Insights from a Social Media Beauty Influencer

Michelle, of @allthingsbeautymichelles on Instagram, is a 20-year-old beauty blogger from Sydney, Australia. She is currently a full-time university student, works casually, and is a beauty influencer on Instagram, WordPress, and YouTube. She has kindly agreed to provide an insight into the life of a Social Media Beauty Influencer.

It is clear Michelle has dedicated a substantial amount of time and effort into maintaining a professional-looking beauty account on Instagram.13393068_1702643193329888_1338657446_n.jpg

She says that each photo takes different amounts of time to create, with a single product shot taking only a few minutes to capture and edit, and a group photo of one or more products taking up to ten minutes including editing. Because of her work, Michelle has been approached by companies to try or feature their products.

She doesn’t currently charge companies for her posts, but has been exploited in the past by a well-known cosmetics company, who used her photo with out giving her credit. This is an issue, especially for small-to-medium beauty accounts, as companies ignorantly believe they are entitled to use photos they come across without adhering to the Instagram etiquette of giving credit for the use of a photo. Michelle says as long as she is always awarded credit for her work, she is happy for others to use her images. Michelle enjoys the glamorous opportunities she has had as a beauty blogger/ Instagrammer, such as the events and free products! She feels blessed to be have been able to attend two Bloggers United Australia events, and she has received products to review from multiple companies.


As a beauty blogger, Michelle has had the opportunity to meet new friends and interact with companies. This photo was taken at an event hosted by Bloggers United Australia.

Michelle has not encountered many negative aspects as a beauty blogger/ Instagrammer. She said that this begun as a hobby and as soon as it makes her unhappy she will stop. However, she has had some anxiety and loss of sleep due to product photo’s not working. For example, when she was sent a skin care range that she was asked to review on her Instagram, the products they cast shadows when she took pictures, which did not live up to the quality/standard of work she maintains on her page.


There is a degree of quality and professionalism expected of beauty influencers, especially on Instagram.

I would like to thank Michelle for her first-hand insight and contribution to this post.


All images in this post were given to me by the photographer and used with their permission.


The Challenges Faced by Aspiring Social Media Beauty Influencers

Jeffree Star, Jaclyn Hill, KathleenLights, and Manny Mua have achieved great successful from their YouTube careers, and this ‘rise from obscurity to pop-culture stardom is hardly unique on YouTube’ (D’Souza, 2015). However, it is uncommon. Unfortunately, many, often deserving, YouTube and Instagram personalities will never achieve this status (D’Souza, 2015).

For many, YouTube is capable of providing sustainable full-time careers. Majority of YouTubers make a lot of their money from the advertising sold on their channels, which increases with the number of subscribers (D’Souza, 2015). Billions of dollars are spent each year on advertising on YouTube, allowing creators to generate an income. However, generating a consistent revenue from YouTube, let alone securing business opportunities as Jeffree, Jaclyn, Kathleen, and Manny have, is much more challenging, and accomplished by only a very small percentage of YouTubers. This is a consequence of the number of major challenges faced when trying to make a full-time career on social media. The first challenge faced by those trying to establish a career as a full-time social media beauty guru is the extremely competitive nature of the industry. There is over 14.9 billion beauty-related video views on YouTube, of which 97% are generated by the 45,000 beauty-focused personalities on YouTube. The second challenge is getting your content noticed. The reality is that most videos on YouTube get little to no attention. The third challenged faced by YouTubers is that these content creators only ever see a small portion of what advertisers pay. Even though billions of dollars are spent each year on YouTube, YouTubers  have to accumulate a substantial number of subscribers and views before they see that money. Another challenge to that pertains to achieving success on social media as a beauty influencer is the perpetuation of conventional beauty standards and status symbols. As observed by Alice Marwick (2015, p.139), ‘While Instagram makes it possible for “regular people” to attract the mass audiences historically limited to broadcast media, the Instafamous tend to be conventionally good-looking, work in “cool” industries… and emulate the tropes and symbols of traditional celebrity culture, such as glamorous self-portraits, designer goods, or luxury cars’.

Aside from the monetary challenges of sustaining a career as a full-time social media beauty influencer, many people often underestimate the time and energy devoted to achieving a successful career in the industry.

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It can take a great deal of time to orchestrate, photograph, edit, and upload one photo to Instagram.

From my experience as an aspiring beauty influencer on YouTube and Instagram, the time and energy to set up, film or photograph, edit, and promote my work can be exhausting, and I only do this as a hobby.

