I’ve noticed a new trend on Instagram in which, instead of doing giveaways with a singular influncer, brands are now doing giveaways with a handful of influencers all together. I can only assume this was the brain child of a manager at a common management agency they all share. Nevertheless, this idea, from the business perspective, is actually genius.
Influencers who do solely internet based influencing for their career have managers. Instead of reaching out to a brand and asking if they can have free shit, their manager will do that. Their manager will email a marketing representative at said brand and say ‘Hey, I’ve got [Influencer Name] with [X] followers. They’ll shout you out to said followers if you give them free stuff. They’ll provided target, specific content for your brand if you give them something to give away’.
Let’s use Peloton, for an example. (Using Peloton because I’ve seen several groups of influencers giving away a peloton lately)
Here’s some basic Marketing related math for you.
Peloton sponsors an influencer that we’ll call Jill. They give her one bike for herself and one bike to give away to one of her 500,000 followers. Jill tells her 500,000 followers to follow Peloton in order to be entered to win.
Jill has a potential to reach 12-18 percent of those followers on an average post, but typically with giveaways you can reach 25 to 30 percent. If we guestimate that she reaches the smallest percentage of followers with her post, 12 percent of 500,000 is 60,000 followers.
If we factor in that of those 60,000 followers reached, about 10 percent of them will actively follow Peloton, which is 6,000 new followers for Peloton. 6,000 new followers for the price of two bikes means that these bikes have already paid for themselves.
Now, if we factor in that of those 6,000 new followers got, roughly 2% of them are actually inclined to just go buy the Peloton themselves and have the spare change to do so, there’s roughly 120 people who could potential purchase the bike outright after seeing the giveaway.
Considering they have already made their money back with the followers earned, even if only one of those 120 people purchase a Peloton after seeing Jill’s sponsored post, that’s pocket change for Peloton. That’s profit. Measurable profit. Imagine if ten people bought them? 20?
When I say that Jill’s post has the potential to reach 12-18 percent of followers and that 10 percent of them will actively act on seeing the post to follow Peloton, these numbers aren’t pulled from thin air. They’re basic guestimates used in the industry for ROI calculations.
Where the management company comes in is that they’ve realized a way to increase the value to the brand and the influencer, whilst minimizing the work for everyone. How do they do that? Instead of one influencer giving away one bike, five influencers are now giving away one bike. Not each, total. This means Peloton is giving away one bike, and instead of having access to just Jill’s followers, they now have access to Jill’s followers, Jen’s followers, Sarah’s followers and so on and so forth.
Instead of Jill propping up Peloton, Jill is now propping up Peloton and each her four friends. Jills four friends are also doing the same thing for her.
If Jill, Jen, Sarah and the rest of them all have half a million followers, for example, Peloton has multiplied the math of their original outcomes five-fold. In the process, each of these influencers are also seeing their own follower count growing, for the Peloton sponsored content that’s 1/5th as valuable as it was before.
As an Instagram user, your chance of winning has gone from 1 in 500,000 to 1 in 2.5 million. As an Instagram user, you’ve gone from having to follow one extra user, to having to follow 5 extra users. As an Instagram user, you’re doing the work for them. They’re posting a 15 second story to Instagram and offering you 1/5th the chance you had before. In the process, they’re improving their stats for future advertisers. What are you doing? Filling your Instagram feed with annoying influencers in hopes of being the 1 in 2.5 million people who wins a $2,000 bike?
Peloton has millions of dollars to set aside each year for giveaways. Millions. Paying $2,500 (or however much it costs for the bike with shoes and whatnot) to give away one bike, that gives their brand the potential to reach 2.5 million people is PENNIES. Literal pennies.
Long story short: Influencers get the followers. The brand gets followers and sales. Instagram users get… to follow five extra, potentially annoying accounts, for 1/5th the chance at a prize they would’ve had in previous years.
If you’re someone who doesn’t care who you follow on Instagram, please don’t @ me. I’m not saying that having to follow five people is arduous work. I’m merely suggesting that a management company has created a model in which brands and influencers invest absolutely nothing in people and people invest everything in brands and influencers. That’s what drives the influencer industry – they influencers and brands do as little work as possible and users pay for it with their social media currency, their time, their attention and their dollars.
To preface this story, there’s a young woman I often see wandering around my neighbourhood talking to her phone. I just assumed that she liked to chat on facetime. I do that. I’ll call my brother’s on facetime versus a regular call, just because I can. It was a natural assumption for me to make.
