The Daily Beast’s Cassie da Costa examines the economics of Instagram, where the glamorous facade presented by celebrities and “influencers” has come undone thanks to the coronavirus lockdown.
From the Daily Beast:
Instagram, the foremost mechanism for celebrities to cultivate and control their public images, has transformed into a kind of Wild West over the last month—particularly in the U.S., where many celebrities are huddled on the coasts, from the Hamptons to Hollywood.
Yachts, jets, and face masks cost money, yet Instagram is, generally speaking, free to use (at least as long as you have access to a device and internet connection, which many people living in poverty and/or rural areas don’t). So, naturally, when celebrities and influencers market themselves to us on the platform, the “us” is typically broke. In mildly, subjectively “better times,” this made Instagram a vicarious platform, where the many could bask in the beauty, wealth, and health of the few from afar. Today, Instagram provides regular people with both an agonizing proximity and terrifying distance to that trifecta of good fortune.
On Twitter, epidemiologists, nurses, doctors, grocery store workers, and other “essential employees” are voicing their concerns, wisdom, fear, anger, and policy proposals while activists, organizers, and people lucky enough to still be earning a full paycheck while working from home frantically collect and give money and services to those suffering and fighting on the front lines of the crisis. Instagram, then, provides a kind of refuge for the uber-rich-and-famous, who are now bombarded by the essentialness, usefulness, and courage of literally everybody else.
Read the rest of the story here.