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It often takes great effort and professionalism on the part of beauty influencers to create content that encourages a loyal following.

Currently, I am not paid for my work, I do it simply because I find it enjoyable, but this means having to fit it in between a part-time job and two university degrees. From meeting others with the same aspirations, through YouTube and Instagram, this is the case for many aspiring beauty influencers.

Unfortunately, many social media beauty influencers will never reach the same status as the likes of Jeffree Star, Jaclyn Kill, KathleenLights, and Manny Mua. However, it is still a rewarding career, and hobby, for many people. If you would like to gain an insight into the life of an aspiring Social Media Beauty Influencer than read my following post, in which I have interviewed Michelle, of @allthingsbeautymichelles on Instagram, on her experiences.


All photos used are my own.

Reference List

D’Souza, K 2015, ‘Move over Hollywood, this is the age of the YouTube star’, San Jose Mercury News, 13 October.

Marwick, A. E. 2015, ‘Instafame: Luxury Selfies in the Attention Economy’, Public Culture, vol. 27, no. 1, pp. 137-160.

The Life of a Social Media Beauty Guru

Everyday, new photos and videos are uploaded to social media sites, portraying the glitz and glam of life as high-profile social media beauty guru. Fans of such gurus as Jeffree Star, Jaclyn Hill, Manny Mua, and KathleenLights, watch on as they see the ever-growing success of their Internet idols. These seemingly ordinary people have had to overcome adversities such as anxiety, impoverishment, and discrimination, but with their success, their stories seem like modern-day fairy tales, all carrying a similar message: that if you are determined and work hard, dreams really do come true.

Any makeup lover will tell you that beauty YouTubers and Instagrammers are the ones to consult for all things makeup. They inform their viewers of the latest trends, offer reviews on new products, and constantly produce beautiful tutorials. Beauty fans all have a select few they subscribe to, over time developing a relationship that feels personal. This is because they have a clear knowledge on all things beauty and seem to give honest, fair reviews on the makeup they try, earning fans’ trust.

One of the amazing opportunities that has become an increasing trend in the makeup industry is the chance for a high-profile beauty guru to collaborate with a makeup brand to produce a product or a collection, or even for them to create their own brand. Because of their perceived knowledge of all thing beauty, when gurus release their own products, sometimes in collaboration with major cosmetics companies, fans rush to get their hands on them before they sell out.

Jeffree Star, born Jeffrey Lynn Steininger, is an androgynous makeup artist, model, and performer, who was once one of the biggest stars of Myspace as a result of his self-released music (Gamson, 2011). Jeffree joined YouTube in February of 2006 where he continued posting his own music videos and other vlog-style videos, but did not start posting regularly scheduled videos until December, 2015. Jeffree Star launched his self-titled cosmetics line on November 27th, 2014. The brand has seen phenomenal success, as he continuously releases new colors and products with sell-out launches. His products are highly-esteemed among other beauty influencers due to their ethical production and high quality. Jeffree Star now has almost 1.5 million subscribers on his YouTube channel and 2.5 million followers on his personal Instagram account, where he consistently posts beauty-related content, often featuring his own makeup line. Jeffree has also just announced on his Instagram that he will be collaborating with Morphe Brushes to produce a brush set in for Summer, 2016.

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Jeffree Star Cosmetics Velour Liquid Lipsticks and Skin Frosts. Photo Credit: Instagram / lapetitechimommy

Jaclyn Hill is a self-taught, professional makeup artist, who was born and raised on a Pig Farm in Illinois. Jaclyn joined YouTube in 2010, after being encouraged by her clients at MAC Cosmetics to film makeup tutorials, to teach them the tips and techniques of the trade. Jaclyn currently has over 3 million subscribers on her YouTube page, and 2.7 million followers on her Instagram page. Jaclyn’s social media success has resulted in a number of opportunities. Jaclyn has been able personally contribute to make up brands, however, her most notable collaboration would be with high-end cosmetic brand, Becca Cosmetics. Her first collaboration with the brand, Champagne Pop, launched in 2015. In the first twenty minutes of it being on sale, online retailer sold a record-breaking 25,000 compacts. Originally the pressed powder highlighter was released as limited-edition, however, as it kept selling out, it was eventually made permanent. As an extension of Champagne Pop, the Champagne Collection has just launched which includes the Champagne Glow face pallet, an eyeshadow pallet, and three different versions of the original Champagne Pop highlighter. The collection was first released online on May 26th, 2016 at 12 p.m. These (extremely) specific launch times are obviously necessary for fans who wish to buy the product, as an exclusive limited-edition preview sale of the face pallet on Sephora’s mobile site sold all 20,000 units in just 90 minutes. The collection is to launched in US stores on June 16th, 2016 and in Australia on July 7th, 2016.