My friends are all aware of how I feel about influencers. In case you’re new here, I think it’s a vapid industry that relies on influencers taking advantage of people. This weekend my friend Lucy send me a video with a caption that said ‘Influencers are taking over your city. Looks like you’re going to have to move’.
This woman who I’ve seen wandering around my neighbourhood talking to her phone, she’s been filming videos and uploading them to YouTube.
This is hard for me. Our neighbourhood, is uniquely designed. This is a very recognizable neighbourhood. The homes are uniquely shaped and uniquely coloured. I mean, I’ve talked a little bit about it on this blog, but I’ve never discussed or shown any features of it because internet security is important to me. She clearly doesn’t give a fuck about internet security.
I’m torn. On the one hand, she’s a fucking idiot. She’s essentially giving away her location to anyone on the internet who wants it. Our homes are so unique on the outside that it really wouldn’t take long to find them on google at all. On the other hand, if she wants to bait stalkers, that’s her problem?
I’m just annoyed that someone is showcasing our neighbourhood all willy-nilly on YouTube. Initially, I contemplated talking to her about it. But, part of me knows that stupid is as stupid does and changing her mind probably won’t happen. Another part of me just thinks I should ignore it because she hasn’t actually shown my specific house. (She lives on the other side of the block)
I hate them.
I watched a couple of her videos after my friend sent me the one. Her videos are annoying and stupid. She’s just the type of person to either live in oblivion for the rest of her life, or magically catch the YouTube algorithm one day and skyrocket into a world of vapid consumerism.
Word to the wise… whether you have 10 people who see your content or 1,000,000… don’t show where you live. Just don’t do it. You don’t know if the people viewing your content are normal folk who wouldn’t care, or a creepy stalker who’s capable of showing up at your front door. Don’t be an idiot.
Speculation is circulating the web that the Stauffer’s are getting prepared to make their triumphant return to YouTube.
Three and a half weeks after finally acknowledging they ‘rehomed’ their adopted, autistic son from China, a lot has unfolded.
Developments (since my exceptionally long story about them):
The Stauffer’s have been copyright claiming the YouTube videos of other users who are commenting on their clips, videos and content. To those of you who do not know, a copyright claim on YouTube, allows the person who makes the claim to take the ad revenue from the creator who is commenting on them. Myka and James are claiming revenue of those who have been criticizing them.
The date of May 26th (the very day they posted their ‘We rehomed our son’ YouTube video) James Stauffer filed paperwork in the state of Ohio to turn his YouTube channel into an LLC, separating it from his wife’s channel and making it its own legal entity that could not be touched should anything come to blows with his wife’s channel or legal action be filed against them
Speaking of the ‘We rehomed our son’ video… after monetizing the video to make ad revenue off of it, the Stauffer’s have now made that video private as of June 11. It’s worth noting that they have not deleted the video. The video reached more than 5,000,000 views, and deleting it would skew the analytics of Myka’s channel. Clearly she still cares about maintaining this channel because rather then deleting videos about her abandoned son, she’s been making them private as to not lose ‘views count’ for potential future revenue. Making it private just means people cannot watch it without a link.
Myka has created a separate channel called ‘Cash Crush’ that she’s now made Instagram and Twitter accounts for. The channel aims to teach people to make money online. (Perhaps she might make a video about telling people they should adopt children for clout).
James has posted to his YouTube channel that he was ‘taking some time to be with family’ and that new videos on his newly legally separate entity ‘Stauffer Garage’ channel would be back soon.
Allegedly (this is speculative as I have not seen proof) James is also not responding to businesses who’s products he’s used on his channel before that are asking him to stop using the products because they do not wish to be associated wit him or his family any longer.
I’m honestly not sure if this family is crazy enough to think that after ‘rehoming’ (abandoning) their special needs adopted son after exploiting him for three years that they can just bounce back to be the influencers they once were. Neither of them have held jobs outside of YouTube for several years, which leads me to believe they might try.
It’s scary to think about because as much as I believe these two do not deserve a platform from which to influence the masses, and as much as I think they are still exploiting their former son by continuing to keep videos of him online, part of me worries for their remaining four children now.
I seriously hope this couple saved a lot of money during the past six months that they’ve been avoiding the questions about their adopted son. Because honestly, they’re technically unemployable at this point. And I don’t just mean that as they’ve been ‘cancelled’ on a worldwide scale. I mean that as in both of their educational backgrounds are in industries that require you to update your licensing annually to maintain an ability to work, and both have let their licensing lapse for several years now.
Two parents are out of a job.
Four kids are still in that home.
