When it comes to social media, most of us don’t have a lot of influence. We post a political message once in a while or share our views about a favorite sports team, then watch as a handful of people click “like” on Facebook or Instagram.
My “influence” (that’s in air quotes on purpose) is minimal even with friends and family members, mostly because I’m not a celebrity and only have a few thousand followers. Elon Musk once tweeted one my articles. That’s all that I have to be proud of.
According to Kylie Jenner, 363,000,000 followers are enough for you to influence many people.
In fact, it’s not a stretch to suggest she has an impact on how the social media platforms even work. An example of this is the recent changes to Instagram’s interface, designed to make it easier to see video in your feed.
This topic was something I recently wrote. It suggested that major updates were made to the app’s photo-centric aspect in order to look more TikTok.
But not quite so quickly.
I don’t think anyone ran those changes past Kylie Jenner, who posted a story criticizing the changes. Her final approval stamp seems to her.
Since Facebook (by way of parent company Meta) owns Instagram, it means she’s the boss. It’s possible they will soon want her to have an office.
I’ll now explain a bit more about video. The idea of video began a long time ago, when everyone realized that they could record anything on their phones. The beginning was filled with pranks. YouTube has taught me how to repair a Range Rover engine (my nephew did it). Recently, I had to reset my mesh network to allow Internet access in all rooms. I watched an explainer TikTok video.
Video is the new king of the internet. While we’ve all seen funny photos and graphical memes on Instagram, the true power of engagement in the attention economy comes when you post a video. That’s not lost on Instagram or Facebook by any means, and they are making moves to capture that market.
Unfortunately, they don’t quite understand who runs the platforms.
It’s not Mark Zuckerberg, that’s for sure. Influencers have all the influence. If they are willing to give you their thumbs-up on new features, that can spark huge interest. If they say “stay in your lane” to Instagram, the execs crawl back into their fancy silicon valley offices and say Nevermind.
Snapchat learned this the hard way after Jenner noticed she wasn’t using the app that much. A stock drop followed by a moment of silence.
After she posted about it on Twitter, the stock price of the company fell by $1.3B.
Listen to the Influencers or Pay the Price
Innovation is best seen as a result of influencers and not executive teams. It might make it difficult to do new things or even impossible. It’s not like she’s on the board of directors. However, I think she’s at a higher position. Although no one reports directly to her, her influence goes far beyond that of employees.
Hopefully, the boss of Facebook and Instagram won’t get tired of the Instagram feed anytime soon. She said she likes the “cute photos” from friends…at least for now.