Since this Essena ONeill thing has gone viral, I thought I would expose myself in the same way that she did. You know, by giving you a behind the scenes look at what makes my most popular Instagram shots truly great. Though I only have 11.5K followers, a good 550K behind Essena (makes all my hard work seem paltry!), I am not immune to all of the hard work necessary to get that perfect Insta shot. I mean, like Essena, I am only one person and I can only be so perfect for so long. So let's get real.
Firstly, I found out what my most popular Instagram shots were through an app called Sponsta. Sponsta allows those of us who are Instafamous (*ahem*) to find companies to sponsor us. I mean, I have to be real, guys. I will sometimes accept money for Instagram shots....but isn't that part of the livelihood of blogging? Anyway, let's examine how soul sucking it was to get these most liked and validated shots.
Total Likes: 267
Real backstory: I was walking my dog in a moment between rain (as it always is in England). I saw that the neighbors hadn't raked their leaves yet. I was wearing my new boots, so I snapped a photo of my feet. Then we went on for our walk. I spent about 5 laboring minutes in VSCO and then Instagram for the perfect filter.
Real backstory: This was for a post I did for Pawesome Box, in which they had the audacity to give me a free box to review. I kind of cruelly dangled this in front of my dog and took a picture before he ate it. And then he enjoyed the rest of his treats. He really did enjoy the box. Thanks, Pawesome!
Real Backstory: Actually none. I pulled it off of instagram.com/studiodiy and gave them credit.
Real Backstory: I made cupcakes for this blog post. Then I took a picture of them with my pancake lens on my DSLR. It probably took me another 5 minutes to upload it to my phone, edit it in VSCO and then get it up on Instagram.
Real Backstory: I was getting ready to go to a birthday party and was super excited I got my extensions to blend (though they didn't stay that way all night, REAL TALK). I had trouble taking the hoodie off afterward and putting my party dress on, though.
Real Backstory: My boyfriend is going to be an uncle, so I bought these for the baby. I thought they were really cute, so I put them on my tiny fur rug that I use for photos. I put it by the front door, because that's where we get the best natural light. I think I just used my phone. I get paid if someone downloads Shopstyle's version of Rstyle.me and "likes" the photo, but only a few cents. I don't have enough followers for Rstyle.me and not many people have the knockoff version. I think I've gotten maybe about 5 pence from this photo. Also, the baby's mother saw this photo just before she got the presents. :( I should have been stealthier.
Real Backstory: I was staying at this hotel in Manchester for my real person job that was kind of quirky, so I took some pictures of the lobby/restaurant area while the bar staff kind of looked at me funny. I also felt really sick while I was taking these pictures, just so YOU KNOW, mostly because I was still waiting for my surgery. I edited this on VSCO and posted it on my blog and on Instagram.
Okay, so obviously this post is a bit of a kick in the teeth to Essena. I'm not sure if her whole thing was a clever scam or she really thinks blogging is ~super fake~, but I still don't get all the applause over it. Yes, social media can be contrived, yes it is a highlight real of everyone's lives. I don't think anyone actually thought Essena's Instagram pictures were all candids or that it was actually what her daily life looked like, did they?
If you look through your Instagram feeds, what kind of people do you follow? Do you follow people who are showing the good, bad and ugly of their daily lives, or do you follow more aesthetically pleasing Instagram accounts? Why or why not?
As with anything, the media and product marketers want to get your attention. They want to figure out where you hang out most and they want to put their products in a place where it is most likely to get seen. That's why in these past few years, bloggers and Instagrammers and social influencers have become some of the go-to people to help get their products out there.
But here's the thing: you can choose if you want to do that or not. No, it isn't going to bring you happiness, but nothing is if you're not happy with yourself. You also have total control over the brands you work with. No one put a gun to Essena's head and told her she had to shill these products, she agreed to it. And personally, I only work with brands that I would use anyway. I don't recommend products that I've never tried (even though some brands will oddly try and get you to do that). And as I've grown, I've been turning down offers I just don't believe in in order to maintain trust and integrity with my audience and readership.
So, what's your take on this Essena stuff? I know by now it is a bit of old news, but as the grandma on the Internet trudging along late, I was curious as to your take.