The other day while in class, I was scrolling through my Instagram feed when suddenly I had gotten to a photo and the student next to me excitedly exclaimed, “omg you follow them too, I am obsessed with them.” We chatted about the individual for a few minutes, and then I went back to checking my newsfeed. It wasn’t until a few minutes later that I realized the oddness of that conversation. My classmate and I had been discussing someone who we had never met before, and talked about them as if we were best friends. It had struck me in that moment about the potential power that the internet holds today- the ability to create discourse over a plethora of topics, even something as trivial as a mutual Instagrammer.
After this exchange, I was curious to learn more about how one becomes Instagram famous; I mean after all the person we discussed was not a celebrity by any standard other than the fact that they had a mass amount of followers. So I started reading some articles online about how Instagram influencers got their start, and most of them varied, from YouTube- to Tumblr. However, there is one common factor that almost of all Instagrammers that I saw articles written about their rise to fame share in common- their looks. Looking at some of these Instagram celebrities you might think they are models from how beautiful they are. After drawing this conclusion, it’s inherently obvious that these Instagrammers are worshipped for their looks and not so much by the messages they are sending to their followers.
Exploring these figures further, I wanted to find out not only how they gained more and more followers by the day, but also how they use their new found fame to create revenue. According to Yahoo Tech using data analytics based off influencer reach, they estimated that each post/ collaboration with a company could make anywhere from a couple hundred dollars to more than $50,000. At first when I read this I was taken aback, $50,000 to some nobody, just because they have a lot of followers?!? Insane. But after doing some research, and watching interviews from Instagrammers who have made quite a profit from the app, it makes sense why these brands use them to market their products. We view these individuals as someone on our own level in sense, unlike a celebrity, but someone who is easier to identify with. Combine that with their follower base, and now corporations are able to target millions of people to boost their sales. It’s actually quite genius.
Tying this back to original point of my blog, following “Instagram famous” people, in my opinion is actually quite good for your self-esteem. While although I mentioned that most of them are quite beautiful, which is true, however this should not distract from the notion that they are ‘normal’ people just like us. I use normal in that sense because often times when people speak of celebrities they say how we are just like them, without the fame and fortune. But, with “Instagram celebrities” for the most part they have no special talent except for attracting hundreds of thousands, and millions of followers through the content they post on social media, and still able to stay under the radar from media and tabloids (remarkable).
Moving forward, I am going to be paying particular attention to how the “Instagram famous” people I follow use their fame to generate revenue, and giving specific attention to the impact they have on their followers.