otherwise create an imagination in those who follow them and beyond.

The careers of the two have remained consistent in content from their beginnings. She has continued to promote fashion and luxury brands, showing off her daily outfits, and he has continued producing commercial rap music. Nevertheless, the notoriety, the business empire they built, and the power of influence they managed to have at some point made them figures of national importance.

He was a champion of various progressive political causes, a benefactor at many fundraisers and a promoter of civil rights; she was a feminist icon and star of self-empowerment.

Brands under their names, collaborations with the biggest names in fashion and the marketplace, and docu-series about their lives have brought them to the pinnacle of heady success with daunting features. In fact, within a few years, their constant production of content about themselves has intoxicated the public and doped the media.

Marriage, children, marital crises, serious illnesses, paths of psychotherapy... all professionally documented, creating the illusion of a perfect life to aspire to and learn from. Influencers, indeed.

This inevitable rise seems to have been interrupted when the general public, through legal investigations published and re-published by every media outlet, discovered that Ferragni, presumably, used a collaboration with a well-known Pandoro brand to gain publicity for herself while associating her name with a charitable cause.

A "misunderstanding," she has repeatedly said. In fact, the case itself reveals nothing more than the mechanism by which the influencer has always worked and the logic by which the influencer-market system operates. For some reason, however, the charity issue struck a chord with the public, shattering the idyll.

The public was shocked by the reality and disappointed by the supposed perfection of its idol.

This parable ends with lawsuits, loss of image, and a profound crisis of the couple, on which the media continues to jackal mercilessly.

Because of this scandal involving the most significant influencer, Italian law is taking steps to change the rules for advertising and charity, and many are asking for clarity on how this world works.

False dream

The influence of social media should not leave Christians indifferent. Someone has reached 30 million people by selling a false dream of perfection and generating an endless trail of imitation.

The search for idols to imitate is human nature. Now that the social world is in crisis, Italian Christians have the opportunity to ask themselves how to respond to these needs, how to protect themselves, and how to inform and give hope for a better world based on Christ and not on luxury.



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