I sincerely hope that they’ve saved some of their money and didn’t spend it all. Otherwise, those other four kids are about to have a really hard road ahead of them.
Quick and important point: I’ve seen some blogs, YouTube channels and other sources online sharing this family’s home address in posts, on videos and in articles. DON’T DO THAT. It’s not okay. It’s not safe. You don’t know who’s going to read that address and possibly do something really fucking stupid and unsafe. Doxing people is not okay. And there are still four young children in that home. Don’t put their lives in danger because their parents are idiots.
If you missed the first time I spoke of this family, that post can be seen by clicking here. It’s a long one, but there’s a lot to this family and their poor decisions.
Also, there’s another YouTube mom who’s been clickbaiting adoption a lot lately. She’s actually a lot like Myka. Exploits her kids, posts a lot of questionable things online and tries to hide behind her religion. She also has two biological daughters and one biological son just like Myka had when her and her husband started clickbaiting adoption. I want to talk about it but I also don’t want to give her attention because I genuinely believe this could be a part of her plan to gain attention. I’m so torn…
There may be quite a few posts coming to this blog this weekend. I have a couple of days off from work and so much has happened and there’s soo much I want to talk about (BLM, Racism, JJ Vallow and Tylee Ryan, Corona Virus, my new house, my new job, life…). I am apologizing in advance for all of the notifications you could possibly be getting this weekend.
Disclaimer: This is bare-bones explanation of this story. Honestly, there could probably be a novel written about all of the skeletons in this family’s closet, but the most important pieces are here. For the purpose of this story, I have not shared the name of the child which I speak. He is no longer legally their child and thus, being a minor, I did not want to post the child’s name on this blog.
I’ve long since had issues with ‘family vloggers’ and people who use their children to make them money on YouTube. It’s one thing to call yourself an influencer and use YouTube to broadcast every aspect of your own life, but it’s a completely separate thing to do that to your child.
A child doesn’t get a say in the matter. A child doesn’t have the frame of reference to understand the ramifications of a digital footprint when they’re eight, for example. Children also (largely) aren’t paid for the work they’re doing to make their parents wealthy via YouTube. Because, if we’re being completely honest, these parents, without the adorable kids doing funny things, would be rather boring and no one would tune in. Parents know their children are click-bait to the masses and they take advantage of that, subsequently not giving their children a dime in the process.
Insert the Stauffer Family.
Myka and James Stauffer have come under fire recently for FINALLY acknowledging to the world that they have ‘unadopted’ their adopted special needs son from China. The phrase they used was ‘rehoming’. But let’s be real here, this isn’t a pet. This is a living, breathing human child who has now been abandoned again. Yeah, the term abandoned is a much better term for it.
It’s estimated that dissolution of adoption happens in roughly 10% of adoptive cases in the United States (Source: Children’s Welfare Information Gateway) So, an adoption not working out is not a new concept. Why then, have the Stauffer’s made international headlines?
After being relatively anonymous in the YouTube spectrum for nearly a decade, The Stauffer’s adopted a special needs child from China and brought him to the United States in 2017. They proceeded to film every aspect of their lives with new adopted son and upload videos to YouTube for profit ever since. These videos of their adoptive child have made them rich. Rich, rich, rich, rich, rich. They skyrocketed from 4,000 subscribers to millions of subscribers amassed from five different YouTube channels. They found a ‘niche’ that people couldn’t help but tune in for, and they exploited it. That niche being a little orphan boy with a beautiful smile and rambunctious personality. People genuinely fell in love with their son and they knew that… and they took advantage of that.
At best, what you could call this is child exploitation. At worst, this story really borderlines on child trafficking, if we’re being totally honest. They built a wealthy empire upon the likes of this child for three years and then, when they decided he was no longer profitable, they put him into foster care.
Backtracking a little bit here, Myka has been trying to become famous through YouTube for more than a decade. She tried fitting into the ‘hot girl with the amazing diet tips’ niche and that didn’t work. She tried fitting into the ‘I’m going to teach you how to cook’ niche and that didn’t take either. She also had her go at the ‘Single Mom, doing it on my own’ niche, but quickly pivoted when she met and married her now husband in a rather swift time frame.
After marrying her husband and quickly having her second child, Myka and James began documenting every step of their lives and their children’s lives on Youtube in 2013. They lead a very modest life, went on to have a third child and documented every single step of it on YouTube, amassing only 4,000 subscribers between 2013 and late 2016.
In late 2016, Myka started an adoption series on her YouTube channel. She had decided that she wanted to adopt and that she wanted to adopt right away. Apparently god had called her to adopt and she needed another child in her life immediately.
