She has over 1.2 million Instagram followers.
This past June Time magazine named
her one of the “25 Most Influential People on the Internet.”
Her carefree lifestyle includes skateboarding
with friends, visiting New York for fashion shoots and attending the Coachella Valley Music Festival.
Lil Miquela --- oh by the way --- she’s not a real person but rather is a CGI (a computer generated image), a 'digital
human'. Similarly Shudu, billed as the world's first 'digital supermodel', is also an avatar.
these revelations sound hard to believe or if they're a surprise to you, we’re betting they won’t be for much
longer. CBS This Morning recently reported that computer-generated social
media influencers, like Lil Miquela and Shudu, are projected to become a $2 billion industry by the year 2020. CBS further
reported that “CGI creations … have the potential to become big-name influencers that one day might rival sponsored
posts by a real-life Kardashian or Jenner”. And, we’ve documented in the past the kind of money that means.
Good or Bad News?
The obvious question, should all brands be creating their own CGI influencers?
Cathy Hackl of Atlanta-based You Are Here Labs unequivocally says, “Yes!”
We can only guess that she might further suggest that big brands should have different CGI influencers to match each and every
major persona that their marketing team identifies as key to their brand.
On the other hand, Jennifer Grygiel,
a social media professor at Syracuse University’s Newhouse School, has called the use of digital characters (who appear
nearly lifelike) in marketing “deeply problematic.” We assume Professor Grygiel is looking at the situation from
the point of ethical challenges we would hope this practice should raise.
What Do You Think?
to wonder how many of Lil Miquela’s 1.2 million followers know that they are spending time and being influenced
by a “person” that is solely a prop for the various brands that have bought into this fictional character.
But it’s even more frightening to consider that these followers neither know nor care!