Influencers of the future might not look quite like we picture them now. Here in South Korea, some of the influencers on your feed might have chosen being an influencer as their university major. Others? Well, they might not even be human…
Degu Cyber University recently began offering an influencer studies major. And yes, the major is intended to teach students how to become an influencer. They offer courses in content planning, video production and editing, channel development, and live commerce.
Click Here to learn more about the major.
Not going to lie, my first reaction to learning you can major in being an influencer was – no way. There is no way they are giving out actual degrees in this. But actually, when I thought about it a bit more, it began to make sense.
KoreabyMe has an entire side of our company that manages foreign influencers in Korea. The amount of effort I’ve seen put into influencer marketing is absolutely insane. Most people don’t realize it, but the majority of influencers are putting together independent films and advertising campaigns, entirely by themselves on the daily.
To be a successful influencer, you need business, editing, photography, videography, acting, modeling, and many more skills. There are majors for each of those skill sets. And so, it does make practical sense to have a professionally focused major touching on all of the skills needed for the profession of being an influencer.
Now that we’ve established that being an influencer can be a profession, let’s talk about Single-person media as an up-and-coming industry.
Think about it, do kids watch TV? or do they watch TikTok? All over the world, children are turning away from the TV and towards their phones. And, what they are watching are small, independent creators – influencers and there is no indication that the trend will die down anytime soon.
However, before you get your hopes too high, influencers might also have an expiration date. Here in Korea, companies’ virtual humans have already begun to be created to replace real human influencers.
Virtual humans aren’t new. If you’re into emerging technologies, chances are you have already come across a few. But, you probably weren’t totally convinced. With most, there is a tell. The lighting is a bit off, or something about it just doesn’t look quite right.
But….let’s take a look at Korean Virtual Humans.
Three of the best virtual humans I’ve come across are Alia, Yun Sina, and Lizzie. They don’t look digital. These girls look completely human. In fact, I’ve seen some humans who look less human than them.
Lizzie Yeo is a project that was created by the Korean tourism board. She is probably the best virtual human to date.
See if you can spot the difference between her and a real girl! She has both an Instagram and a TikTok. While the best artists may be able to create an extremely realistic woman in a photo, video work is on a whole other level. If I hadn’t known the tourism organization made her, and just saw the videos in passing, I probably wouldn’t question them.
@lizzie.dayz The Blue House #cheongwadae is so full of green!🌳🌳🌳 Now that it's open to the public after 74 years, got to make it a photo shoot while I'm here!🤳 초록초록한 여기가 바로 한국의 대통령이 일하고 살던 #청와대!🌳🌳🌳 74년만에 누구든 갈 수 있는 관광지가 된 청와대에서 인생샷 어때?🤳 #여리지 #한국관광홍보대사 #핫플 #핫플투어 #lizziedayz #visitkorea #seoulkorea #virtualhuman #TheBlueHouse #TheKoreanPresidentResidence #virtualhuman #virtual #koreatravel #kpoplover #kpopstyle #kpopfans #kdramafans #kbeauty #koreanfashion #dailylooks #Kootd #koreanoutfit #koreantraditionalhouse #president #hanokhouse #hanok #청와대관람 #청와대개방 #한국여행 #오늘의패션 #오늘의룩 #틱톡여행 #브이로그 ♬ Run It – Midnight Kids
To read more about the Lizzie project, Click Here.
This virtual human was created by a company called TPart. Not much is known about her creators. However, she appears to be part of a family of virtual humans called Topics.
Aliya isn’t a virtual human, she is a virtual mermaid who lost her fins.
Although she is also a very realistic virtual human. Personally, I really like the touch of fantasy her creators gave her. I think that as people become more accustomed to seeing virtual humans on her feed, we will see more fantasy-inspired virtual beings become influencers. Is it just me, or would it be a lot of fun to follow a super-realistic dragon puppy on Instagram?
So, with majoring in being an influencer now a thing as virtual humans are among us, what is the future of influencing?
Well, for now, real humans are a lot cheaper than virtual ones. Business-wise, I don’t think technology will be replacing influencers just yet. However, it does seem as if the profession is moving towards being on the same level as other forms of media. We can expect that in the near future more entertainment companies will form around influencers.
My hope is that it doesn’t become too streamlined and that content creators are still able to shine their original light.
Want to learn more about technology in Korea, Click Here to read about NFTs and the start of the Meta Multiverse.