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Editor's Edition: The shifting power of influencers

While social media has been around for many years, influencer culture has changed a lot in the past year.

Ramona Pringle, technology expert and associate professor at Ryerson University, says posts from celebrities, such as Rihanna’s recent Tweet about the farmers’ protests in India, spark awareness. She says celebrities like Rihanna are part of an influencer group known as a “new kind of gatekeeper of information,” but what kind of change stars can affect with their online activism remains to be seen.

She said that while much of the influence will come from celebrities, politicians, and pop stars, more recently we’ve seen new influencer voices rising to power.

Pringle says these new creators are using social media to capture an audience, whether it’s through commerce, activism, or creating niche community bubbles.

The power of influence is shifting, and Pringle believes even though it might help to have a following before you join social media, small brands and individuals are also using social media to build that following from scratch. And it’s working.