With the introduction of the influencer course in the South East Technological University in Carlow in September 2024, people and especially children, need to realise that it won’t be a step-by-step guide on how to get big on TikTok or YouTube.
The idea of an influencer course is bizarre in the first place. There are other degrees that allow you to learn skills to grow in the digital landscape that isn’t throwing a wad of cash at a dedicated course on becoming an influencer.
All you have to do is take a single click into the specifics of what the degree has to offer to see that it isn’t even a proper influencer degree – crisis management, video and audio creation and management as well as celebrity studies. All of those modules and skills are learnt in other courses that specialise in media; global media, film studies and even marketing.
You don’t even need a degree in any of these courses these days to become an influencer. These days, employers prefer an influencer with actual experience in the field compared to someone who spent three or four years learning about how the internet and social media works.
Look at the influencers and celebrities of today. A large majority of them have gotten popular by sheer coincidence and luck through internet virality. I find it absurd that such a vague and broad course was even permitted through the meetings.
Today’s celebrities more than likely didn’t put a single thought behind their posts and videos. Bella Poarch, Logan Paul, Jeremy Fragrance – the list goes on. Learning about how they got famous isn’t going to help you get famous. Almost all of those influencers gained virality differently, so trying to find a method or pattern in fame is preposterous.
An alternative to internet fame is becoming a social media manager. Look at TikTok accounts of massive companies: Ryanair, Lotus, KFC – they all gained virality through the young mind’s relatability and wit. You can get famous from being a media manager as well while gaining experience and adding to your portfolio.
Becoming an influencer as well as becoming a social media manager is in a bit of rough spot now, though one is a lot easier to be employable if that’s what you’re looking for – and I don’t have to tell you which one it is.
I worry that the new generation of internet junkies and addicts will flock to this degree thinking it will be some fantastical haven where they meet fellow influencers and internet enthusiasts like some cartoon movies and shows have led us to believe. All we can do is wait and see what the success rate of the new batch of potential influencers that will graduate will be in a few years from now – however low that percentage is.
Understandably, the course isn’t being introduced in one of the bigger universities such as University of Galway, because if it was, you would have to question whether we have lost our minds completely. There is a plethora of other methods to leave behind a sizeable digital footprint that doesn’t require having to go to school for it.
If you’re so hellbent on becoming an internet sensation, the best thing to do is to understand that it’s mostly luck. Once you understand that, you can go enjoy yourself, because I don’t recall ever hearing an influencer becoming famous because they thought it would blow up on the internet.