“If you decide to keep your low moments private, are you being “fake” or just not wanting to make that a public memory/relive it again when you’re out of that dark place? If you’re having problems with your spouse (or any other relationship) and you post a happy picture of the both of you...Are you being “fake” or just choosing to remember the good times? “- Oma_O
Do we expect content creators to share every facet of their lives, in the name of transparency? Should we have access to the good, the bad and the ugly? Assuming we flock to YouTube stars and Instagrammers because they seem tangibly human, but in actuality aren’t they brand, albeit a human brand? So should we hold them to the same level of accountability? Or do they have every right to control their narrative? Privacy and selectivity is human nature, people are not prepared to share the good, the bad and the truth. This is a human issue as well as an algorithmic one.
Content creators blur the line of celeb and the common man. Big influencers e.g. @Jackieaina, @Zoella, @chiaraferragni have all grown and utilised a large social media following and transformed followers and views into a lucrative business. They represent the modern rags to riches story. Going from anonymity to recognition of the influence they have over culture, all from the confines of their own home. It’s aspirational and has connected and influenced a new wave of social media hopefuls.
One of these hopefuls is RLT aka Visabae, a fashion & beauty influencer who came under fire after releasing a 30 minute video asking for donations for her visa. She spoke of being drawn to social media as a way of making a living, inspired by the originals and success stories of the platform. But now is questionably a victim of a lack of transparency of the challenges that come with social media fame and the reality of the brand-creator relationship.
In reality Instagram isn’t very lucrative as a small/midsized influencer. Mathias Bartl conducted a study founded in YouTube data that found it was harder for new creators to reach the pinnacle of success. The image she was portraying online came back to bite her when the truth of her situation came to light. Her defence was that In order for brands to work with her she needs to portray and maintain the image of certain lifestyle that just isn’t tenable.
Brands put pressure on influencers to look marketable. It’s fair to say real life doesn’t sell in a world where people aspire to be extraordinary. The ordinary just don’t cut it. It begs the question “am I person that Instagram makes me out to be?” Instagram is only a window into the fantasy of who you are, This is what you want people to think you are” Huda Kattan.
Not to say there aren’t content creators who have established their brand identity around authenticity and transparency. Influencers like @MunroeBergdof, @Theslumflower and @SaggySara . They come to mind when thinking about honesty in the industry. They try to be inspirational as opposed to aspirational; they are all attempting to disrupt the narrative around young women’s bodies. But we’re still seeing a curated version of their world, they have an alternative POV to the standard beauty blogger but none-the –less they conform to a particular aesthetic, that can’t be a reflection of the variety of life no matter how candid.
Joe Veik states “Getting attention on social media platforms requires creating content designed to perform well within their ecosystems. Everything must contort to please the almighty Algorithmic Gods.”
It’s possible that the format of social media platforms is stamping out creativity and original content in favour of more of the same. Brands should be encouraging the representation of multidimensional influencers and straying away from the aspirational and unattainable, as surely there is more commercial benefit in championing well-rounded figures. As it stands creators are being typecast and struggle to stray from ‘the what’ that made them popular. The platform is breeding inauthenticity in creators. They are encouraged to portray the most exaggerated simplistic version of themselves in order to stay relevant. That type of homogeneity can’t be reflective of the variety and unpredictability of life. “It creates this image of people that is very one dimensional, it's very superficial.” But it’s what algorithms demand.