Because she had no issues with fertility, three young children and she and her husband were unwilling to adopt an older child, they sought to adopt from overseas. She is on video stating that she specifically chose China as the country to adopt a child from because it would allow her to adopt a child the fastest.
Prior to even adopting her son, she made a 13 part series all about him, how she literally picked him from a catalogue and how he was now her son who she’d ‘birthed in her heart’. It was all very sweet, very hertfelt, very saviouristic.
She took the thirteen part series to explain that the child that her and her husband wished to adopt was one with special needs. He was living in an Orphanage in China, was nearly two years old and (they were told) he had a brain tumor.
Myka also took the thirteen part series to explain that she had this child’s medical records reviewed by doctors in the United States and that the doctors here had warned her about adopting him because his prognosis was quite severe and could cause for around the clock care.
Myka, again on video, said ‘I used to be a nurse before becoming a stay at home mom, so whatever it is, we can handle it’.
Myka and James subsequently used a GoFundMe campaign to raise the funds to adopt their son from China. Though they did not need the money for the adoption, they were happy to essentially ‘crowdfund’ to pay for the process because… why not? The GoFundMe actually garnered the family a lot of attention and the couple were touted as incredible saviours for rescuing this boy from life in a Chinese orphanage.
While the adoption process was still going through, they were already showing photos and video footage of their to-be son for the world to see. And, when they brought him home, their YouTube channel skyrocketed.
Their ‘Gotcha Day’ video they uploaded of the day they picked their son up and he legally became theirs garnered more than 5,000,000 views and was monetized up the whazoo.
And, after they brought him home, they filmed his every move. His every struggle with adopting to a new life in the USA, his trauma from being torn from his home country, his adapting to a new family he didn’t know, they put it all out there. They did it because it got them attention, it got them views and it grew the balance of their bank account.
Keep in mind here, Myka had three biological children and this adopted child from China was responsible for the majority of the content on her YouTube channel. She wrote articles for Bump Magazine, was featured in People Magazine and got a lot of national attention because she was this incredible mom who rescued this boy from China, knowing he had a brain tumor, to give him a better life.
Along the way, Myka and James learned that it wasn’t a brain tumor their son was suffering from. Rather, once reaching the United States, he was diagnosed with Autism. Myka quickly took the opportunity to become the ‘autism mom’ and ‘autism advocate for youtube’ despite the fact that she clearly knew nothing about autism.
People started to notice a change in this family. While everyone were tuning in to see this adorable little boy, the family took to exploiting him for each diagnosis he was given, for every struggle that he had. At one point he was seen on one of their YouTube videos with his thumbs duct taped. Myka later explained in a comment that she did that because they were annoyed that he would not stop sucking his thumb. The channel became more about this little boy and less about the family.
Don’t get me wrong, if you look at her YouTube channel, she did upload other content from time to time… including ‘What I eat in a day to stay skinny’ and ‘Cleaning the whole house because it’s a disaster’, but none of those videos ever garnered the views that her adopted son was getting. So, she continued exploiting him.
Adoption updates. Autism updates. [Son’s Name] first therapy session. Celebrating Chinese New Year for [Sons’s Name]. All of these videos were centered around him. Why? Because people tuned into her channel to see him. They wanted to see him grow, flourish and become his own person. They wanted the best for him. The views turned into big bucks for this family.
Between 2017 and 2020, the Stauffer’s also proclaimed they were going to adopt another child from China because they loved their son so much and wanted to rescue another boy. Also during this time, they went on to have another biological child, meaning that they had four biological children and one adopted child.
Between 2017 to 2020, Myka’s channel grew from 4,000 subscribers to more than 700,000 subscribers. The family vlog channel grew to 350,000 subscribers and her husband’s YouTube channel grew to nearly a million YouTube subscribers. They bought a 6,4000 square foot million dollar hom and multiple $90,000 SUVs, took vacations to California and Flordia, Myrtle Beach, London and more… staying in swanky hotels along the way. They were ‘living the life’ all because they were the saviours of this adorable little boy.
It’s worth noting here that after seeing doctors in the United States, their son was diagnosed as being non-verbal autistic. So he largely did not speak. That didn’t stop the family from click-baiting multiple videos with titles like [Son’s Name] Finally Speaks, we’re so happy! and so on and so forth.
They knew what was making their money, so they kept it up for clicks.
All of the sudden in January 2020, this little boy seemingly disappeared. For a woman who’d been exploiting his every move, every tantrum, every struggle, every doctor’s appointment, every piece to his life since 2017, it was odd… to say the least.
