If you are searching for signs of things to come at the intersection of social media and e-commerce, you may want to take a look at a recent viral video, reportedly shot at a university in China.
The video supposedly shows an “influencer training” workshop where dozens of students, wearing identical pink t-shirts and standing in front of LED ring lights declaiming into smartphones.

While some commenters bemoaned the video’s “dystopian” overtones, others responded more coolly to what they saw as just another form of skills-based training for a potentially lucrative career.

However you view it, this influencer factory certainly suggests that ad-driven social media marketing — where expenditures have grown more than ten-fold since 2016 — may be about to peak. As the saying goes, it is when your cab driver shares stock tips that you know it is time to sell. The pandemic’s chilling impact on consumerism also does not help.

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