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social-media-1795578_960_720The internet has gone from a simple network to a cultural, social and political force all its own. There are millions of internet users, a legion of supporters and customers just waiting for a leader to appear. While some companies are still struggling to figure out the best way to tap into the almost limitless pool of internet users, some individuals have risen into impossible fame using nothing but the screens and keyboards of internet users.

“TIME” recently listed the 25 most influential people on the internet for 2018. The decision was based on contenders’ global impact on social media and their ability to drive news. Some of the names will be familiar to anyone who has ever used Google, while others may come as a surprise.

 

BTS (Beyond the Scene)

BTS, translated “Beyond the Scene” in English, is a seven member Korean boy band that has taken social media by storm. Their recent K-pop album, “Love Yourself: Tear,” debuted atop the Billboard 200 and broke BTS’s own U.S. record to become the highest-charted K-Pop album ever. Their fans call themselves the “ARMY” and have pushed BTS to social media dominance. The group’s music video, “Fake Love,” came close to surpassing Taylor Swift and Psy’s all-time records in just under 24 hours of its release.

 

Logan and Jake Paul

The Paul brothers are two of YouTube’s biggest stars. The brothers have a combined total of more than 33 million subscribers on YouTube, 27 million Instagram followers and 21 million Facebook fans. Their legion of followers has put each vlogger’s net worth at over $11 million. Despite their many fans, or perhaps because of them, the two brothers are no strangers to controversy. They have each already ignited their own internet storm in 2018, but that has not stopped them from branching out and launching an apparel line and a series of rap singles.

 

Naomi Watanabe

Naomi Watanabe, a 30 year old woman from Japan, has chosen to use her social media platform to challenge long-held stereotypes about Japanese women. Currently a comedian and fashion designer, Watanabe catapulted to fame after her impressions of Beyonce and Lady Gaga went viral. She is known to her 8 million Instagram followers for an irresistible combination of a brash sense of humor and an endearing personality. Those same traits earned her gigs on “X Factor Japan” and Japan’s version of “Saturday Night Live” as well as an endorsement deal with Gap and seats at recent Fendi and Gucci runway shows.

 

President Donald Trump

Love him or hate him, there is no denying that President Trump has become one of, if not the, most influential person on the internet. His Twitter account is ranked number 18 in the world, and he was the most followed world leader on Twitter when he had just under 40 million followers in 2017. Today, his Twitter account has well over 53 million followers. Regardless one’s opinion of his policies, one cannot deny that the President of the United States is far more influential in the wider world than any number of popular internet personalities.

 

Given how many people use the internet regularly, internet influence has become simultaneously worthless and extremely valuable. Some internet influencers are capable of leveraging their millions of fans into a force that affects more than their follower count on Instagram. Others, however, are doomed to remain influential only in the keyboard and electric world of social media.

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