Remember me when you’re famous

Social media users find ways to grow followers


Living among us, often unrecognized in, a select few choose to wield the double-edged sword of social media fame. In order to “achieve their dreams” and build a social influencer brand, these students endure the conflicts, hassles and expectations of satisfying their thousands of followers watching their every move through social media platforms such as Instagram and YouTube.

As the world becomes more connected through social media, those who aspire to be branded influencers do whatever it takes to make themselves stand out from the crowd.

Sophomore Matt Parr (@mparrc) has 16,200 followers on Instagram, and he attributes this to many things, one being the business partnership he shares with his friend, sophomore Gio Piloto (@papitogiooo) who has a current follower count of 12,400.

Through creative marketing and extensive picture taking, both Piloto and Parr have strived to reach a significant audience through different forms of media content, including viral videos, rap covers, and modeling.                  

Alternatively sophomore Josie Bomba  (@josefinabomba) who has 2,300 followers on Instagram, said that, “I’ve done some shout-outs, but I’m really not that into self promotion.”

Similarly freshman Barbara Cullen, with 3,244 followers on Instagram said “I don’t even know how I got this many followers really.”

However, to get to numbers like Piloto and Parr have done, self promotion turned out to be a significant factor.                                                                                                                                                           

“When we started out we didn’t think we’d get this big,” Piloto said. “Our goal was to hit 10k by senior year and here we are.”

Parr also said that using Instagrams’ promotions feature helped in their success.

“It’s basically a pay-for-exposure gig where followers offer shout-outs on their feeds and stories for a certain amount of time,” Parr said.

Although maintaining the impression that he has earned the majority of his followers on his own is important, Piloto concedes to the fact that promos are what helped boost his numbers by the thousands in just a few months.

“I got so popular I was actually able to start charging for my shout-outs, like people would pay me $10 to be on my story and $20 to be on my feed for 24 hours,” said Piloto. “I was making $150 a week.”

Parr also had a promo profit system where he charged $4 per story and $8 per feed post for 24 hours.

Through quick-money apps such as Cashapp, PayPal and Venmo, influencers like Piloto and Parr are able to earn cash and rewards from their followers and other aspiring influencers as well.

“We’ve actually pulled back from all the promos for  now,” Parr said. “They were starting to annoy our fans and we actually started to lose followers instead.”

The fickleness of the Internet can add extra stress to a student’s already heavy burden. For those who choose to live this double lifestyle, although the repercussions of maintaining the title “influencer” can come with costs, students who take part in the trend have different reasonings. Having a social media presence can be potentially beneficial, which in turns balances out the hassle of upkeeping with the public demand.

“I’m constantly checking my phone,” said Parr. “There’s always updates and honestly, sometimes it messes with my sleeping habits.”

For some, the prospects of creating a future career centered around their own schedule and relevancy seems appealing.

Piloto said, “I started all this with a couple viral videos and some freelance rapping but I plan on using my platform to go into some kind of entrepreneur business, something to do with online clothing retail most likely.”

Keeping in mind the nature of the internet Piloto adds, “ As long as I keep my followers active I think I’ll be able to make a living.”

Parr on the other hand has ambitions of pursuing a career in television acting and plans to use his social media presence to enhance his potential connections.

“It’s a really competitive field and I think being considered a relevant influencer will help get my name out there.” said Parr.

In the same sense, Bomba, said “I plan on continuing my Instagram aesthetic in order to jumpstart both my modeling debut and my YouTube channel.”

Although none of these career options fit the general outlook of a successful future, the rise of the social  influencer trend may very well “-change the course of consumers and producers and allow for alternative types of expression and career options to make some actual money.” said Piloto.