Where did he go?
People asked for months.
People asked and comments were deleted.
People emailed and were hit with responses from the Stauffer’s lawyers.
People commented on their YouTube channel and they got blocked.
Where was their son?
The couple went on a luxury several week long vacation in February to Indonesia and boasted on social media about staying in a room that cost $9,000 a night.
But where was their little boy?
All of their biological children were still appearing in videos, but their adopted son was… gone?
No one knew. Every time someone kept asking, they would get blocked.
Screenshots started to circulate of the Stauffer’s complaining about their adopted son on adoption forums. (Probably wasn’t the wisest thing for them to use their real names to complain about their adopted son given the YouTube fame they’d skyrocketed into)
Footed started to circulate of Myka being really sinister towards their adopted son and people who were sharing them were getting letters/dms and emails from the Stauffer’s lawyers.
Where was this little boy?
Well, his birthday is June 1. And, as the majority of their following really started to realize he was missing and had been for a long time, getting closer to his birthday the questions started ramping up. They were getting so frequent that the couple couldn’t possibly delete/block everyone fast enough.
On May 26 the Stauffer’s uploaded a video to Myka’s channel explaining that they had ‘rehomed’ their adopted son. They fake cried throughout the video, had disingenuous jump-cuts and proclaimed that they couldn’t tell anyone they abandoned their son because of his privacy. They also proclaimed that they were lied to by the adoption agency and the Chinese government about the extent of their son’s special needs and that numerous doctors had told them to put their son up for adoption.
The whole video was incredibly contrived. Nothing about it was genuine.
Let’s keep in mind here that ‘god called on her’ to adopt a child with special needs. Let’s also remember that doctors warned her about the severity of this boy’s special needs and she is on video stating that it ‘went in one ear and out the other’ because she was a nurse and she could handle it.
Let’s also keep in mind here that they were on video proclaiming that they couldn’t afford the cost of his therapy, whilst also bragging on Instagram about staying in a $9,000 a night hotel room in Indonesia and living in a multi-million dollar home wearing a $10,000 watch on her hand…
Everything about this story just disheartens and disappoints me to my core.
Honestly, people struggle for years to try and adopt. They have to go through home studies and family vetting, have every aspect of their lives combed through to ensure they’re a safe fit and a good family to care for the child they’re adopting. And rightfully so. But there are so many people who try so hard to adopt a child and hit continuous roadblocks. Somehow, this couple, with a criminal past, managed to jump through all of the hoops of an international adoption within a matter of a few months to bring home a little boy from China.
The crowdfunded his adoption, exploited his life every step of the way and, when he was no longer profitable to them, they ‘rehomed’ him.
Imagine what it would feel like, psychologically speaking, to be one of the other four siblings in that home who this year just watched their parents give away one of their children. They’re all under the age of ten, and probably so young that they could be wondering if they screw up next, will their mom and did abandon them…
Knowing that the announcement of their ‘rehoming’ their son was going to get them a lot of views, they selected to have the video monetized on YouTube. It was quickly demonetized, I’m not sure if that was a YouTube choice or if someone reported their video as content that should not be monetized. It’s just telling of the parents that, after abandoning their son, they’re still choosing to profit from his story.
Myka Stauffer has also been filing copyright claims against people who’ve been using her video announcing the ‘rehoming’ of their son, as a measure to further profit from the story from content creators/people who are telling her story in a light that she might not like.
The adoption community is worried about whether or not China will penalize future adoptive parents who genuinely want to adopt because of the actions of the Stauffers.
The autism community is angry after all of her videos are being re-watched and scrutinized for her lack of empathy, acceptance of her child’s autism and willingness to help, care for or treat his needs
The general public (30,0000+) who enjoys watching family YouTube videos signed a ‘Change.Org’ petition to have her remove all images and videos of this little boy, since he is no longer legally their child and she has been still profiting off of videos and Instagram ads about him since abandoning him.
Myka has, since the video where she says she ‘rehomed’ her son, gone on to proclaim that the little boy, who is now five (was four at the time), expressed to them that he no longer wished to be a part of their family. She says that they unadopted him as per his wishes. When people called bullshit for that comment, she deleted it and had her lawyers send a statement regarding the child to major news outlets stating that the couple would no longer be speaking of this child.
Because when a non-verbal, autistic child says ‘Mommy I don’t like you I want a new mommy’ the obvious choice to make is to put your child up for adoption.