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The Champagne Collection by Jaclyn Hill. Photo Credit: Instagram / angiebeautyxo

Kathleen Fuentes, more commonly known as KathleenLights, joined YouTube in January, 2013. She now has 1.2 million followers on Instagram, more than 2.2 million subscribers and over 188 million views. On her social media platforms, she describes herself as a beauty vlogger, who loves coffee and dogs, and ‘who happens to have a small obsession with all things beauty’. Kathleen was one of the first YouTubers I ever subscribed to, and she continues to inspire me. Through YouTube and Instagram, Kathleen has become friends with a number of people in the industry, from other influencers to makeup brands, and has had the chance to create her own makeup products via collaboration. Kathleen has collaborated with ColourPop, an online cosmetic company based in Los Angeles, to create eight eyeshadows, three lipsticks, three lip pencils, and one liquid lipstick, all of which have seen incredible success. She also collaborated with Ofra Cosmetics, a leading manufacturer of professional skincare and makeup, to create two liquid lipsticks. Although they did not contribute to the product’s production, Kathleen, Manny Mua and PatrickStarr recently collaborated with Benefit Cosmetics to promote the new Benefit Cosmetics Cheekathon Pallet.

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KathleenLight, Manny Mua, and PatrickStarr on display with Benefit’s Cheekathon Pallet in Sephora. Photo Credit: Instagram / pettybeyoutiful

Manny, known as Manny Mua, first gained recognition when he created an Instagram page dedicated to cosmetics in March, 2014 and then a YouTube channel in July, 2014. Since then he has gained over 1.9 million Instagram followers, over 1.2 million YouTube subscribers and over 46 million views on YouTube. He describes himself as a ‘BOY BEAUTY VLOGGER’, and believes that makeup is ‘GenderLESS’. He uses his beauty channel to teach beauty tutorials, as well as posts beauty hauls, favorites videos, challenge videos, tag videos, and vlogs. His Instagram account is scattered with pictures of his journey, including makeup looks, brand collaborations and encounters with celebrities. Since his journey began, Manny has gone on to meet and befriend some of the biggest names in the industry, such as Jeffree, Jaclyn, Kathleen, PatrickStarr, chrisspy, and bretmanrock. He has also had the opportunity to work with numerous makeup brands, including Morphe Brushes, Gerard Cosmetics, Makeup Geek Cosmetics, Benefit Cosmetics and Ofra Cosmetics. Due to the success of his collaboration with Ofra Cosmetics, the limited-edition liquid lipsticks have been made part of their permanent collection.

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Manny Mua and KathleenLights’ Ofra Cosmetics Liquid Lipsticks in Aries, Charmed, Hypno, Havana Nights and Miami Fever

Jeffree, Jaclyn, Kathleen, and Manny are not the only Gurus that have seen this degree of success, with their social media popularity and the opportunity to collaborate with renowned makeup brands. More and more influencers are being given the same opportunity. In a recent video that Jeffree posted on his YouTube channel, in which he reviewed another influencer’s upcoming collaboration with Tarte Cosmetics, he said, ‘I just want to say that I think it is so amazing that all these YouTubers are collabing with really huge brands. It’s just wild because I come from working at the MAC counter, and back then only huge corporations… they would collab with like huge celebrities… The fact that all these brands are believing in YouTubers and Makeup artists I think is really, really dope.’ For lists of other existing or upcoming collaborations between beauty gurus and makeup brands, check out the following articles by Shea SimmonsEmily McClure, and Nylon Singapore.

Obviously, hard work, passion, and dedication goes in being a full-time beauty guru. Filming, editing, and promoting is both time and energy-consuming as is, so add in additional projects such as these collaborations, and this leads to a lot of stress and sleepless nights – the reality of life as a beauty influencer will be discussing further in my next post. However, I feel as if the-behind-scenes work of high-profile beauty gurus is often overshadowed by the continuous snaps, tweets, Instagram pictures, and vlogs about new product launches, generous gifts from brands, celebratory parties, and even business trips to exotic places. If you want my insight into the reality of life as a beauty influencer, then please, go ahead and check out my next post.


All images in this post were used with the permission of the photographer.

Reference List

Gamson, J 2011, ‘The Unwatched Life Is Not Worth Living: The Elevation of the Ordinary in Celebrity Culture’, Publications of the Modern Language Association of America, vol. 126, no. 4, pp. 1061, – 1069.

