Transparency Item: The Perspectives section of the Graphic is comprised of articles based on opinion. This is the opinion and perspective of the writer.
From magazines in grocery store checkout lines to billboards in Times Square, celebrities are everywhere.
Biological forces allow humans to subconsciously shift their positive feelings about a celebrity to whatever that celebrity’s view is on a topic or issue, according to LiveScience.
The biological and psychological forces that draw us toward celebrities include classical conditioning, self-conception, cognitive dissonance, the halo effect and herd behavior, according to LiveScience.
Due to the halo effect, human brains mistake success in one field, like Ryan Reynolds’ distinguished acting career, with success in other fields, according to LiveScience. This is why his fans are likely to support his finance management recommendations through his app, Mint.
Celebrity attraction has long helped companies promote their products through those with fame. It has also helped them create their own brands. Celebrities sell anything from cars to apps, and often, it is solely from their name being attached to the advertisement.
Some marketers have also shifted gear to promoting influencers rather than big celebrities because it is cheaper and simpler, and influencers tend to display a more relatable persona, according to Forbes.
Brands have taken to social media to help promote their products and services, and individuals have joined platforms to promote their personal brand.
Two examples of platforms with deceptive information include podcasts and TikTok.
In the age of endless content, it can be difficult to determine if information is deceptive.
About half the adults in the United States — 49% — said they have listened to a podcast in the past 12 months, according to Pew Research Data.
The same survey said the top two reasons people listen to podcasts are for entertainment and education.
The term podcast is a portmanteau, or a combination, of the two words: “iPod” and “Broadcast,” according to Brittanica.
Friends Adam Curry and Dave Winer invented podcasts when they decided they would like to be able to download broadcasts to their iPods.
Podcast listening apps joined the radio as a way for listeners to receive entertainment and education on the go or while completing other tasks.
These parameters do not include anything preventing bad advice.
With such a wide variety of podcasts on various topics, the line can occasionally blur between educational content and entertainment.
It can be hard to know how to determine a podcast as credible information or entertainment.
Due to our subconscious tendency to rely on celebrities for accurate advice, and because celebrities already have a following, creating a podcast that will gain a mass audience is simpler for celebrities than it is for the average person.
Celebrities do not always have the credibility to give advice or recommendations. Sometimes, they do it to connect with their audience; other times they do it for a sponsorship.
However, a unique feature of podcasts as opposed to radio is that anyone has the ability to create one.
There are 4,211,152 podcasts, according to Podcast Index. Because it can be difficult to determine useful information, it is essential for listeners to think critically to determine if the information they are hearing is credible or not.
For example, what one podcaster might say isn’t always true for the listener.
Many websites, like QuillBot, help readers learn how to determine if something is credible or not, and this can be applied to podcasts to rule out bad advice.
TikTok is another platform where influencers and celebrities give partial or just plain bad advice.
Influencers have become celebrities, and a large source of their revenue comes from influencing their viewers.
Brand deals are a major player in TikTok content. Brands will pay influencers to convince followers why a product or service they may or may not have ever used, is worth purchasing.
TikTok has become a platform where influencers who have gained popularity are able to sell their own advice on how viewers can do the same.
For example, many finance “experts” on TikTok sell guides that teach others about finances.
Paxful, a financial cryptocurrency trading platform determined that about one in seven videos created by finance TikTok influencers is misleading in some way. These financial influencers promote financial decisions and create financial “guides” that users can buy. They also give advice without including a disclaimer.
The company also determined that “FinTok” investor influencers have over nine million followers collectively, and yet over half — 52% — have posted at least one misleading finance video, according to CBS.
New content in the 21st century often feels unlimited but can be just as harmful as it is helpful.
As a young adult, I have found it difficult to differentiate advice from the truth, especially when it comes to my favorite podcasts and TikTok creators.
It is important to be skeptical of headlines or “clickbait” — and compare with other sources to ensure credibility — according to Citizens Clean Elections Commission.
Listeners, readers and other content consumers should pay attention to what they are consuming and learn to sift through it.
Websites, such as MediaWise, offer training for all ages and can help students navigate media.
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Email Kylie Kowalski: firstname.lastname@example.org