From my perspective, I can’t understand how a couple specifically seek out to adopt a child with special needs and then proclaim to millions of people that they unadopted your child because he had special needs. Those old videos still exist… the ones where they proclaim they specifically wanted a child with special needs. The videos where they proclaimed any and all special needs that could arise were fine with them because they could give a little boy a better life. With the sheer vastness of wealth they accrued in recent years, they could easily afford any and all treatments and therapy that would/could help the boy. (For reference, they’re on video bragging about making $47,000 for one YouTube video… so do the math there)
This whole situation just saddens me.
This little boy has now been abandoned three times in his short life. I can’t imagine the horror that must feel like. While he might just be better off without the Stauffers, I can’t help but feel sad because they did him so wrong.
I wanted to link to a few articles about this story, but the majority of articles use this little boys name and photos in their articles. If you want to read more about this story and this couple and why they’ve come under fire, please google ‘Myka and James Stauffer’.
They story hasn’t just made it all over national headlines in the USA, but it’s also made it to Chinese News Outlets, Australian news outlets, The Netherlands news outlets and more.
Honestly, after a decade of lying to the internet, there’s a pretty huge digital footprint from this family. One quick google search and you’ll start to realize that not everything is adding up about what they say on the matter.
I’ve heard it said that as many as 6 out of every 10 people really can’t tell the difference between if a photo is real or fake. As someone who has done a lot of photo manipulating in my day, I thought perhaps I’d take the opportunity to show some examples of fake, overly edited and unrealistic photos as a means to know what to look for.
If you know any of the people in this photos, please do not send them hate messages. The point of this post is not to bully, it’s just to share more insight on just how Instagram and reality aren’t always the same.
THE TAJ MAHAL
When I first saw this photo, the Instagrammer was claiming that she merely used a filter to give it a pink-tint, because she liked the look. The problem is, there’s a whole lot more that’s been done to this photo than just adding a filter.
Firstly, as one of the most visited, photographed and loved landmarks on earth, the Taj Mahal is crowded. All the time. Every day. Even on a slow day it’s 100% unlikely that she ever would have been able to take this photo with only her in this shot.
Secondly, the reflection of the Taj Mahal in the pool has been disproportionately scaled to fit in the pool. While it is possible to see a reflection of the structure in the pool, the width of the building and the angle of this shot make it virtually impossible for the entire Taj Mahal to be seen in the narrow pool.
Thirdly, note how the shadow of her standing in front of the pool is on the stone she’s standing on, but stops dead at the pool. Her reflection does not continue in the water… which is not really how reflection works, either.
This is a small thing, not noticed by simply looking at this photo alone, but this girl has actually photoshopped those birds, the exact cluster of birds, into several other photos from different locales around the world – the south of France, Venice, etc.. Moral of the story – there is more fake in this photo than real.
LAKE LOUISE, ALBERTA, CANADA
This photo, or photos, is at the Fairmont Lake Louise. This is a place I’ve been to many times in my life and can attest to its beauty, so when I see this photo, not only do I see a cringey photoshop job, but I also take a little bit of offense. Lake Louise is one of the most beautiful places on the planet, naturally. It doesn’t need to be edited.
Putting my personal feelings aside, do you notice how she seems to have a sort of ‘ethereal’ halo around her? When people are newbies at photoshop, that’s a trick they tend to use to try and help photos blend into the background. In her case, I think she likely thought because there was so much white in the background it wouldn’t look as obvious. You can also see the halo-like lighting at the top of the chair and all the way around the edge of the window frame.
Another thing to note is that she appears to be wearing a colour changing toque. This is a small thing but the back of her toque is pink and the front of her toque is grey. This happens a lot when you import a part of an image from elsewhere into a new image. In this case, I think she imported her body in front of this window.
While I think she likely ate at this restaurant when she was there, she likely wasn’t seated by a window. This restaurant books up months in advance, and since she couldn’t get a picture in front of a window, she photoshopped herself in front of the window, added some filters and then overly-saturated the two images to try and make them blend together easily.
IT’S PARIS… OR IS IT?
Have you ever seen stars in the middle of the city? No. There’s a reason for that, it’s called light pollution. When the light from a city brightens the sky, it drowns out the visibility of the stars.
This is Paris, the city love, the city of lights, with millions of lights everywhere… hundreds, if not thousands seen in this photo alone. The Eiffel tower itself is lit in this photo. There’s also lights lit all around the tower. And yet light pollution just didn’t happen on this day? A sky full of stars just magically appeared in a not very dark sky?
To me it looks like there’s been some stitching down around hear head, and also on her left leg. Those are more subtle.
