40 Times People Spotted Influencers Doing Questionable Things To Get “The Shot” And Shamed Them On ‘Influencers In The Wild’ (New Pics)
We don’t all have what it takes to be an influencer. It often requires spending countless hours on social media, working hard to curate your image and apparently sometimes, being absolutely shameless when taking photos and videos in public. Most of us are happy to just watch from the sidelines, observing influencers in their natural habitats. But as the Influencers in the Wild Instagram account has taught us, having a large following unfortunately means you might be watched at all times.
This page is dedicated to catching influencers who are doing the absolute most to capture photos and videos of their everyday lives. And they’re getting plenty of exposure, as this page has nearly 5 million followers. So be sure to upvote the pictures you find to be impressively bold, and let us know in the comments: what’s the craziest thing you’ve ever seen an influencer do “for the perfect shot”?
Keep reading to also find interviews we were lucky enough to receive from Dr. Zoetanya Sujon, educator and author of The Social Media Age, and life coach and author of Stop Checking Your Likes, Susie Moore. Then if you’d like to see even more of these pics catching influencers in the wild, you can find Bored Panda’s previous posts featuring the same Instagram account right here and here.
Over the past few decades, social media has completely taken the world by storm. As of 2021, social media sites had 4.26 billion users around the globe, and being an influencer has become a viable career for many (something our grandparents could have never dreamed of). Nowadays, we have the opportunity to curate whatever persona we like online, and perhaps even monetize it, but the role of social media and how it has impacted our world is a highly nuanced topic. So to gain some insight, we reached out to an expert in the field: Dr. Zoetanya Sujon.
Educator, researcher and author of The Social Media Age, Dr. Sujon explained that discussing the prevalence of how social media has affected our “real lives” is a complicated topic. “I would first begin by saying social media is real, and we live our lives on and off line,” she explained. “It can be unhelpful to think of what happens online as somehow separate from our lives. That said, as the expression ‘IRL’, we do often question what happens on social media - in terms of social connection, truth, and authenticity.”
“From an individual perspective, social media has reshaped our relationship with the world in at least three ways,” Dr. Sujon noted. “First, it has made social connection more available, more frequent, and more accessible. Consequently, this amplifies (good and bad) communication. Taking 'likes' as an example, we are more deeply embedded into a constant cycle of validation and affirmation (Does this look good? Is this funny? Relatable? Meaningful?). Second, people are more easily able to find others like them. Here we see the growth of niche or formerly marginalized communities, often stemming from social media as a vehicle for identity expression.”
“Third, social media has fundamentally changed our relationship with popular culture and cultural production,” Dr. Sujon told Bored Panda. “For example, we have seen a shift from celebrities as distant and untouchable stars, to the demand for quite intense relationships between creators/cultural producers and their audiences. In this way, it is possible to make connections with musicians, authors, government officials, artists etc. and meaningful interactions via social media.”
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We also were curious what Dr. Sujon had to say about how influencers are impacting us, and she explained that it’s much more complicated than simply deeming them as positive or negative. “Influencers is a huge category and covers a wide range of creators, as well as potential impacts,” she noted. “We can think about the impact of influencers in a number of ways, including impacts on industry, on labor, and on our social perceptions of others.”
“In terms of labor, influencers present content that is relatable and often looks easy to create, symbolizing a highly appealing and comfortable lifestyle,” Dr. Sujon explained. “The reality is that content creation is hard graft, often requiring constant attention to audiences and grueling production schedules. Brooke Erin Duffy refers to this as aspirational labor and despite popular perceptions, only very few influencers are able to make a living from their work.”
“In terms of our social perceptions, there is a blurring between promotional communication and everyday life, which we can see in the high number of influencers breaking ASA regulations to indicate paid partnerships and sponsored content,” Dr. Sujon added. “Finally, in terms of industry, brands and organizations need to communicate differently and this impacts us in direct and indirect ways. For example, Google and Facebook dominate global digital advertising, yet their core businesses are search and social platforms - and this impacts our lives. Influencers are only one part of the mediated world, and the broader shifts in promotional communication and social quantification are more significant. These are complex shifts with complex impacts, some of which have negative impacts and some of which have positive impacts.”
Dr. Sujon also had some wise words for any young people who have dreams of becoming an influencer. “It is not as easy as it seems, so be prepared for hard work. The best thing a young person could do to prepare themselves is to focus as much on understanding contracts, brand partnerships, and business as you do on content creation and what you present on social media.”
And when it comes to whether or not social media as a whole is negative or positive, Dr. Sujon shared, “Social media are important tools, ones that have become central to everyday life. They can be used and experienced in tremendously powerful ways, with both negative and positive impacts.”
Finally, in reference to Influencers in the Wild specifically, Dr. Sujon wanted to note that the page does not take into consideration what a wide variety of influencers there are out there. She pointed out that the page seems to target “the bland narcissism of creator culture” and “perpetuates popular misogyny which undermines the largely feminized creative labor of social media creators”. Remember that influencers are not a monolith, and we can't judge them all through the lens of this page.
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To gain even more insight on the topics of social media and being an influencer, we also reached out to life coach, podcaster, and author of several books, including Stop Checking Your Likes, Susie Moore. First, we asked Susie why she thinks we should all stop checking our likes. "Seeking external approval is a recipe for misery - because our sense of peace and steadiness is always outside of us," she told Bored Panda. "It's fun to engage and be yourself on social media. But if your joy is affected by your popularity or lack of it, you're living on an emotional rollercoaster -always at the whim of other peoples behavior and interest in you. Social media isn't good or bad - it's neutral. It's how it affects us that matters. It can be a source of entertainment or a source of pain. When you care less about how liked you are - online and offline - this is where your freedom lies."
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But Susie explained that influencers are not inherently bad. "Influencers can be positive," she told Bored Panda. "They can inspire us, teach us, show us new things. The harm is caused when we compare ourselves to them and find reasons to feel bad about ourselves. Social media is NOT reality. It's a very selective window (and filter!) and we need to always remember that. How you interpret what an influencer means to you is what matters. To me personally - influencers are a source of fun, fresh information and entertainment. I don't take it too seriously."
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We also asked Susie what the real world effects of social media are. "It's not affecting how we live our real lives, per se. It affects how we feel about our lives," she explained. "But this is significant. We act based on how we feel. Feeling good leads to more consistent positive action. Feeling bad does the opposite. Pay attention to how social media makes you feel. A healthy detachment in the form of breaks from time to time can go a long way in emotionally regulating ourselves."
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When it comes to how we should be using social media, Susie reminds us not to let it rule our lives. "Make sure it brings you a return somehow - connectivity, education, discovery of cool new places etc! No-one is forcing you to use social media," she notes. "How something makes you feel is the best gauge of how appropriate it is in your life. And, unless it's your job, you don't owe anyone anything on any social platform. Look at celebrities like Mila Kunis, Jennifer Lawrence and Chris Pine. They don't use social media at all!"
"We are powerful beings! We have agency over where we give our time and attention. Choose wisely for you. Because where your focus goes, your energy flows."
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There is absolutely nothing wrong with taking photos with your friends or being a social media influencer. If you find a way to monetize your Instagram and pics of yourself, more power to you! But just remember that not every single moment needs to be captured. Sometimes it's best to just live in the moment! And if you're caught taking a photo of yourself, just own it. I'm sure we all have a selfie or two (or two hundred) hiding in our camera roll. Keep upvoting the pics that you get a kick out of, and then if you're looking for even more of these photos, you can find Bored Panda's previous articles on Influencers in the Wild here and here.