If you’re a follower of social media news at all (yes, I’m also disgusted that’s a thing), you’ll have seen an article that’s been floating around for the past few months about a ::what was he:: turned-Instagram-influencer, along with all the ins and outs of how he did it. The article takes a distant, but informed tone to the world of Instagram stardom, with the author being someone, it seems, who didn’t really give a shit about Instagram or any social media before, and still sort of doesn’t, but couldn’t help getting a bit sucked into the “world.”
One of the things he reveals in the article is that Instagram “Influencers” – as the term goes – mostly have professional photos taken of themselves doing seemingly “normal” things, and then they post them on a schedule.
That revelation, and the rest of the article about how the author went about gaining his micro-Influencer status, irritated the fuck out of me.
It’s not that I didn’t know that’s how Instagram Influencing worked, it’s more that I didn’t realize it was pissing me off so much until I saw it in print.
I’m a travel blogger – a lot of people I have met or know online are travel bloggers. We’re part of a community of people who like traveling and writing about it. We’re also people that naturally flock to sharing – if the Internet didn’t exist, I’m sure bloggers and YouTubers and other social media fans would find other ways to share their personalities and their experiences. I personally like sharing because I like connecting with other people that feel the same way I do about things. Are their times I get sick of writing in The LITMO Life? Of course! But at the end of the day, I love it, and even if I knew not a soul in the world was reading it, I’d still want to write about my travels and my lessons for myself – it’s just an awesome fringe benefit that I do get to connect with people because of it. All of my social media is like that – my Facebook, my Twitter, my YouTube. I happen to be the type that just genuinely likes connecting with people on the internet – both people I know or have known in real life and new friends that have common interests.
And you know what my Instagram looks like? It’s an amalgamation of different sorts of pictures – some well-taken, some not-so-well-taken. Some of places I’ve visited on my travels, some of delicious vegan food, some of my sweet puppy, some of friends and family. My Instagram is a jumble of different things I love because I’M a jumble of different things. If you pull up my Instagram profile, it doesn’t look like neat, clean, crisp rows after rows of careful crafted images – it looks like various real-life images from a very fun, happy life. Because that’s what it is!
The Instagram trend, over the past few years, however, has been to pick a topic or category and post beautiful photograph after beautiful photograph until swarms of followers flock to you and start adoring your every move. And once you become an Instagram Influencer, you’re rewarded monetarily – with companies paying you to help get their product in front of all of your adoring fans.
I love social media. But I fucking hate this Instagram trend.
My primary question is this – why the FUCK would you want to follow an “Influencer” knowing all of their photos are staged or fake? That’s not someone’s real life you are seeing, that’s the image that someone wants you to have of their real life.
I’m a big fan of always being real – it’s why I sometimes publish blog posts talking about how much long-term travel occasionally sucks – because I would never want someone to come to my blog, or my Facebook, or my Twitter, or my Snapchat, or my YouTube, or my Instagram, for fuck’s sake, and get the feeling that everything was perfect all the time and wonder what they were doing wrong for not having a life that looks like mine.
No one’s life is that perfect and beautiful all the time, and by allowing this trend of Instagram Influencers to continue the way it has been going, we’re making it worse for people that think the images they see on the Internet are real life.
So do me a favor – if you happen to follow any Instagram Influencers, can you head to your Instagram and unfollow them? The only way this bullshit trend will change is if people that actually do like the Internet and social media for a lot of genuine reasons start calling things like we see them.
I’m all for people making money on the web – in fact, I love that that’s so easy and possible in this day and age. But I don’t want that money-making to be just like any other advertising we got sick of in the 90s and 2000s – where we’re bombarded with bullshit ideals of a life that can’t actually be attained because it’s not fucking real.