Was she actually in Paris? Maybe. Maybe not. I’ve never been to the Eiffel Tower, so I cannot vouch as to whether or not this concrete she’s sitting on is in fact there. I will say though, this concrete she’s sitting on could really be anywhere. It could be in her back yard. The fact that she’s looking away means there really isn’t a lot involved with changing this photo to be San Francisco, or Hong Kong… or anywhere, if you catch my drift. If she wasn’t in Paris, all she really needed to do was drop Paris in the background. In her case, she also heavily edited the sky to fill it with stars so that her life looks even that much more magical.
It’s an illusion. It’s all an illusion.
THE ‘CLOUD CHASER’
Take a close look at the clouds in the background of these photos. This Instagram user has photoshopped the sky in every photo she’s taken, around the world, to put in clouds that she actually liked, because the actual clouds in the sky just weren’t good enough for her. That same cluster of clouds followed her around the world.
If someone is willing to go through the process to edit the clouds in the sky, what does that say about the authenticity of their Instagram?
HOW MANY HANDS DOES SHE HAVE?
Honestly, the Kardashians are easy to use for showcasing photo editing fails because there aren’t really any photos they post without editing.
Editing of this photo was clearly done in FaceTune. If you don’t notice the flaw immediately, that’s okay. It’s subtle on first glance. But look at the hand on the right side of Khloe Kardashian, she seems to have tried to pull in her thigh to make it look thinner, and in the process, created a second hand… or at least 1.5 hands. The thing about FaceTune that people often forget is that when the APP disrupts the data to make someone thinner, it’s going to try and fix that data by re-writing the background of the photo. In this case, her hand ended up getting duplicated.
WHEN YOUR THIGH IS THINNER THAN YOUR KNEE
Either her left leg (the underneath leg) is considerably longer and thinner than her right leg (disproportionately so) or, this is a bad photoshop job. Now, this is Kourtney Kardashian, who in my opinion needs no photoshopping to start with. This photo is just all sorts of weird. It seems to give the illusion that her left thigh gets thinner as yo move farther up from her knee. For a woman who’s already very thin to start with, it’s sad that she feels she needs to be this heavily edited in order to be posted for public consumption.
Things to look for:
If you’re browsing Instagram and something seems to good to be true, it probably is. I want to disclaim that, to the people who feel a need to edit their photos there is no hate here. I just want to make people more aware of just how easy it is to fake reality. If we all know the truth behind what a photo really is, we might stop trying so hard to make our lives a series of these picture perfect images. If you’re curious about how to tell for editing, here’s couple of suggestions to look for:
Everything in the photo is in focus. Camera’s aren’t capable of capturing both the subject in the foreground and the objects in the background to all be in focus in one photo.
Copied patterns. This doesn’t just happen with the sky, this happens with human body parts. Fitness influencers are big for this – not only do they photoshop their muscles, but they’ll photoshop the muscles of anyone in the photo with them. If you’ve ever seen a group of men flexing their biceps that all seem to look shockingly similar, it’s probably because they are.
Blurriness or lack of texture is a telltale sign that someone’s face has been smoothed over with a FaceTune filter. Human beings have pores, texture and colouring in their skin. If you’re not seeing it in photos, that’s not because they were blessed by the genetic lottery, that’s because they edited it out.
Damaged/Distorted Pixels. If you’re looking at a photo and there appears to be damaged pixels within the image, this is a telltale sign of poor editing. There’s something in photoshop called the ‘Clone Stamp’ and what that does is allow you to draw over portions of an image with the pixels from elsewhere in the image. The process of clone stamping works great if you’re not looking closely at an image, but, if you’re taking a second look, the clone stamp ALWAYS damages pixels in the photograph. Once those pixels are damaged, you can’t get them back.
When the reflection doesn’t match the body. While people will make their waist thinner, legs longer, boobs bigger and so on and so forth, the majority of people seem to forget about their reflection. If there’s anything reflective in the photo at all – mirrors, windows, any body of water, shadows from the sun, check the reflection. Often times the reflection will be a display of their original image that they were trying to edit out.
A distorted background. Probably the most easy of all to spot, crooked doors, lamp posts with holes in them, clean lines of walls and paintings being off are all telltale signs the photo you’re looking at isn’t legitimate. When people try to make themselves look thinner in photos, these apps they use ‘pull in’ their body. When their body is pulled in, so is the background behind them – which makes for a whole lot of cars with protruding lesions and benches that seem to defy the laws of physics.
