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Deinfluencing: It’s a popular trend but it won’t stop us spending money

Deinfluencing is a popular trend but it’s nothing new, and after all, we’re still being influenced.

Compilation image of TikTok symbol on a phone with a multicoloured background and hands counting out $50 notes to represent deinfluencing
Deinfluencing is a trend where influencers post TikTok videos on what not to buy. (Source: Getty)

The deinfluencing hashtag has amassed 163 million views on TikTok – but what is it, and how will it change they way we spend our money?

Deinfluencing is a trend popularised, ironically, by influencers. It sees creators post videos telling followers what they shouldn't spend our money on.

It’s a popular trend, and one which has now exploded into a broader conversation around consumption habits and the future of influencing.

Also by Emma Edwards:

But the question is, will it actually stop us spending money?

Deinfluencing is exactly what we need

The rise of digital advertising, remarketing, targeted content and influencers has meant we’re being prodded with thousands of ads every single day.

In some ways, having the creators we love and trust tell us what’s not so hot is exactly what we need.

Voices advocating for less consumption, and normalising why not to buy every latest ‘thing’ can work to reduce the psychological concept of ‘relative deprivation’ – this is the feeling of deprivation that comes from seeing others in a reference group who have something we don’t.

In fact, some of my social media community expressed that they liked the trend, as it was prompting them to think more critically about the things they buy. And that alone warrants a point on deinfluencing’s scoreboard.

Promoting cheaper ‘dupes’ isn’t anything new

In some cases, though, deinfluencing has taken on the form of debunking expensive products and offering cheaper alternatives.

While this might save us a buck, the concept of ‘dupes’ (a cheaper version of something that’s essentially a duplicate of something else) isn’t anything new and won’t see us consuming less in the long run.

In fact, it can even mean we consume more, if we discover we actually do want the expensive version and end up with both.

Deinfluencing is still influencing

On face value, deinfluencing sounds like the answer to our consumption problems. But look slightly closer and you’ll notice that actually, we’re still being influenced.

What that means is we’re not making our own decisions. If we’re simply waiting to be told whether something is or isn’t worth buying, where’s the component that decides what’s right for us? In many ways, that’s what we’ve lost – and it’s time to get it back.

Remember the days when you’d look at a photo and have no way of knowing where an outfit was from or how you could buy it? Wasn’t that a simpler time?

Now, we can simply tap for details, swipe and click a couple of times and suddenly that outfit is on its way to our door.

Hang a second… did we even think that through?

We have become accustomed to such access, such proximity to stuff, that our consideration process has been all but eroded to a wafer thin shadow of itself.

Social media has created a habit of immediacy

The immediacy that has fallen out of the social media culture is damaging. Damaging to the planet, damaging to humans in supply chains, to our wallets, and to our identities.

Yes, (some) influencers have profited extremely well off of this culture, but there’s value in looking for these patterns in ourselves, too. We can’t control the future of influencing, deinfluencing or anything else, but we can pay close attention to how vulnerable we are to external influences.

I’ve long believed that getting to know yourself is an act of financial empowerment, and this is a perfect example.

When we understand our personality, our preferences, our needs, and our values better, we’re less likely to be influenced by external perspectives.

Go deeper and get to know your finances, your money habits and your long term goals on a deeper level, and you’ll find tools to withstand all the noise of what other people say we should do, buy, and have.

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