The Rise of Criticism on Influencer Culture
Online gossip forums like Tattle Life have gained notoriety for being labeled as “the most toxic place on the internet.” These platforms host discussions that criticize influencers, with thread titles like “Fake boobs, fake teeth, fake nose, fake life” and “Always the wedding guest but never the bride.”
Transition from Admiration to Criticism
Users on platforms like Tattle Life and Guru Gossip often start as fans of the influencers they critique. Despite having once admired these influencers, feelings of resentment and disdain have taken over. This shift in sentiment raises the question: why do people start to dislike influencers they once loved?
The Erosion of Parasocial Relationships
Influencers are adept at creating parasocial relationships with their followers, leading many to view them as friends. However, research shows that these relationships can deteriorate over time, with adoration transforming into animosity. Boundaries set by influencers to safeguard their privacy can rupture the perceived intimacy, causing followers to feel excluded.
When followers sense a lack of inclusivity in an influencer’s content, their emotions can turn hostile. Instead of unfollowing, individuals flock to gossip forums to speculate about the influencer’s life, constructing elaborate theories supported by online sleuthing.
Filling the Narrative Gaps
Users of these forums engage in in-depth investigations, scrutinizing every post and accessing obscure accounts to uncover undisclosed aspects of influencers’ lives. When their hypotheses prove correct, they pat themselves on the back for their “detective work” and revel in the illusion of knowing the influencer intimately.
The Yearning for Recognition
Influencers often initially engage with follower comments to foster a sense of reciprocity. However, as their audience expands, their responsiveness diminishes. The deletion of comments and blocking of certain keywords leave some followers feeling neglected.
When influencers fail to acknowledge their audience’s input, feelings of being dismissed can fuel discontent among followers. This sense of being overlooked propels individuals to seek validation and recognition through other means, such as participating in gossip forums.
The dynamic relationship between influencers and their followers is complex, evolving from admiration to scrutiny. As influencers navigate the challenges of maintaining boundaries and engagement, followers seek avenues to fill emotional voids and assert their presence in the influencers’ lives.