To anyone who doesn’t already know (I’m assuming everyone does, but just in case) any and all photos you’re viewing on Instagram from your phone can be zoomed in by pinching the screen of your phone. If you’re not on your phone, or you’re elsewhere on the web and something looks off, it probably is. You can zoom in on any photo on the internet by changing the view of your Internet Browser.
To close this off, I’d just like to say that… life is a very beautiful and fragile thing and that who you are is perfect, just the way you are. If you do edit yourself in photos for your Instagram, that’s your choice, but please, at the very least, keep the real versions for yourself. There’s nothing worse than looking back at photos of your life and realizing that they’re so heavily edited you don’t even recognize yourself. It almost… distorts your memories, if that makes any sense.
There’s no hate. I just want to remind people that Instagram and reality aren’t one and the same.
This whole industry of Influencers that has popped up in the past 10 years (mostly the last five), it really grinds my gears. I’ve mentioned it a few times on my blog before (here and here and I guess here too).
People all over the world are using their good looks and charm to influence others into taking advantage of people, doing stupid things, or becoming a slave to a corporate entities who give little to no value for their actual products being promoted. I’m talking about you EVERY DETOX TEA ON THE MARKET and anyone who promotes them.
I hate the term Influencer because I’m of the belief that someone who actually uses their influence for good would never want to claim the title of ‘Influencer’. A true Influencer is not a clout chaser, they don’t need the title for validation. This internet breed of Influencer’s we’ve created ourselves (yes, we created them… gave them platforms and are the reason they’re sitting in multi-million dollar mansions wearing 50,000 dollar fur coats) are money hungry, vain and vapid.
As you can tell, I’m not a fan of the industry.
So, I was really unimpressed when I saw a video today of Jamie Zhu, an Australian ‘Influencer’ who posted a video to YouTube with the title ‘How to fly business class for FREE!’
Free, you say? I’d love to travel the world, though I’d never assume that I’d get business class tickets for free. Tell me more, Jamie Zhu. How exactly does this work?
The entire video breeds ‘I’m a smug asshole’ vibes throughout. Jamie goes to the airport Pharmacy, buys a ‘moon boot’ for ankle/foot injuries and wears it onto the plane to then put on a show about how his ankle boot doesn’t fit in the seat and exclaim that he needs a new seat because he has a broken ankle and can’t take the boot off.
Not only does he get upgraded to a first class seat, but he takes the fucking boot off his foot the moment he does. He continues on the video playing up the smug asshole persona throughout and, at the end of the video, walks off the plane without the moon boot as though nothing ever happened.
I’ve never heard of this dude before today, but apparently he’s quite popular in some circles. He has more than 700,000 YouTube subscribers, and this video has been watched more than 150,000 times. I have so many thoughts. Sooooooooooooooo many thoughts.
I don’t buy it. I don’t think this is real. I think he bought and upgrade his seat and put on a show for the clout that he could get on YouTube with this video.
Of the 150,000 people who’ve seen this video, how many of them do you think are naive enough to try this? Using your YouTube channel and influence to promote fraudulent behaviour is not just reprehensible it should be punishable. If nothing else, he should be blocked from flying with this airline anymore.
If this video is real, I really hope someone from this airline has seen it and is considering (if they haven’t already) banning him from being able to fly with them.
Using a disability, even a temporary one at that, is not something that people do to get free fucking stuff. Anyone who has a disability, temporary or permanent can attest. What was one here is insulting.
This also poses a risk of really harming people who have legitimate disabilities because people will watch videos like this and stop believing them.
Using a platform of 700,000 plus people to promote fraudulent behaviour and showcase what a smug asshole you are is a large part of the reason why Influencer culture is so toxic and why your industry is KILLING businesses small and large around the world.
The fact that YouTube hasn’t demonetized this video is part of the reason why I have such issues with YouTube. This idiot is continuing to make ad revenue from people watching this video. Dear Youtube, SHUT THIS SHIT DOWN.
Honestly, I could rant on and on about this. And I probably shouldn’t have even linked his video in this post to start with, because he’s not worth the video getting more views. I get that.
If you do happen to see the video thanks to this post, please don’t be mean. I think more could be done if perhaps you could click to report it? Maybe if enough people report it to YouTube, they might demonetize it? Likely not, but a girl can dream. And, if you’re feeling really motivated, maybe you can share his video to Cathay Pacific. They have various Social Media Platforms which you can reach out to, and an email address on their website here. (Scroll down to the bottom and you’ll see the Icons) If it is a legitimate video in which he scammed them for a first class seat, then they should see it. And, if enough people send it to them, perhaps it might make it to the right person who needs to watch it.