Social media platforms have given rise to a new breed of celebrities: influencers. These people have amassed large followers online by creating and sharing content that appeals to their niche audiences. Influencers can earn money, fame, and opportunities by collaborating with brands, promoting products, or launching their ventures. However, not everything is glamorous in the influencer world. Behind the curated images and videos are stories of scandals, controversies, and dangers that expose the dark side of social media fame. Beyond the polished feeds and captivating narratives lies a riveting tale of influencers gone wild — a narrative that explores the uncharted territories of their journey, often overshadowed by the glittering allure of likes and followers.
Table of Contents
What Do Influencers Do And How They Make Money?
An influencer is an individual who has developed a significant and engaged following on social media platforms due to their expertise, charisma, or relatable content. These individuals can influence their followers’ opinions, behaviors, and purchasing decisions. Influencers come from various backgrounds, and their content often revolves around specific niches such as beauty, fashion, travel, fitness, lifestyle, technology, gaming, and more. Influencers can make money in various ways, such as:
- Sponsored posts:
This is when an influencer gets paid to post about a product or service on their page. The amount they charge depends on their reach, engagement, and niche. For example, an influencer with 100,000 followers on Instagram can charge around $1,000 per post.
- Affiliate marketing:
Influencers earn a commission for every sale or action they generate through a unique link or code. The commission rate varies depending on the product and the platform. For example, Amazon Associates pays up to 10% commission for qualifying purchases.
- Brand partnerships:
This is when an influencer collaborates with a brand on a long-term basis, creating content and campaigns that align with the brand’s goals and values. The payment can be a fixed fee, a percentage of sales, or a combination of both. For example, Kylie Jenner partnered with Adidas and earned $1 million per post.
- Official network monetization programs:
This is when an influencer earns money from the social media platform itself, based on the views, clicks, or impressions that their content generates. The eligibility and payment criteria vary depending on the platform. For example, YouTube pays $3 to $5 per 1,000 views.
This is when influencers sell their products or services to their followers, such as clothing, accessories, books, courses, etc. The profit margin depends on production, distribution, and marketing costs. For example, David Dobrik sells his merchandise and earns up to $15 million annually.
- Direct donation:
This is when an influencer receives money from their followers directly, either as a one-time tip or a recurring subscription. The amount depends on the generosity and loyalty of the fans. For example, Ninja receives donations from his Twitch viewers and earns up to $500,000 monthly.
Some examples of popular influencers from different niches and genres are:
- Beauty: James Charles (25.6 million Instagram followers)
- Fashion: Chiara Ferragni (24.9 million Instagram followers)
- Fitness: Kayla Itsines (13.2 million Instagram followers)
- Travel: Jack Morris (2.7 million Instagram followers)
- Gaming: PewDiePie (110 million YouTube subscribers)
- Comedy: Lilly Singh (14.9 million YouTube subscribers)
Recent Influencers Gone Wild Incidents
Influencers gone wild is a term used to describe the phenomenon of social media personalities who engage in outrageous, scandalous, or inappropriate behavior that shocks or offends their audiences. It differs from normal controversy or scandal in that it usually involves more extreme or reckless actions, such as nudity, violence, illegal activities, or public humiliation. Influencers gone wild may do so for various reasons, such as seeking attention, fame, money, or thrill, or as a result of mental health issues, substance abuse, or peer pressure. Some examples of recent influencers gone wild incidents in 2023 are:
A British cosplayer and model who is known for her provocative and erotic content posted a series of photos and videos on Reddit and Telegram that showed her having seggs with various animals, including a dog, a horse, and a snake. She claimed it was part of her “art” and that she loved animals. She faced severe backlash from animal rights activists, fans, and fellow influencers, who accused her of animal abuse and bestiality. She also faced legal action from the authorities and was banned from several platforms.
An American YouTuber and boxer notorious for his controversial stunts and feuds attempted to rob a bank in Los Angeles with his friends. He live-streamed the whole ordeal on Instagram and YouTube, where he taunted the police and the security guards. He claimed that it was a prank and that he had permission from the bank manager. However, he was arrested and charged with several counts of robbery, assault, and trespassing. He also lost several sponsors and endorsements.
An American TikTok star and singer who is popular for her dance videos and songs was caught on camera spitting on a homeless man who asked her for money in New York City. She then posted the video on TikTok with the caption, “Influencers gone wild”. She claimed it was a joke and was trying to be funny. However, she received widespread criticism and hate from social media users, celebrities, and human rights organizations, who called her out for her disrespect and cruelty. She also faced a lawsuit from the homeless man.
Psychology And Social Factors That Contribute To Influencers’ Gone Wild Behavior
Several psychological and social factors can contribute to influencers’ wild behavior, such as:
Influencers may have an inflated sense of self-importance, entitlement, and superiority. They may crave admiration and validation from their followers and disregard the feelings or needs of others. They may also have a fragile ego that can be easily threatened by criticism or competition.
