Eating for free for being an ‘influencer’: users of social networks no longer sneak it so easy

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, they receive from 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 latest shake 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 recalls by phone to EL PAÍS Lorena Macías, advertising creative and creator of the Instagram profile @hazmeunafotoasian account with 234,000 users that was born at the beginning of the pandemic and is dedicated to “InfluRealism Magical. the present influencer 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 influencer 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 received by the couple from influencers formed by Teresa Andrés Gonzalvo and Ignacio Ayllón due to the paternalism and racism that the publications they made during their recent honeymoon in the African country exuded.

But this controversy of the white savior syndrome and the posturing of the influencers on their vacations and in the life they sell through Instagram is not the only one that has provoked hundreds of comments this summer and the disapproval of many on social networks. In the last week, and with permission from the youtuber MrGranbomba and his “anchovy face” insult 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 they did not let him eat for free. “People are already much more critical, they have more and more to compare and realize who makes interesting content and who is a provocateur,” says Macías.

In addition, there are more and more profiles on Instagram —the natural habitat of this new professional profile such as that of influencer— what like @hazmeunafotoasi they disfigure or criticize from humor, through memes, phrases and witty videos, the attitudes of digital content creators. His current review ranges from checking how they rave about 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 speak of 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 an artificially created fame.

Escalona’s dubious behavior with the employee of A tapa do Barril, a place famous for its dumplings in the Galician city, has meant that Internet users have turned to the establishment and have not stopped writing good reviews on their profile. Google since the unpleasant incident. The youtuber, who apologized last Monday for his behavior on his YouTube account, has had to see how multiple complaints from Internet users have caused the closure of his channel on the most popular video platform. “Today there are more channels where precisely that lack of professionalism is made visible. We are not at the dawn of the internet, when everything was worth and everything was funny, now we ask ourselves who we are giving likes”, contextualizes Macías. “Your Strategy [la de Borja Escalona] is that of provocation, you can see it 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 of them skid like this”, adds the expert.

Dulceida, Borja Escalona and Teresa Gonzalvo.Agencies

“What if I lose my social networks? The influencer is not destroyed, influencer becomes. When a social network burns, in the remains sprout influencers”. This reflection, along with many others, can be found in the book Camarasutra. Illustrated Posture Manual (Planet, 2022) who recently posted modern fucking and that they define as “a compendium of the 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 graffiti on the walls of the Raval neighborhood (Barcelona) in 2005, reading what would later be the name of his brand, he and Joan Alvares, founding partners of modern fuckingmake irony through their advertising campaigns and his Instagram account —which accumulates 327,000 followers— with what they have called the postposturing or “a parody of modernity from modernity”. “The most exaggerated paradigm of this time is the influencerwhich is characterized by the narcissism that someone shows through social networks, which are the great make-up of reality,” Alvares told EL PAÍS by phone.

To this duo of advertising creatives, responsible for the latest Pepsi campaign with actor Ernesto Sevillawhat most calls their attention 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 influencer it seems so to us”, explains Alvares, who admits that we all, on different scales, play that 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 to say, we show the good and hide the bad”, explains the creator of Putos Modernos.

And sometimes, as the profile reflects Influencers in the Wild (@influencersinthewild), 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 the perfection that the world sells. influencer: Impossible body postures to pose in a photo, a violin that does not sound in a music video —to which a nostalgic song will later be added that is repeated in 80% of Instagram profiles— or the dictatorship of friends and/or boyfriends as photographers amateurs of the one that aspires to be the new Dulceida.

Despite the scathing in these publications that ridicule the figure of the influencer, there is also, as its authors explain, a desire to laugh at a reality to which the whole of society, including them, contributes. “With my stories I don’t make a personal attack, but I choose something that seems surreal to me, I make the community 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 her congratulating her on her pranks. A surreal reality that is lived on social networks and that is laughable at, as Alvares, from Putos Modernos, also defends, and of which the majority sins, with 120 or 200,000 followers. “It is important to be able to laugh a little at ourselves and at those human contradictions that we all have, like rushing to class mindfulness and buy cheap flights from a mobile of 1,000 euros”.

Eating for free for being an ‘influencer’: users of social networks no longer sneak it so easy