There are people at uni with thousands of Instagram followers. Why?

‘I don’t like the word ‘famous’ – I prefer ‘well-known’’

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Instagram has become a platform of extreme proximity between over 300 million people across the world. It offers an insight into the world of friends, family, strangers, celebrities and now the newest phenomenon of the “Instafamous”.

These homemade micro-celebrities represent a new age of fame.

The attraction of this contemporary glory? Anyone can attain it. It’s an assemblage of everyday young people that have gained, through one way or another, an unprecedented amount of social media followers.

However, what is truly baffling about this increasingly popular craze is why people want to achieve this arguably futile “stardom”.

Em Sheldon is a Broadcast Journalism second year at Leeds. She has 22,400 Instagram followers and 11,800 on Twitter.

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She started a blog called EmTalks in 2012 and has taken a year out of uni this year to focus on it.

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“It’s about getting to know your audience. I have an incredibly kind, loyal and supportive audience,” she told us.

“I don’t like the word ‘famous’ but I prefer the word ‘well-known’, I guess am to an extent, but it has all come with very hard work from my blog. I like to think people follow me for the real me.”

I regret nothing.

A photo posted by Em Sheldon (@emshelx) on

Sascha Driver, a Fashion student at Nottingham Trent, writes a fashion blog and has over 2,000 Instagram and over 1,000 Twitter followers.

“I started my blog in 2013 after realising it would be a great way to share my beauty tricks with other people,” she said.

“People often came to me and asked for advice regarding beauty routines and fashion.

“I think to even consider yourself as social media famous means having hundreds of thousands of followers.”

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“I’m lucky to have a good following on social media but it’s nothing compared to a lot of other people.”

It’s not just fashion-blogging students taking Instagram by storm. Caroline Calloway studies History of Art at Cambridge, as well as being an Instagram blogger, writer. She’s amassed a stupendous 335,000 Instagram followers and 15,400 on Twitter.

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“I think the main reason I have so many followers on social media is because my mum has created hundreds of thousands of alias accounts in order to make me feel special,” she joked.

“She knows I’m not going to make it in the ‘real world’ And let’s be honest: I agree.

“Just because they’re lots of openings at the History of Art factory doesn’t necessarily mean I’ll get an offer once I graduate. And I hear life as a writer is even harder. So yeah. I have so many followers because my mum loves me.”

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We live in a time where the internet does almost everything for us. It tutors us on how best to do our makeup, how to paint a portrait and tells us how we should dress. Pretty soon it’ll be able to cook us dinner, bath us and read us a bedtime story.

These students who have risen to “Instafame” through their blogs and their social media presence, say the main reason behind their success lies in other people’s requirement to be taught something.

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They say the fuel for starting a blog and obtain a huge following came because “people kept asking”.

It’s undeniable these so-called Instafamous people have created a successful way of helping people by giving their followers something they want.

However, it seems the idea of an Insta-celeb is somewhat futile.

Adolescence is in so many ways a perpetual popularity contest, one which Instafame merely feeds into.

These organic, homegrown “slebs” crave attention and an acceptance among this newly formed online community in order for them to achieve this status.

“It’s definitely a nice feeling seeing that people follow me because they like what I post,” Sascha said.

If these photos look unfamiliar to you it’s because you’re not following me on Facebook yet. That’s right, loved ones—I have an Instagram account AND a Facebook Page where I post about my adventures. Because I’m obsessed with brightening your day with jokes and stories and photos, okay? Fine, that, and I will do anything to avoid schoolwork. Enough! Stop asking about it! On Instagram I post about my first year at Cambridge University, but here’s what y’all are missing out on Facebook… The time Oscar flew us to Venice for Valentine’s Day The time I walked around campus in a Strawberry onesie The time my friend Max and I went to a ball at Blenheim palace The time I rolled up to a business meeting in London dressed like a 60s hooker The time I was photographed making weird facial expressions at the Oxford Hunt Ball The time Oscar and I broke up If you’d like to read more about any of these bullet points, get thee to my Facebook Page. It’s a party and everyone’s invited. And it won’t be the same without you. ✨

A photo posted by Caroline Calloway (@carolinecalloway) on

A real problem with Instafame is how these people receive such glorified praise for not actually doing much. Sure, these social media celebs are doing nothing wrong and in many ways what they do is completely admirable, yet, there is just something about this constant craving of attention throughout society that is just quite irritating.

Millions of people follow blindingly ineffectual celebrities like Kylie Jenner, Jamie Laing and Katie Price. Why? Because they’re attractive, rich and at best reasonably funny.

Aren’t these celebrities who rise to fame with very little talent the people who inspire this new craze of the “everyday” Instaceleb, showing them just how easy it is to gain social media momentum?

They probably believe they’re doing the public’s “calling” as well.