Real influencers in the virtual world

Real influencers in the virtual world

Dubai - The Arab-American YouTuber and rapper Adam Saleh has made it a mission to spread positivity since he started making videos in 2012

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Sherouk Zakaria

Published: Sun 2 Oct 2016, 2:19 PM

Last updated: Sun 2 Oct 2016, 4:52 PM

While the rising phenomenon of social media 'influencers' has long been under skepticism for its virtual fame and commercial use, few questions have been raised on the good impact young figures could bring to communities.
An undeniable fact is that their influence is real. A new study conducted by Dubai-based PR Agency BPG Cohn & Wolfe showed that 71 per cent of UAE residents aged 18-40 years are happy to take advice online before purchasing.
But are users willing to follow influencers' footsteps in humanitarian causes too?
According to the Emirati social media figure and comedian Abdullaziz Mohammed, famously known as Bin Baz, the answer is an astounding "yes."
"A lot of people are following me, so they do what I do. That puts me in a position to be a good model and dedicate part of my fame to shedding light on the underprivileged," said Bin Baz, whose Instagram showcases comedy sketches to over 3.5 million followers.
Though his name has been associated with big commercials, like the Etisalat Challenge that he cast alongside Hollywood star Gerard Butler and Indian actor Hrithik Roshan, Bin Baz has been an Emirates Red Crescent volunteer and frequent blood donor.
He added that he treats commercials with caution. "I only pick the brands that best represent me, but I'm not looking to fill my pocket. Big profits can negatively interfere with creativity."
While the young figure got his eyes on being a film actor, he said his work is to add smiles. "I love seeing people laugh, it's a feeling bigger than life when I receive messages from people I entertained during rough times," he said
Social media to fight Islamophobia
The Arab-American YouTuber and rapper Adam Saleh has made it a mission to spread positivity since he started making videos in 2012.
The 23-year-old born to Yemeni parents decided to take his daily vlogs and comedy sketches as a chance to promote Islam's positive side to the world.
"Growing up in New York, I've always received hateful and discriminatory remarks post 9/11. When I share such experiences with a comic twist online, people around the world relate to them."
With over 1.5 million YouTube subscribers, he recently had his first sold-out show in Dubai and has a world tour ahead of him.
Among his social work was encouraging donations to countries in crisis like Yemen and Pakistan, besides visiting Uganda and giving iTunes sales to children from developing countries.
"If anything, my fame has added a big sense of responsibility on my shoulders. I'm not perfect, I make mistakes but I try to encourage people to do good."
For him, there is no space for brand commercials or ads on his social media pages unless it is for a humanitarian cause.
"It is true that social media advertising can bring a lot of profit, but I never did it. I prefer to keep my work dedicated to social good," said Saleh, who plans to continue his career in the entertainment industry.

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