Once upon a time, for a child’s birthday, we’d have some school friends over, eat pizza and cake, open some presents, maybe have a bouncy castle. You know. Kid stuff. Everyone loved it, ate too much sugar, drank too much soda, went wild for an hour or two, then crashed. A tale as old as time. But times are a-changin’ and sometimes we’re forced to bear witness to the bewildering antics of humanity, leading us to say “I don’t want to live on this planet anymore.”
Which brings us, yet again, to Instagram. The wellness industry around the world is worth $3.7 trillion. It’s huge. Anywhere from Richard Simmons VHS tapes to Instagram “influencers” peddling a certain lifestyle that people need to subscribe to, you’ll find people using the veil of wellness to decorate just about anything.
Influencer culture and the filter of certain lifestyles have become so all-consuming that you can see it happening right in front of your eyes while mindlessly scrolling through your feed. While 71% to 73% of Millennials report drinking alcohol regularly, some of these Instagram influencers are sipping an entirely different Kool-Aid altogether. Recently, Millennial mommy-blogger and Instagram lifestyle/wellness influencer Katie Bower took her need for that sweet Insta juice to the next level.
For her son Weston’s sixth birthday, Bower posted a photo of him with a caption that she’s since removed from public view. She didn’t take it down fast enough for it to escape nearly immediate public scrutiny and have screenshots plastered all around cyberspace to be flogged with the criticism of the internet community. In the post, she begins as a loving parent and gushes about her adorable child, but then she goes all social media marketing mommy and publicly laments the poor performance of his pictures on her Instagram account.
It’s a pretty lengthy photo caption that you can check out from the hundreds of retweets it received, but we’ll cover the juiciest bits.
“Guys I am gonna be perfectly honest…Instagram never liked my Munchkin and it killed me inside…From a statistical point of view, he wasn’t as popular with everyone out there. Maybe part of that was the picture just never hit the algorithm right…My insufficiency caused this statistical deficit because obviously my Munch should get ALL the love and squinty eyes are totally adorable.”
She goes on to ask her followers to leave comments of the squinty eyes emoji and follows up with a postscript that’s a real punch to the stomach:
“I wanted to clarify that I revealed this feeling because I know one day he will see the numbers and have to learn that his value is not in online approval.”
Have. To. Learn. One Twitter user comments that perhaps she needs to learn the lesson of value not being in online approval before she starts showing her children their social media engagement metrics. Just a thought.
People were pretty up in arms about the nature of her post, its contents, and her projection of this type of worth on her children. Imagine as a teen, maybe when you’re one of the 50 million who struggles with acne or any number of adolescent self-esteem issues, and your mother uses your childhood statistical unpopularity on her Instagram as a means to tell you your infinite non-media based worth. Thanks, Mom?
After receiving the lashing that she did, Bower has since spoken out about learning a valuable lesson from her post. Acknowledging the psychologically addictive nature that something like likes hold over people is an important message to be aware of. In the future, we hope that she’ll take a step back, consider the repercussions, and avoid posting while under the influencer.