The Reality of Life as a Social Media Beauty Influencer

Since the development of Web 2.0, a new industry has been created which has generated numerous jobs. These jobs involved the development and creation of new software, platforms and apps that gave life to the social media era. With the cultural significance of Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, Twitter and YouTube, people are now making full time careers out of living their lives and developing their passions on these social media platforms. As an avid social media user and aspiring beauty influencer on YouTube and Instagram I am interested in researching this emerging profession and the opportunities it has to offer. As ‘YouTuber’ and ‘Instagrammer’ are now part- or full-time occupations, I have conducted research into the reality of the quality of life of social media beauty influencers, or ‘gurus’, and I will be presenting my findings through a blog series.

A beauty influencer is a person who, through their social media presence, has the power to affect the purchase decisions of others because of their knowledge of makeup and beauty-related topics. The term ‘Beauty Guru’ is often used to describe YouTubers and Instagrammers who have extensive knowledge about makeup and beauty-related products and application techniques (Rainnie, 2015). The term is often used to describe those who may or may not have received formal training (Rainnie, 2015).

Vlogging is a contraction of the term ‘video blogging’, and ‘vloggers’ are people who actively participate in vlogging (Rainnie, 2015). Vloggers film themselves and share their ‘vlogs’ across Web 2.0 platforms, most commonly uploading to the social media site, YouTube (O’Reilly, 2005; cited in Rainnie, 2015). Vloggers who operate predominantly on YouTube are often titled ‘YouTubers’ (Rainnie, 2015). Influencers who operate predominantly on Instagram will be referred to as ‘Instagrammers’. I have chosen to make YouTube and Instagram the focus of my social media research for a number of reasons: my familiarity with the platforms, their strength as social media platforms for beauty influencers, and the fact that many influencers who have YouTube channels also have Instagram accounts, and vise versa.

The YouTube beauty gurus I will discussing in this series have accumulated a significant following. For the purpose of this blog series, the term ‘significant’ when used to describe a YouTube following will refer to a YouTuber who has accumulated a following greater than 1,000,000 subscribers. YouTube has over one billion users, and as of April, 2016, there are only two thousand channels with seven-figure subscriber counts. This is an incredible achievement and a milestone that is acknowledged by the YouTube organisation and commemorated by awarding the YouTuber with a Gold Play Button.

Instagram also hosts numerous beauty-related accounts, that have helped a number of influences achieve ‘Instafame’, ‘the condition of having a relatively great number of followers on the app’ (Markwick, 2015, p.137).

If you too are interested in the glamorous opportunities and the unexpected reality of this emerging industry, then make sure to check out the other blog posts in this series.

Reference List

Rainnie, E 2015, ‘Persona and Parataxis: YouTube and the Rise of the Beauty Guru’, Bachelor of Communications and Media Studies (Honours), University of Wollongong, Wollongong.

Marwick, A. E. 2015, ‘Instafame: Luxury Selfies in the Attention Economy’, Public Culture, vol. 27, no. 1, pp. 137-160.


Happiness: Investigating Its Causes and Conditions Reflective Journal

Reflect on your present blessings, on which every man has many, not on your past misfortunes, of which all men have some.

Charles Dickens (M. Dickens, 1897, p. 45)


With all the stresses and pressures associated with completing a university degree, I chose to enrol in Happiness: Investigating its causes and conditions because I wanted to pick up a class that would not only teach me skills that will assist me in obtaining a career, but skills that will contribute to my overall happiness and wellbeing. In Sonja Lyubomirsky’s book, The How of Happiness (2007), she describes happiness-increasing activities that aim to transform the way people think about their lives. The first Happiness Activity that Lyubomirsky recommends is expressing gratitude (p.88). After completing the ‘Person-Activity Fit’ Diagnostic questionnaire in Chapter 2 (adapted from Sheldon), I discovered that expressing gratitude is one of the happiness activities that ‘fit’ me best. To practice recognising and expressing gratitude, for the past five weeks, I have kept a Gratitude Journal in which I have recorded the things for which I am grateful.

