Did you ever want to buy something just because you saw it on social media?
Paige Pritchard did. After college, she lived with her parents while paying off student loans. On YouTube, she saw glamorous influencers recommending clothing and beauty products. She followed their advice. Over lunch breaks, she went to expensive stores. She spent $500 on some visits.
Eventually, reality hit.
“When it came time to move out, I realized that I had no money,” says Pritchard. “I could barely afford to move out of my parent’s house.”
This experience led her to become a de-influencer.
Over the last decade, social media influencing ballooned into a $16 billion industry. On platforms such as YouTube and TikTok, influencers recommend products to their followers. When an influencer praises a product, it can feel like a suggestion from a friend.
Except it’s not really a suggestion from a friend—unless your friends get paid thousands of dollars to suggest things to you. Many content creators make a living by marketing products. They use affiliate links to send their followers to online stores. The influencers receive a share of the profits if a follower buys. Brands love marketing through influencers because it feels authentic—even if it isn’t.
One study suggests younger shoppers aren’t falling for fake authenticity. If you’re in Gen Z (born between the late 1990s and early 2010s), the term “influencer” might make you roll your eyes.
Hence the latest trend: de-influencing.
Instead of telling people what to buy, de-influencers tell people what not to buy. They encourage followers to avoid trends. They warn against expensive products that don’t live up to the hype. Over a few months, videos with the hashtag #deinfluencing received over 150 million views.
But wait. The latest trend is . . . avoiding trends?
The Bible encourages financial wisdom. It’s good to spend carefully instead of indulging every trend. But is “de-influencing” really wisdom, or just another fad? De-influencers discourage spending, but their core message remains: Live like me.
Some de-influencers denounce pricey products only to offer substitutes. They might suggest something cheaper—buy this $50 shampoo instead of this $599 shampoo—but it’s still a $50 bottle of shampoo. Many de-influencers keep their own Amazon Storefronts, where viewers can buy the recommended items—and of course, the de-influencers get a cut of the money spent.
Does “de-influencing” really de-influence? Or is this just influencing all over again? (#Reinfluencing, perhaps?)
Why? Trends come and go. Some might look healthier than others, but we need to approach them all with wisdom and discernment.