Raya Khalid
Finance graduate, 22, Iraqi
Based in Dubai

Social media influencers only influence me when it comes to fashion, lifestyle and travel. They inspire my style, give me new ideas and keep me up-to-date. As for travel bloggers, they expose me to new destinations around the world that I wouldn’t have otherwise known about. Even in my own city, Dubai, I got to know about many places through influencers’ accounts. I would say I only get affected on the surface level though. I don’t look for information on politics, real-life problems and motivation through these platforms. They are only a source for popular culture and entertainment.”

Emaan Siddiqui
Web developer, 21, British-Pakistani
Based in Dubai

I follow a variety of bloggers that post relevant content to my interests like beauty, fitness, inspiration, religion, travel and food. They influence me in a positive way whereby I am encouraged to start using certain products, try out different restaurants or visit holiday spots, if it’s been recommended. But obviously I only consider the recommendations which are authentic and not sponsored. Alongside good and relevant content, there is also content which can cause a negative impact on some people. I believe that social media and the internet is a powerful tool and it’s something that shouldn’t be available as easily to young minds who might misuse it or get negatively influenced.”

Anthony Gegard
Entrepreneur, 25, French
Based in Dubai

I follow different types of social media influencers, for two different reasons. First, it’s for the information. I follow domain experts such as Sam Altman who promotes start-ups and early-stage innovations through his tech fund. I find it educational and it acts as a gauge for early-market patterns. The other reason I follow influencers is to see what’s trending on the creative side of things where I can pick up new ideas. As an entrepreneur working in the food industry, food-related accounts are by far what I follow the most. I get lots of ideas because the field is about engaging customers on an emotional and visual level.”

Refqah Istaitiyeh
Account executive, 22, Filipino
Based in Dubai

Yes, I am definitely influenced by social media influencers. I follow a lot of health, fitness and beauty influencers because that’s what I relate to the most, at this stage of my life. I have been following the same influencers for a long time now, and I noticed as time has passed, some of them have changed and are different compared to how they used to be when I first followed them. By different, I mean in terms of the products that they talk about and whether it is coming from their own preference or if it is a partnership with a brand. Therefore, it has gotten harder for me to differentiate between who is authentic and who is not.”

Bayan Jijakli
Civil engineer, 22, Syrian-American
Based in Dubai

I get only influenced if I watch them on a daily basis, especially when I was younger. However, as I grew older, their influence decreased especially as my interests evolved and their content no longer engaged me. So basically, I felt like I was wasting my time following social media influencers because their posts aren’t actually beneficial or useful. I mean, they are not adding any knowledge or personal development, I take their posts mainly as entertainment and marketing for the brands they post about. I can get the same thing through magazines and newspapers that at least have better regulations.”

Louis Martin Antoun
Account executive, 26, American
Based in Dubai

When I scour social media, I usually go for content pertaining to fitness, health and personal growth. I must admit most of the content I consume on social media doesn’t not have a profound effect on me, as I take most of the information with a grain of salt. Currently, there is just such a plethora of information that it becomes very difficult to trust something without doing adequate research. Social media unfortunately does have a profound impact on the public. And social media influencers are not the most ethical at times, however, as it is a business at the end of the day. We can see that sometimes they fail to disclose sponsorships and it is a good thing more regulations are being imposed to combat this.”