Lyubomirsky (2007) describes gratitude as not only saying ‘thank-you’, it is wonder, appreciation, and ‘counting blessings’. It is savouring, not taking things for granted; it is coping, and it is present-orientated (Lyubomirsky, 2007). Emmons and Shelton (2001, p.460) have defined gratitude as ‘a sense of wonder, thankfulness, and appreciation for life’. Gratitude can be felt or expressed towards other people, as well as towards impersonal and nonhuman sources (Emmons & Shelton, 2001). Although researchers, writers and authors have offered their own take on the definition of gratitude, it is a concept that defies a simple classification as it has been ‘conceptualised as an emotion, an attitude, a moral virtue, a habit, a personality trait, or a coping response’ (Emmons & McCullough, 2003, p.377; Froh, Sefick, Emmons, 2008).

A number of life experiences can stir feelings of gratitude, however it typically stems from a person’s positive outcome, that was not necessarily earned or deserved, and was the result of the actions of another person (Emmons & McCullough, 2003; Emmons & McCullough, 2004).

Considering gratitude is a commonly occurring affect studied by philosophers, theologians, and popular writers, it is a wonder that psychologists, especially those specializing in the study of emotion, have largely disregarded the concept and its benefits up until recent years (Emmons & Shelton, 2001; Emmons & McCullough, 2004). It wasn’t until the positive psychology movement (Seligman & Csikszentmihalyi, 2000; cited in Emmons & McCullough, 2004) that attention was directed toward human strengths and virtues, such as gratitude (Emmons & McCullough, 2004). Since the movement, the plethora of positive effects associated with expressing gratitude have been recognized as a powerful psychological tool. Gratitude is powerful antidote for negative emotions, neutralising envy, hostility, worry and irritation (Lyubomirsky 2007; Emmons and McCullough, 2003; Emmons & McCullough, 2004). Research suggests that people who are consistently grateful have been found to be relatively happier, more energetic, more hopeful, more peaceful, and experience more frequent positive emotions and positive relationships (Lyubomirsky 2007; Emmons and McCullough, 2003; Emmons & Shelton, 2001). Knowing how to recognize, recall and express gratefulness in life circumstances is important to the way people positively interpret everyday experiences, from the miraculous to mundane (Emmons & McCullough, 2003; Emmons & Shelton 2001; Lyubomirsky 2007). Gratitude has been proven to have important implications for enduring physical and mental wellbeing (Lambert, Fincham, & Stillman, 2012; Kaczmarek et al., 2015)

In her book, Lyubomirsky (2007) suggests keeping a Gratitude Journal as a way of practicing gratitude and positive thinking. She recommends choosing a time of the day where you have time to sit peacefully and reflect on three to five things for which you are grateful. Lyubomirsky’s lab results from her gratitude intervention suggests that, on average, people who completed the Gratitude Journal activity once a week were most likely to experience a boost in happiness (Lyubomirsky, 2007). There is further evidence suggesting that people who keep gratitude journals on a weekly basis are more likely to be physically and mentally healthier, feel better about their lives, and be more optimistic (Emmons & McCullough, 2003).

This year I deliberately bought a daily planner with a space to record my thoughts and musings, with the hope that it would encourage and enable me to be more reflective. I decided that I would use this planner as a place to record my appreciations. Each week I would hand-write my appreciations and at the end of each week I would sit down and reflect on the things I had written during that week. I would then write a blog post on the overall weekly experience in my online ‘diary’. In accordance with the research (Emmons & McCullough 2003; Lyubomirsky 2007), initially I only wrote my gratitude’s once a week, however I found that I was neglecting the little things for which I was grateful. As the weeks progressed I found myself sitting down and hand-writing my gratitudes more often, usually three times a week.

In my experience, I agree with the majority of academic evidence that I have read. I feel that I am overall happier, more peaceful, more reflective, and my personal relationships have benefitted from this exercise (Lyubomirsky 2007; Emmons and McCullough, 2003; Emmons & Shelton, 2001). Research also suggests that expressing gratitude can benefit your overall health (Emmons & McCullough, 2003), however I cannot comment on how my health has improved because I have not been documenting it in relation to this exercise. I may note, however, that usually when I am faced with extended periods of stress, as I have been, I am more susceptible to headaches, and the flu, neither of which I have experienced in the past two weeks.

After undertaking this activity for five weeks, I know that I am happier because of the way I have been reacting to everyday situations and stresses. I have been able to establish positive habits that have allowed me cope with the pressures and stresses of university life. For example, in the past two weeks, I have had to submit seven assignments. Instead of feeling overwhelmed and disheartened, I was able to look at each day as having something to offer. If the day didn’t go my way, then I was able to at least be grateful that the next day would be a new one. This increase in happiness is also reflected in my increased ‘Subjective Happiness Scale’ score (Lyubomirsky 2007, p. 33). Before starting this task, on March 2, 2016 my happiness score was 5 and upon completing this task my score is now 5.25.

