From the list of the top 100 Instagram accounts, I chose the person with the handle @niksidorkin, or Nik Sidorkin. Granted, he falls under number 19 in the category of “Most Following” not “Most Followed”; nevertheless, he displays a follower count of 529k. As far as I can tell, this Sidorkin man seems to be as normal of an Instagram celebrity as one can be, not really holding any true fame besides all the power that radiates from the amount of likes he receives on a photo. His account definitely lives on for the purpose of showcasing the lifestyle he and his (assumed) wife/partner leads. The account consists of HD pictures (definitely attractive to the eye) illustrating to his following the many exotic, foreign, colorful, and visually appealing places that he has had the good fortune to travel to. As far as comments go, his fan-base comments can be delegated into the following percentiles: 25% self-advertising accounts, 50% people typing in Russian, and 25% emojis. The only simple responses that I have seen him gift to his followers are typically a response to a question where he gets to talk about himself, a quick emoji in response to a compliment, or a suggestion towards his other more personal account, @s_nik.
Now, for the real-life celebrity I chose, I felt that none other than The Queen B, herself, would suffice. The fact that I probably don’t have to even use her full name and you could guess who I was referring to is proof enough that she is a real celebrity, let alone the evidence that her countless Platinum’s and Prestigious Awards have to show, but I digress. Beyoncé has accumulated a whopping 58.1m Instagram followers and follows 0. Yes, ZERO. Zilch. Nada. No-one. I scrolled down pretty far, and I can confidently say that there has not been more than a 3-picture photo streak without her in it. So, selfies? Check. Family? Check. Lifestyle? Check. If Beyoncé didn’t break up her marvelous travel content with an updated image of herself, there is absolutely no doubt that the fan base would drop. Maybe not by much, at first, but what if she ceased posting images of herself altogether? After all, these followers don’t know Beyoncé personally, and there’s a high percentage that they never will. With that being said, Instagram is a small glimpse into her extravagant day-to-day life, or at least, what she portrays her life to be like, which makes fans feel a personalization between them and herself as a personal brand. Seeing her is a way for fans to normalize her, and bring her into their everyday lives. I noticed that each comment section on a photo of her that she herself has posted no longer acts as a communication system between the commenter and the poster as it would on a typical non-famous Instagram, but as an interactive comment section between users similar to that of a blog. In these comments, the majority will comment things relating to her upcoming shows, what she’s wearing, news about her that is completely unrelated to the picture itself, etc. Her fans have managed to take Instagram and utilize it to create this entirely connected environment between fans that appears to be interpersonal with Beyoncé herself, without actually ever achieving any type of personal relationship with her at all.
Therefore, comparing these two accounts is fairly easy considering the differences are so blatant yet so simple. Beyoncé utilizes Instagram as a completely one-way experience for herself, if she is even the one that handles the majority of the account, while Nik operates his own account, takes his own pictures, travels, and occasionally interacts with the many comments he receives. Despite his frequent smiley-faced response or short worded blurb, this false sense of fame that his likes have provided to him has truly taken the “Social” out of Social Media. Furthermore, Beyoncé clearly adheres to the name of the selfie game Franco so expertly pointed out. As far as Taylor Swift’s wise words go, I can see the “keeping it interesting” aspect that must be prevalent in order to keep followers interested. So, yeah, Nik has nice pictures, but what if he kept posting beach pictures, day in and day out. Regardless of his photographic skill, viewers would grow bored of the constant content, and eventually reduce his like/follower count. However, that is not what Nik does. He travels, frequently might I add, and litters his personal account with a wide variety of pictures illustrating himself and these euphoric places. It keeps it new and interesting, and for the average Joe, this Nik character posts better pictures than most, which in turn, adds to the illusion that he is living a better life than them. That’s how a “celebrity” is viewed on Instagram. Not gauged by actual achievements or recognition, but by the content and popularity of their images. James Franco, for one, capitalizes on what pictures he finds accumulate the most likes. He is no fool, and instead of fighting the vain selfie game, he joins it in order to get the most out of it. Another famous Instagram presence is Taylor Swift, who, on the other hand, doesn’t mention the selfie-game so much as she does the importance of artists “switching it up” in order to maintain a solid fan base. But upon looking at her Instagram, it’s clear she enjoys a good amount of self exposure on her account, however, she does tend to keep it interesting, not always posting the high quality, and so called glamorous celebrity pictures that we can see more on Beyoncé’s page.
All in all, it is safe to say that these celebrities, whether they initiated on Instagram or not, have discovered the key to success (as my good friend DJ Khaled would say) in reference to playing the Instagram game and skillfully perpetuating their fame onto social media platforms.