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Monday, November 23, 2015

What I've Learned from Not Being Anna Saccone

So I have a confession to make. I'm not Anna Saccone. Phew, I'm so glad I got that off my chest.

Okay, so most of you who read my blog already know that and you're already well aware of my being a completely separate person from Anna, however, it seems as I have gained followers on Instagram and Twitter, well, a lot of people tend to confuse the two of us. Maybe because we have similar names and are both blondes, but that's kind of where the similarities stop. Anna is probably about 30lbs lighter than I am. She's also mega-rich, has two children and over a million followers on Instagram. Me? Well, I'm just me...yet the fawning messages for Anna Saccone keep coming in on my Twitter and Instagram and have got me thinking a bit.

So, I forgive people if they are following both of us on Instagram and see a random photo on their feed with no people in it and suddenly think it is Anna Saccone. I mean, realistically, she would have far more likes on a picture in a matter of seconds than I would altogether, but since most of her fans are quite young, it seems that thought process isn't really a thing for them. Okay, I get it.

But sometimes it is just downright scary how much her fans want to believe they're on Anna Saccone's Instagram:

This has also happened to me on Twitter, but not as much as on Insta. And the fawning makes me slightly uncomfortable, even though it's not directed at me.

Once, I opened a direct message I got on Instagram, which came from a young girl thinking I was Anna Saccone. It read like this:

"I love your videos you give me insperation to make videos of my own tell emilia she is really cut  and i get to no you even better when I'm older I won't to be thank you for showing me what life is like [name redacted] xxx" (sic)

Looking at her profile, I saw immediately that she was an 11-year-old girl who was clearly enamoured with the lifestyle of the SacconeJoly's. But what struck me the most was not that she felt like she knew them, that's rather common with these bigger YouTubers, but that she thought she would be getting to know them one day and that their life is normal. In a way, YouTubers and bloggers are normal folks who happen to live extraordinary lives, but the way that they live is by no means a "normal" existence. This isn't to put them down, as I do sometimes enjoy watching their videos, but do we, as social media influencers, have an obligation to show kids that how the SacconeJoly family lives is likely not how they will live one day? That going on holiday all of the time at fancy hotels isn't really normal?

The way kids idolize bloggers and YouTubers is a bit strange, if I'm honest and makes me feel a little bit uncomfortable. I've already had a few young kids telling me how much they love me since my Instagram got a little bit bigger (AFTER clarifying I wasn't Anna Saccone), and I wonder why? I have written books and am in the midst of getting a PhD, yet no child has told me they love me for that. Instead, they love me because they think I am pretty or because I run a blog and an Instagram--skills which anyone can learn...

What do you guys think?

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  1. This is going to come across as really ugly and negative, and I absolutely hate being the voice of doom and gloom. But these children are going to be in for a rude awakening one day. In some ways of course youtubers/bloggers ARE relatable. We're all human beings at the end of the day, and no matter how much our incomes differ, we're all gonna have stuff in common and experience universal emotions. And of course they share so much of their lives. But at the same time, the lifestyles these youtubers live.....they're not even remotely normal. Successful youtubers basically have the material lives/lifestyles of celebrities, without the negative aspects like press intrustion (I realise some of the 'bigger' youtubers do get some press intrusion but nowhere near the scale of what an actual traditional celebrity would get). When occasionally a commenter might remark on 'wow another holiday' or that the youtuber has bought *another* designer bag, the young fans accuse them of jealousy or say something along the lines of "if you work hard, you could live this lifestyle too". And it simply isn't always the case.

    On the one hand, yes, I think teenagers and young children should have that excitement of future possibilities and potential and self-confidence and thinking that everything is possible and of course, in reality it IS very possible that they could be successful and become millionnaries. They should be able to strive for that without feeling like it's an impossible dream. But, the very real likelihood is, that even if they do end up being a success story, they won't be living that lifestyle by 22 or 25 or the young ages of these youtubers.

    I know living in developed countries we're so much luckier than many others anyway, even just working a regular job. But the lifestyles of these youtubers is insane (in a good way!) and so NOT representative of the norm. Buying houses and flats in their early/mid twenties - this is not the norm. Going on holidays every other month (exotic holidays or even closer places in five star hotels) in early/mid twenties - this is not the norm. Getting a new designer handbag every four/five months is not the norm. Getting beauty advent calendars costing over £100 is not the norm. Being able to buy new clothes and update their entire wardrobe every season is not the norm. Buying £40 palettes and designer perfumes every month to put in 'hauls' is NOT the norm. Celebrating every birthday or holidays like Christmas with lavish parties, mini breaks, gifts and décor is not the norm. Real life is not like that. Even if you earnt a very good income indeed (say, £50k in the UK, which is still roughly twice as much as the *average* UK wage) your lifestyle would be nowhere near that, nowhere indeed. I feel it paints an unrealistic picture of life where most ordinary people are watching every penny.

    1. I don't have much to add other than I totally agree with you! xx

  • I think it's so strange that younger people (I'm 33) idolise youtubers like that. YouTube is so weird to me, like people get famous by doing hauls and making hot cocoa? I stopped watching a lot of really big youtubers years ago because I realised I wasn't really getting anything from their videos and it made me want to buy a bunch of stuff I couldn't afford.

    I can't even imagine how that would be for an 11 year old. Last week on Instagram, this girl/child snapped at me because I said I didn't like the stupid faces a certain youtuber made (this was on a makeup brand page) so I snapped back and then the fan club came for me like I'm a jealous hater.

    I could talk about this all day.

    1. Oh girl, me too! I do enjoy watching YouTube, but people become so obsessed with them and look up to them for--like you said--doing hauls and drinking hot cocoa. I like making content, and if you genuinely enjoy it and can profit off it, it's fantastic, but it doesn't mean a lot of them have some kind of extra talent. Some do, but many don't.

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