I am grateful that I had the opportunity to undertake this course, and appreciate the new skills it has taught me that I will be able to utilise for the rest of my life. Even if I do not continue writing down my gratitude’s on weekly basis, I have found myself simply reflecting during the day on the things for which I am grateful.

Finally, I will conclude with a beautiful quote on gratitude and appreciation from Benedictine monk, Brother David Steindl-Rast (in Schwartzberg, 2011), that emphasises the need to be grateful for the things we receive, no matter how insignificant they may seem, “Open your heart to the incredible gifts that civilization gives to us. You flip a switch and there is electric light. You turn a faucet, and there is warm water and cold water and drinkable water. It’s a gift that millions and millions in the world will never experience.


Reference List

Froh, J. J., Sefick, W. J., Emmons, R. A., 2008, ‘Counting blessings in early adolescents: An experimental study of gratitude and subjective well-being’, Journal of School Psychology, vol. 46, issue 2, pp. 213-233.

Emmons, R. A., McCullough, M. E. 2003, ‘Counting Blessings Versus Burdens: An Experimental Investigation of Gratitude and Subjective Well-Being in Daily Life’, Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, vol. 84, no. 2, pp. 377-389.

 Emmons, R. A. & McCullough, M. E. 2004, The Psychology of Gratitude, Oxford University Press, USA.

Emmons, R. A. & Shelton, C. M. 2001, ‘Gratitude and the Science of Positive Psychology’, edited by C. R. Snyder & Shane J. Lopez, Handbook of Positive Psychology, Oxford University Press, USA, pp. 459-471.

Kaczmarek, L. D., Kashdan, T.B, Drazkowski, D., Enko, J., Kosakowski, M., Szaefer, A., Bujacz, A. 2015, ‘Why do people prefer gratitude journaling over gratitude letters? The influence of indivudal differences in motivation and personality on web-based interventions’, Personality and Individual Differences, vol. 75, pp. 1-6.

Lambert, N. M., Fincham, F. D., Stillman, T. F., 2012, ‘Gratitude and depressive symptoms: The role of positive reframing and positive emotion’, Cognition and Emotion, vol. 26, issue 4, pp.615-633.

Lyubomirsky, S 2007, The How of Happiness, Sphere, Great Britain.

Schwartzberg, L 2011, Gratitude | Louie Schwartzberg | TEDxSF, YouTube Video, 11 June, TEDx Talks YouTube channel, viewed 15 April, 2016, <>.

Happiness Diary Entry #5

This week was our final week of our Happiness Activities.


This week, I was grateful for:


  • I am grateful that we had nice weather, warm weather yesterday, and appreciated that it didn’t start raining until we were driving home, and that it had stopped before we had to get out of the car.
  • I am grateful that Alex stood in line and ordered my hot chocolate for me.
  • I am grateful that my Dad is up in Wollongong and that my sisters, Alex and I all got to share a nice family meal together.


  • I am so grateful that I was able to catch up with my friend Lucy, who I haven’t seen in months, as she lives five hours away. I am also grateful for the encouragement to reach out to Lucy and arrange to catch up, from the CST228 group assignment on Friendship.
  • I am grateful that I have finished a very stressful week at uni and feel that I have done well with all of the assignments I have had to submit.
  • I am grateful that today I was able to have a little bit of a sleep-in after an exhausting week.

Happiness Diary Entry #4

This past week (04/04 – 10/04) has been an extremely stressful and busy week at uni. I had a number of assignments due during the week and in the next couple of days. These circumstances made journaling more difficult than in the previous weeks. I still enjoyed sitting down and reflecting and writing the entries, however I felt that I dedicated less time to journaling and felt that I had less to write during this week, because I was in a stressed state of mind.


This week, I was grateful for:


  • I was grateful that I had the opportunity to sit outside at Panizzi cafe, in the beautiful, warm sun yesterday, during my break at uni.
  • I was grateful for the girl who posted in the UOW Buy and Sell page on Facebook that Priceline was having a 40% off their cosmetics.


  • I am grateful that I have a good, reliable group for the MARK333 group assessment. The cooperation of the girls in our group has helped to elevate a little bit of the stress that I have been experiencing.


  • I am grateful that the MARK333 exam is over with, and I feel that I did well.
  • I am grateful that Part A of the MARK333 assessment is submitted.


