Have you always wondered what celebrities like to eat? Where they like to shop? Where they like to vacation? Well, Instagram makes knowing all of these things possible. There is nothing more glamorous then tapping on your Instagram app and scrolling down your feed to see Lucy Hale, the boys of One Direciton, Zac Efron, Miley Cyrus, and Justin Timblerlake’s daily and visual lives all in the palm of your hand. While Twitter is the outlet for you to read shameless plugs, or deep thoughts from your favorite celeb, Instagram is the place to see what you should be doing instead of whatever you’re currently tied up with (like writing blog posts). Check out this article that lists “100 Luxurious Celebrity Accounts to Follow” to see just a few examples of Instagram stardom.
Instagram makes it possible for users to get a more personal and visual look into what goes on in the daily lives of celebrities. Just as Twitter breaks down the fourth wall, so does Instagram. Celebrities allow for their followers to get a pretty good look at what it’s like to be them. It goes beyond the paparazzi since they are taking the “intimate” photos themselves. We see what the inside of their homes look like, where they are on set, where they are eating lunch, etc. With the ability to tag your location, stalking is a lot easier, as long as you’re fast enough. Instagram makes you feel like you know someone a lot more since you actually see their faces, or see photos from their point of view. Interacting with celebrities is just as easy as it is on Twitter, but harder to get “noticed.”
Users ask for a “shoutout” or “LB” which stands for “like back,” but how do you expect your celebrity to see your one comment out of the 50,000 of them that are saying the exact same thing? Users start to have conversations with other users on photos, sometimes defending the celebrity, or calling one another out. It can often get hostile and curse words are used. Do the fans feel a sense of ownership over these celebrities? Well, when you follow them on a social media outlet such as Instagram, it’s as if you know them. You know what their favorite food is, what their favorite angle is, and you just feel like you have a relationship with them. We all know this is no where near the case, but with this knowledge many still continue to pursue getting noticed.
I mentioned in the home page that social media is a form of validation for some users. The more likes and comments, the better. I have been in many conversations with friends where Instagram comes up. We always talk about your follower to following ratio, your likes per minute, etc. When I take a step back and actually listen to these conversations, I realize just how stupid we sound. When we’re at war, when there’s poverty, when there are other larger issues at hand, instead of talking about those, we talk about how stupid Kim Kardashian’s Instagram post was. Is this really what our society is coming to? We care more about the lives of people we don’t know than the world that we actually live and breath in.
Furthermore, we look to these celebrities as our idols and role models. Instead of real human beings that have changed the world for the better, we choose to idolize people who just look pretty in front of a camera.
Above is a comment from one of Selena Gomez’s posts. Jaslyn professes her undying love for her “idol” and ultimately wishes that Selena will see this herself and praise her. We look to celebrities now for reassurance and love rather than actual human beings we talk to on a daily basis. It’s quite sad how desperate for attention fans want from these celebrities. They are just humans like us, as I continue to mention. What makes it right to put them on this pedestal where all of their lives are put on blast. The good, the bad, and the ugly. We constantly hear about it and yet despite it all, we remain true. Take Miley Cyrus for example. Being a Disney Channel star, to a girl twerking and smoking marijuana on national television. What sort of message does this send to young girls that look to her for inspiration?
Miley Cyrus has been a huge topic of interest for this blog. This is not only because I secretly like her music, but also because she has been under the spotlight for a while with this new “persona.” Additionally, seeing these photos as a 21 year old is pretty shocking considering she used to be this goody-two-shoes, but imagine seeing these in the perspective of a teenage girl. Because of what celebrities are seen doing and praised for, these girls want to be the same and so they act and do things that are very questionable. We must be aware of the impact these celebrities have on us in terms of decision making. Now that we see a celebrity smoking a joint, or graffitiing buildings, and anything against the law, we are sent the message that these things are okay because if these celebrities are “just like us,” we can get away with it as well. When in reality, we probably can’t.
In this video, Ellen DeGeneres comments on some of her followers’ photos. Each of these photos have a “celebrity” influence on them. When we see all these “selfies” on our feed, especially from famous men and women, we want to replicate them. The more things we do that stars do, the more like them we are, well, that’s our society’s mentality at least. Our culture encourages becoming someone you aren’t just to be acknowledged and accepted. Why is this the case and why are we allowing for this to happen?
Pop and celebrity culture is telling our society that we must act or look a certain way in order to fit in or be famous. This is very easy on an app that is completely photography based considering society’s concern for having a perfect image, both on Instagram and physically. These Instagram accounts are encouraging a behavior that was previously shunned and looked down upon. We praise the beautiful, and criticize the ugly. When we are surrounded by photoshopped and flawless images on all forms of new media, what message is being sent? Check out this article on banned Instagram hashtags and see just how ridiculous some of its users are.
While I am a huge fan of Instagram and it is one of my favorite social media outlets, I do think it has its flaws. Not the application itself, but the people on it and the behaviors it encourages. We are told to be conceited, perfect, and to take the perfect selfie, because if not, we won’t get any likes. Without a high number of likes, we aren’t validated by our followers who we consider friends. If we aren’t on the popular page (which is shown above), then that must mean we aren’t good enough. We need to rid ourselves of this mindset in order to fully realize the impact Instagram and pop culture has on our attitudes and beliefs. Until then, our selfies will come off as desperate and soon you’ll be resorting to nudity in order to get noticed.