Eating for free for being an ‘influencer’: users of social networks are no longer so easily slipped in
It is not the only one, but if there is a war cry or a mantra that sums up the life of a influencer, that could well be: “You are asking me a lot about…”. The eternal question that, according to them, is received by hordes of their followers has become the perfect filler to then sell a product and speak in their storieslooking at the camera, of the anti-wrinkle cream they have tried, the last smoothie detox they drink or how well the invisible braces they wear are working. “I remember a girl who advertised memory pills and had to read the ingredients on the box because she couldn’t remember and said: ‘I feel much better’, when she hadn’t even been able to memorize them for the ad,” she explains over the phone. to EL PAÍS Lorena Macías, advertising creative and creator of the Instagram profile @hazmeunafotoasi, an account with 234,000 users that was born at the beginning of the pandemic and is dedicated to “InfluRealism Magical. the present influencers told with memes”, as she herself defines it in her biography.
“Instagram is a bit like what happened in Gabriel García Márquez’s Macondo, you don’t know what is fiction and what is reality. And there is nothing more magical than being influencers and go on safari to Tanzania with a 5,000-euro Dior bag and write: “Oh, how happy they are with so little,” explains Macías, alluding to the criticism the couple received from influencers formed by Teresa Andrés Gonzalvo and Ignacio Ayllón due to the paternalism and racism that exuded the publications they made during their recent honeymoon in the African country.
But this controversy of the white savior syndrome and the posturing of the influencers in their vacations and in the life they sell through Instagram is not the only one that has caused hundreds of comments this summer and the disapproval of many on social networks. In the last week, and with the permission of the youtuber MrGranbomba and his insult “anchovy face” to a delivery man —which cost him a slap, a trial and the suspension of his channels—, another star has been born in the panorama of youtubers most controversial: Borja Escalona and his threat to charge 2,500 euros to a bar in Vigo because he did not let him eat for free. “People are already much more critical, they have more and more offers to compare and realize who makes interesting content and who is provocative,” says Macías.
Furthermore, there are more and more profiles on Instagram —the natural habitat of this new professional profile such as that of influencer— who like @hazmeunafotoasi make ugly or criticize from humor, with memes, phrases and witty videos, the attitudes of digital content creators. His review of current affairs ranges from checking how they speak wonders of a product and within 10 minutes they are selling it on Vinted, to how they repeat the same photo cyclically on their profile. Macías’s account and many others talk about a tribe that populates social networks and that, as the documentary would already tell, Fake Famous (HBO, 2021) have become famous for exposing their lives through Instagram, while they sell products, eat, travel and dress for free or sponsored, in most cases, by big brands, supported by a network of followers who have bought, rigged photos saturated with filters and artificially created fame.
The dubious behavior of Escalona with the employee of A tapa do Barril, a place famous for its empanadas in the Galician city, has led to Internet users turning to the establishment and not stopping to write good reviews on their profile. Google since the unpleasant incident. He youtuber, who apologized last Monday for his behavior on his YouTube account, has had to see how multiple complaints from Internet users have led to the closure of his channel on the most popular video platform. “Today there are more channels where precisely this lack of professionalism is visible. We are not at the dawn of the internet, when everything was worth it and everything was funny to us, now we consider who we are giving to likes”, contextualizes Macías. “His strategy of him (that of Borja Escalona) is that of provocation, it can be seen in any of his videos. And it should work for him, but I think it’s an isolated case. In the end it generates more rejection than anything else. there may be influencers more or less successful, but none hit a skid of this style ”, adds the expert.
“What if I lose my social networks? He influencers is not destroyed, the influencers becomes. When a social network burns, the remains sprout influencers”. This reflection, along with many others, can be found in the book Camarasutra. Illustrated Posture Manual (Planeta, 2022) recently published by Putos Modernos and which they define as “a compendium of wisdom that thousands of influencers have accumulated over generations to enjoy a full life rich in likes”. An illustrated guide full of humor and irony in which, if followed to the letter, anyone can become a true influencer.
Since Jorge Sandua came across a graffiti on the walls of the Raval neighborhood (Barcelona) in 2005 that read what would later become the name of his brand, he and Joan Alvares, founding partners of Putos Modernos, ironize through of their advertising campaigns and their Instagram account —which accumulates 327,000 followers— with what they have called the postposture or “a parody of modernity from modernity”. “The most exaggerated paradigm of this age is the influencerswhich is characterized by the narcissism that someone shows through social networks, which are the great makeup of reality ”, Alvares comments by telephone to EL PAÍS.
What most strikes this duo of advertising creatives, responsible for the latest Pepsi campaign with the actor Ernesto Sevilla, is the solemnity with which the figure of the influencer. “We are very amused by everything that is taken very seriously and that need to consider itself the center of the universe that the influencers It seems so to us”, explains Alvares, who admits that we all, on a different scale, play this role at some point in our lives through social networks. “We all post how wonderful our vacations are, how cute our kids are, and how great our jobs are; that is, we show the good and hide the bad”, explains the creative of Putos Modernos.
And sometimes, as the profile Influencers in the Wild (@influencersinthewild) reflects, which has 4.5 million followers, this desire to publish the wonders of our lives comes at the cost of provoking ridiculous scenes that are behind perfection. who sells the influencers: impossible body postures to pose for a photo, a violin that doesn’t sound in a music video —to which will later be added a nostalgic song that is repeated on 80% of Instagram profiles— or the dictatorship of friends or/ and boyfriends as photographers amateur of the one who aspires to be the new Dulceida.
Despite the biting nature of these publications that ridicule the figure of the influencers, there is also, as its authors explain, a desire to laugh at a reality to which all of society contributes, including themselves. “With my stories I don’t make a personal attack, but I choose something that seems surreal to me, I get the community to participate and we all have a good time”, explains Lorena Macías, who acknowledges that some of the influencers that have appeared in your account he has written to her congratulating her on her pranks. A surreal reality that is experienced on social networks and laughs at, as Alvares, from Putos Modernos, also defends, and the one that most sin, with 120 or 200,000 followers. “It is important to be able to laugh a little at ourselves and those human contradictions that we all have, like running to school mindfulness and buy cheap flights from a mobile of 1,000 euros”.