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Friday, October 26, 2018

Can You Trust YouTube "Influencers?" - A Media Literacy Lesson

Talk to almost any teenager and you'll quickly learn that they spend more time watching YouTube videos than they do watching traditional television programming. And many of those teenagers have a favorite YouTube "star" to watch. Some of those stars are being paid thousands of dollars to include products in their videos. That often happens in the lucrative video game and beauty categories. So how can a teenager trust that their favorite YouTube star actually likes a product and isn't just pitching it for money? That's the question that Above the Noise asked during this past summer's VidCon. The answers to that question and more are tackled in Can You Trust Influencers on YouTube?


This video could spark a great classroom discussion about how products end up in videos, how advertising works, and why it is important to watch and read with a critical eye.

My Policy About Paid Endorsements On This Blog
As someone who makes part of my living through online advertising I am occasionally asked to speak to students about issues related to "influencer" marketing. What I tell students is that an online "influencer" who cares about his/her reputation will make clear declarations when talking about or writing about a product they've been paid to endorse. And for myself, my rule about accepting paid placements is that I'll only accept them from companies whose products I would feel comfortable putting into my own classroom. I also always make a clear disclosure in the header or footer of a post.