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.
13342189_1702643196663221_638508033_n.jpg

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.

13342522_1702643556663185_774704888_n.jpg

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.

13342448_1702643219996552_864521866_n.jpg

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.

 

Advertisements

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.

Screen Shot 2016-06-03 at 6.48.50 pm.png

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 sephora.com 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.

Screen Shot 2016-05-31 at 11.55.40 am.png

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.

Screen Shot 2016-06-03 at 6.51.30 pm.png

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.

Screen Shot 2016-05-31 at 12.22.37 pm.png

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, <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gXDMoiEkyuQ>.

Happiness Diary Entry #5

This week was our final week of our Happiness Activities.

12992275_881885588587009_1058517810_n.jpg

This week, I was grateful for:

12/04/16:

  • 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.

15/04/2016:

  • 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.

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.

 

References:

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 #1

In her book, The How of Happiness (2007), Sonja Lyubomirsky 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). Gratitude is powerful antidote for negative emotions, neutralising envy, hostility, worry and irritation (Lyubomirsky 2007). Robert Emmons, an experienced and prominent researcher and writer about gratitude, defines it as ‘a sense of wonder, thankfulness, and appreciation for life’ (Emmons & Shelton 2002; cited in Lyubomirsky 2007).

There is a plethora of positive effects associated with expressing gratitude. Research suggests that people who are consistently grateful have been found to be relatively happier, more energetic, more hopeful, and experience more frequent positive emotions (Lyubomirsky 2007). Lyubomirsky’s lab results from her gratitude intervention suggests that, on average, that the people who completed this activity once a week were most likely to experience a boost in happiness (Lyubomirsky 2007). People who kept gratitude journals on a weekly basis were physically and mentally healthier, felt better about their lives, and were more optimistic (Emmons & McCullough 2003).

In her book, Lyubomirsky suggests keeping a Gratitude Journal as a way of practising 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, from the mundane to the miraculous, and specific individuals.

I decided that I would use my daily planner as a place to record my appreciations. This year I deliberately bought a planner with a space to record my thoughts and musings, with the hope that I would be more reflective. So when I was given the opportunity to undertake this activity I was happy to participate.

12380592_864366067005628_1497474851_n

Tonight, for my entry in my ‘gratitude journal’, I sat and reflected on my week and all the things for which I was grateful. Considering I spent last night in the Emergency Department and all day in bed, this really made me smile, and appreciate all the good things that happened this week.

This week, I was grateful for:

  • My mother-in-law cooking my dinner and having it ready for me after I got home from a long day at uni.
  • My umbrella when I was caught in a thunderstorm.
  • My warm, and comfortable bed after a long day at work, doing the night shift.
  • My boyfriend’s support and love while I was in hospitable, and while I was sick.
  • The crisp, fresh air of Autumn.

Next week, I would like to take a slightly different approach to writing in my gratitude journal. Tonight, being Sunday night, I sat down with my journal and recalled all the things I was grateful for during the week. Next week I would like to write down the things as they happen, so I don’t forget all the little things, and then sit down at the end of the week and reflect on all those things while I write my online diary entry.