- Peer pressure:
Influencers may feel pressured to conform to the expectations or norms of their online community or niche. They may also feel pressured to keep up with the trends or actions of other influencers in their field. They may fear losing their relevance or popularity if they do not follow the crowd or stand out from the competition.
Influencers may face intense competition from other influencers with similar or larger followings. They may need to constantly produce new and engaging content to attract and retain their audience. They may also feel the need to outdo or sabotage their rivals by creating drama or controversy.
Influencers may become addicted to the rewards and feedback that they receive from their online activity. They may experience a dopamine rush, a neurotransmitter associated with pleasure and motivation when they receive likes, comments, shares, or views. They may also experience withdrawal symptoms when they are offline or receive negative feedback. They may develop an unhealthy obsession with their online persona and neglect their offline life.
These factors can influence the decision-making and behavior of influencers in different ways. Some influencers may use these factors as a motivation to create positive and beneficial content for themselves and their followers. Others may use these factors as an excuse to engage in harmful and irresponsible behavior that can damage their reputation and credibility.
Negative Impacts Of Influencers Gone Wild Behavior
Influencers gone wild behavior can have serious consequences for the influencer and their followers. For the influencer they may face legal action, loss of sponsorships, damage to their personal and professional reputation, loss of trust and respect from their followers, or mental health issues. Their followers may be exposed to misleading or harmful information, products, or services, experience negative emotions such as anger, disappointment, or betrayal, lose interest or confidence in the influencer, or develop unhealthy habits or behaviors.
Therefore, it is important for influencers to be aware of the psychological and social factors that can affect their behavior and to exercise caution and responsibility when creating and sharing content online. It is also important for followers to be critical and discerning when consuming content from influencers and to seek reliable sources of information when in doubt.
How To Prevent Or Reduce The Occurrence Of Influencers Going Wild
Influencers have a large and loyal online following and can influence their followers’ opinions, behaviors, and decisions. However, influencers are also human beings who can make mistakes, face challenges, and experience stress. Sometimes, influencers may go wild, meaning they act in harmful, irresponsible, or unethical ways, either intentionally or unintentionally. This can have negative consequences for themselves, their followers, and society. Therefore, it is important to prevent or reduce influencers going wild and deal with the aftermath if it happens. Here are some ways to do that:
- Setting boundaries, limits, and goals:
Influencers should be clear about what they want to achieve with their online presence, what they are comfortable sharing and doing, and what they expect from their followers. They should also respect the boundaries, limits, and goals of others, such as other influencers, brands, platforms, and audiences. This can help them avoid conflicts, controversies, and burnout.
- Seeking professional help or support:
Influencers should not hesitate to seek professional help or support if they are struggling with mental health issues, addiction, trauma, or other personal problems that may affect their online behavior. They should also seek professional help or support if they are victims of cyberbullying, harassment, or abuse. They should also contact their friends, family, or trusted peers for emotional support and guidance.
- Taking breaks or detoxes:
Influencers should take breaks or detox from their online activities regularly to recharge their energy, refresh their perspective, and reconnect with themselves. They should also encourage their followers to do the same. This can help them avoid overexposure, oversaturation, and overwhelm.
- Being accountable, responsible, and transparent:
Influencers should be accountable, responsible and transparent for their actions and words online. They should admit when they make mistakes, apologize when they hurt others and correct when they spread misinformation. They should also disclose any sponsored content, endorsements or partnerships with brands or organizations. They should also respect the rules and regulations of the platforms they use and the laws of their countries.
- Apologizing and making amends:
Influencers should apologize and make amends when they go wild and cause harm to themselves or others. They should acknowledge the impact of their actions, express remorse and empathy, and offer compensation or restitution if possible. They should also accept the consequences of their actions, such as losing followers, sponsors or opportunities.
- Learning from mistakes and improving oneself:
Influencers should learn from their mistakes and improve themselves when they go wild. They should seek feedback, criticism or advice from others, such as influencers, experts or mentors. They should also educate themselves on the topics, issues or cultures they are involved in or comment on. They should also develop new skills, habits or strategies to improve their online performance and behavior.
In this article, we have explored influencers gone wild, where social media personalities engage in reckless, unethical, or illegal behavior for fame and money. We have seen examples of how this can harm themselves, their followers, and society. We have also discussed some possible causes and consequences of this trend.
We suggest that influencers and their followers should be more aware of the risks and responsibilities of online fame. Influencers should follow ethical guidelines and respect the law, while followers should be critical and discerning of the content they consume. They should also seek help if they feel addicted or influenced by harmful messages.
I’m a writer, artist, and designer working in the gaming and tech industries. I have held staff and freelance positions at large publications including Digital Trends, Lifehacker, Popular Science Magazine, Electronic Gaming Monthly, IGN, The Xplore Tech, and others, primarily covering gaming criticism, A/V and mobile tech reviews, and data security advocacy.