My recent realisation about how consumed people are getting over social media happened as a result of a situation I was faced with.
Several individuals who have started up their own businesses in the Tamil community, especially in the realm of fashion and beauty, use social media widely to promote their brand. I think it is definitely a brilliant tool to use to promote brands because of how broad the audience is.
However, a recent encounter made me realise how people are getting engulfed by social media, and particularly Instagram. Let me describe what this was. There have been an influx of shoots taking place where several stylists, make-up artists, saree and jewellery vendors get together to showcase their products via photos and videos which can then be shared extensively across social media. I am not criticising the intentions behind it at all, because that is exactly what businesses need to do to promote their brand and help it grow.
What did make my blood crawl (quite literally) was that I was approached by one of these vendors to come along to one of these shoots. I am a dancer and I have been using social media to showcase my dance work. Therefore, naturally I thought that I was probably needed to choreograph a video shoot, or something along those lines. But no… wait for it…
The reason they wanted me there was to plaster all over my social media (my Insta story and insta feed) that such a shoot was taking place, because I have an active followership. They wanted as many people to come together to plaster all over social media, so the shoot could get a buzz on social media.
I was not available for the date anyway so I did not commit to it. Nonetheless, after a few weeks I started to think more about this. This is what cross my mind:
Do I look like a joke? I have built myself as a dancer through years of training. I found it so disrespectful and to be very honest very disheartening that people will do shoots just for social media and to create a buzz. That is exactly how it came across to me. I am all for promotion if the intentions are right. If I believe in a product or brand, then I will of course promote it without a doubt. However, to ask a person (me) who does not even belong in the fashion industry to come along so I can stand around and be on my phone to record and post on my insta story came across as very desperate to me.
I apologise to all those who genuinely do such shoots for the sole purpose of building their brand and using it to build their portfolio. Building a portfolio can be done through several avenues, but it has become so easy to rely solely on social media. That is wrong.
Let me conclude with a message to all vendors. This may come across as a harsh blog. Yes it is. I was hurt. Very hurt.
I love photoshoots, so this is nothing against the industry at all. I have previously modelled for my friend’s fashion line, and looking at all these shoots inspires me to think further about my own fashion. I like engaging with genuine shoots with an intention to inspire people. I do not like engaging with shoots which are merely done for a social media buzz. There is a fine but important line to draw.
Every time anyone does a shoot now, think about why they are doing it. If anyone wants their brand to last, they cannot just merely rely on impressing people. If this the case then social media is being misused. Whatever type of brand it may be, think about how it can be escalated to a level where it is positively impacting people.
Sorry about the rant guys x