Happiness Diary Entry #3

I apologise for my delay on my third Happiness Diary entry. I usually post on a Sunday night so that I can reflect on the week that has past, but last night my boyfriend decided to take me out for dinner, and I thought that would be of better value to my overall wellbeing.

This week I continued writing my gratitudes more than once a week. Again, I wrote in my journal three times, and these were my entries.



  • I am grateful for my boyfriend, Alex, for cooking me dinner after I got home from uni. Even though it was a simple meal, it was a lovely gesture, as I was tired and sore.
  • I am grateful for my strawberry body wash, because it smells delicious, and makes getting up and getting ready for the day more enjoyable. I am also grateful for my friends, Sam and Lauren, who gave it to me for my birthday.
  • I am grateful for my colleagues who were caring and supportive during my first shift back at work.
  • I am grateful for the flowers Alex bought me, because I surpassed 100 subscribers n YouTube.


  • I am grateful for Alex buying me a coffee because I had no money on me. It was a small, but very generous and kind act.


  • I am grateful for the way Alex always gives me a kiss when he leaves for work and I am still asleep in bed.
  • I am grateful for my mum inviting me over for dinner, and for the family meal we had together with my grandparents.
  • I am grateful for Alex’s spontaneity in his decision to take me out for dinner.

I have continued to enjoy writing down my gratitudes on a frequent basis, however, until Wednesday, I did forget to actually write them down in my journal.

I also tried something new this week, and shared what I had written with Alex, because I am so often grateful for the things that he does. Since beginning this exercise I have tried to be more grateful for the people, things, and opportunities in my life, and have started to be more vocal about my gratitudes. I frequently tell Alex that I appreciate what he does for me but I wanted to share what I had taken the time to write down. This gave me a great deal of satisfaction and happiness, and have since considered giving the link to my blog to my friends and family who have appeared in my Gratitude Journal, so they too know how much I appreciate the things they do, however big or small.






Living on Social Media

On Android’s alone, ninety-three million selfies are taken each day. 93 MILLION! And people were checking their phones 100 BILLION times per day. On Apple devices, such as my iPhone 5, there is an automatically generated Selfies folder in the Photos’ App. Embarrassingly, mine currently has 1,058 photos. My only saving grace is that they are not all of my selfies… some are of my dog. Latest data estimates that millennial’s, such as myself, will spend approximately 54 hours per year taking selfies. This equates to more than 25,000 selfies during their lifetime.

When studying the media, we often reflect on how we look at the media, and more inwardly, how we look at ourselves in the media. In doing so, for this particular topic, we have been looking at social media and the phenomena of the quantified self. Basically, this means talking about selfies. In particular, how selfies have been linked to three specific cultural shifts.

The first shift is online media’s ability to determine status (Evans, 2015). In his book, Status Anxiety, Alain de Botton (2005) explains this shift as ‘one’s value and importance in the eyes of the world.’ The second shift is the rise of the ‘attention economy’ (Goldhaber, 1997; cited in Evans, 2015). On the internet, attention in the new currency, and it is a scares and precious resource (Evans, 2015). The third shift, and arguable the most prevalent in 2016, is the increasing shift in celebrity culture (Evans, 2015). As explained by Joshua Gamson, in his article, The Unwatched Life Is Not Worth Living: The Elevation of the Ordinary in Celebrity Culture, (2011: 1062) “celebrity culture is increasingly populated by unexceptional people who have become famous and by stars who have been made ordinary”.

The age of social media has given rise to the ‘microcelebrity’ – celebrities who obtain their fame on social media platforms (Evans, 2015). Ordinary people are sharing their lives, hobbies and talents online, and becoming incredibly wealthy and famous as a result. These people are using celebrity strategies to build a profile, reach out to their followers and fans, and have a willingness to reveal personal information about themselves (Evans, 2015).

From my personal experience, the social media platforms where I find this most prevalent are those like YouTube, Instagram and Snapchat.

Most people of my generation and younger, namely Gen Y and Gen X, spend more time watching YouTube then TV. Since launching ten years ago, YouTube has acquired over a billion users, who watch hundreds of millions of hours and generate billions of views. The platform has allowed anyone with a camera to post content, resulting in an immeasurable variety of content to be created, uploaded and watched. Some of the most successful of that content revolve around gaming, DIY, education, beauty, skits, and general entertainment. YouTube has created household names for our generation, including Jenna Marbles, Tyler Oakly, Pewdiepie, the Vlog Brothers, Smosh, and Jaclyn Hill, who all found or consolidated their fame on YouTube.

