The VPM Blog

Instagram Fame | #BeachRead

Posted by Addi Rogers on May 22, 2014 4:19:50 AM

Would you trade hard capital for social capital? Three years ago, people would have condescendingly laughed in your face if you told them you were willing to pay money for Instagram or Twitter followers. Today, it’s not so uncommon.

instagram fame verge pipe mediaInstagram is a one of a kind app. It’s kind of like a big high school. There are the really, really popular kids (celebrities and people who somehow become Instagram famous for no reason); the fashion savvy ones who think they’re really cool because all of their friends tell them they are, but they never venture outside of their social circle (Instagram hipsters); the artsy, talented kids (people who actually use Instagram for real photography); and then there’s everyone else.

So how do you go from the “everyone else” category to the “popular kid” category? Instagram fame is happening every day. Why? Because people are willing to pay for it. Accounts are valuable for their following – just look at Instagram sensation Benjamin Lasnier. Apparently this Danish teen and Bieber look alike strategically posted 12 pictures a day to coincide with different time zones. What started as a boy with a few followers turned into his selfies getting more than 60,000 likes. This landed Lasnier on the popular page, where he gained even more followers. Lasnier now has more than 1 million followers (whattt?), a record contract with Sony and several companies who want him to promote their product in his selfies.

Users like Lasnier have transformed Instagram from a networking tool to a way to self-promote and boost social capital.

Boosting social capital has become so popular that people pay for likes and followers. Teens who have (somehow) become Instagram famous charge people anywhere from $30 to $50 for a ‘shoutout’. Apps like “Instatags” and “Tags for Likes” were built specifically for giving users lists of the most popular hashtags on Instagram in order to gain more likes - a genius way to make money off of the 12-17 year old demographic whose App Store accounts are linked to their parents credit cards.

And if that just won't do, I also found several sites where you can purchase Instagram likes and follows. For anywhere from $2 to $1000, users can purchase 1,000 likes or 20,000 followers. There’s even a WikiHow entry about “How to Become Famous on the Internet.”

It’s truly amazing how far people will go for fame. Should we blame this on Instagram and Twitter? Or have we always been this fame hungry? Either way, these apps make it easy to shamelessly self-promote and gain “social capital” if that’s what you’re into.

Unfortunately social capital doesn’t pay the bills, so I’ll be sticking with my day job for now.

If you’re interested in reading more about Instagram fame, check out these articles:

The Strange Bubble Economics of Selfies

Cracking the Instagram Algorithm for Fame

Say Hello to Instagram's Teenage Superstars

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