Internet, 2004

Narcissist braggart and/or social climber who pays dubious software providers to artificially increase “followers” and “likes” on their social media accounts so they can extort companies for freebies.

The idea of marketing by influence stems from Marlboro Man and Old Spice, through multi-level marketing, to celebrity endorsement and film product placement, all the way to the 1990 concept of “thought leadership”. It’s difficult to pinpoint an exact date for the birth of “social media influence”, but Airbnb’s 2004 “collaboration” with Mariah Carey appears to be a prominent milestone.