As well as creating content, these internet celebrities ‘skillfully juggles Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube to build a deeply loyal connection with fans’. This is, arguably, the distinct difference between mainstream and internet celebrities; celebrities who found their fame on social media are often (but not always) more connected with their fans, as they realise the fan’s importance to their success.

Instagram fame is, arguably, less about creative ability, but just as formulated. When researching this topic, and searching Instagram Fame on Google, there are numerous results for How To Quickly Get Popular On Instagram and Cracking the Instagram algorithm for fame. There is even a wikiHow on gaining Instagram Fame. There are fewer articles about it’s impact on the younger social media generation.

In relation to this topic, the phenomena of the ‘quantified self’ was also discussed. The Quantified Self movement is ‘self knowledge through numbers’ (Evans, 2015). Although this was discussed in relation to personal health and medical tracking, I think it has relevance in our culture of social media. Success and self-worth are becoming increasingly intertwined with our social media numbers; the number of followers, the number of views, and the number of likes.

I, myself, am an aspiring YouTuber (shameless plug) and experience a lot of these things. I spend a lot of time filming, editing, uploading and promoting the content for my growing YouTube channel and linked social media accounts, such as my Instagram account. Social media has created new careers and opportunities, not only for people who create the platforms, but for the people who appear on the platforms. I found this topic very interesting, and so relevant in 2016, that this could quite possibly be the topic I pursue for my research project.



de Botton, A 2005, Status Anxiety, Penguin UK, United Kingdom.

Evans, N 2016, ‘Looking at Ourselves: Social Media and the Quantified Self’, lecture, UOW, presented 16 March, 2016.


Happiness Diary Entry #2

This week for my Gratitude Journal I decided that I would make entries more than once a week. In my previous post, I recounted how I sat down and reflected on the past week, and then wrote down all the things I was grateful for in my daily planner, which is what I am using as my gratitude journal. I noted in last week’s online diary entry that I wanted to take a slightly different approach by writing down things as they happen, so I don’t forget the little things by the end of the week. Admittedly, I didn’t quite stick to that plan, but rather sat down three times this week to write down the things I was grateful for, in my ‘gratitude journal’.


This week I wanted to sit and reflect often enough that I didn’t forget or neglect the little things, but not so often that I found the task to be a chore. After all, this is an activity that I want to be able to enjoy. I made three entries in the week, so I was only having to recall one or two days at a time. There is various literature on how many times to write in your gratitude journal and the various advantages and disadvantages of the different time periods, which I will go into further detail in later online diary entries and in my Reflective Journal.

This week, I was grateful for:


  • My mum for driving into the uni to pick me up when I was sick.
  • My team at work for sending me a gorgeous, bright box of ‘get well soon’ flowers, and their continuous support while I have been away sick.


  • All the well wishes from my friends, colleagues, and family while I have been unwell.
  • My boyfriend looking after me while I have been unwell. He has been a physical and mental support for me while I have been in pain. He has helped me do the simple tasks that I have been rendered incapable of doing on my own such as stand, walk, dress and undress, shower, drive and other daily activities.
  • The chance to spend Good Friday with my family at the beautiful Lake Tabourie.
    • That the rain cleared up, and it turned out to be a beautiful sunny day.
    • That my family is so close, so living, and so supportive of each other, and that we spent time together on a regular basis.


  • My boyfriend spending the night at my house, even though he much prefers to sleep in his own bed.
  • Grateful that my boyfriend drove me down the coast to be with my family on Good Friday.
  • Grateful for my boyfriend’s family spending Easter with us, and their continuous love, support, and generosity.
  • Grateful for the wood fired pizza we ae for dinner and the hard work that my boyfriend and his mum put in to the meal – chopping fire wood, lighting the fire, cooking the dough from scratch.

I had to consider before starting this task whether I was going to use my blog as my gratitude journal to make entries or make hand written entries. I have made another observation while sitting here on this Sunday night, writing my diary entry of this week’s experience. By keeping a hand-writing things gratitude journal in my planner, I have to retype what I have written in order to reflect on the experience here on my blog. This means I get to relive those happy memories and remember the extra details, even write down extra dot points, and be grateful for those things all over again.

I found that three entries during the week was a good number. It allowed me to sit and reflect throughout the week on the things that I was grateful for, which in turn, made me feel happy. I am still really enjoying this activity, and aim to make multiple entries again next week.

I should note that I am also considering sharing my blog with the people that I feature in my gratitude entries, such as my boyfriend, as I am so often grateful for him and the things that he does, so that they know how grateful I am. I will reflect more on this more in next week’s entry.