Every time I post a picture on Instagram, I lose hundreds of followers
It’s great for my self-esteem
by Lexi Harvey
In summer 2015, an Australian Instagram model went viral for writing honest captions on her Instas detailing how many shots each photo took and how long she would go without eating for each one.
I had my fair share of manipulated selfies so I decided to do the same thing, and to write an article about how my friends reacted. It went out and I didn’t think twice about it.
To say things snowballed would be…an understatement.
My article was picked up by the Daily Mail who twisted it more than a thong that’s been pulled up too many times.
*honest caption: I'm not always a fan of mirror selfies, I never feel like they show everything off in the right way, they feel too obviously staged. Often I rely instead on the timer on my phone, painstakingly propped up against a mountain of towels and washbags until I've achieved the perfect angle and I can start snapping away endless shots, altering my pose in minuscule ways until I'm finally happy. How ironic, then, that the final product turns out to be even more staged than a good old mirror selfie. While I never edit myself in photos (at least never more than a red eye correction or perhaps to cover up a blemish), I remember taking ages to reshape the hem of my dress, which was sticking out at a weird angle as a result of being pulled up to expose as much leg as possible. This is not a realistic representation.* #SocialMediaIsNotRealLife
They branded me an “Instagram model” (I fucking wish I was an Instagram model) who “faked nights out for likes” (I didn’t, but that’s another story which you can read all about in my comeback article if you fancy).
Lad Bible got hold of it, and it started to spread to official Snapchat stories and Instagram meme accounts.
My inbox flooded with messages from people I hadn’t spoken to in years, asking if I knew I was ‘famous’, and the Instagram notifications started coming in so thick and fast that my phone couldn’t keep up. My followers jumped from 500 to 10,000 practically overnight.
Obviously I had no choice but to get catastrophically drunk, half in celebration and half in HOLY-CRAP-what-have-I-DONE-quick-DRINK-AWAY-THE-FEAR.
The next day, I woke up to a life-ruiningly bad hangover and hundreds of mean comments about me splashed across the internet.
I took it surprisingly well, considering. Still, it was strange to sit in disbelief reading spirited debates between strangers in comment sections trying to decide whether or not my boobs were real (they are, I just got lucky).
I opened up Instagram to check out any new developments and felt strangely reassured by the surreal ‘10k’ at the top of my page.
I had posted a grainy selfie from the club toilets the night before, captioned with a drunken outpouring of gratitude to my new “fans”, and some of the comments were surprisingly lovely.
I'd just love to say a quick thank you to everyone who has followed me and everyone that has left me such lovely and supportive messages tonight! Unfortunately I'm out at the moment and my battery is running low so the best I can do is snap this very grainy pic and give you my heartfelt thanks. I will try and get back to you all in the morning, just know that your support is appreciated! Love, Lexi xoxo
I decided that no matter how mean the Daily Mail commenters were, at least I suddenly had a loyal army of fans. Plus we all know that serious Daily Mail readers are GARBAGE (I swear, I’m not bitter).
Unfortunately, fame is a fickle friend, and infamy is even worse.
Deterred by the haters, I decided to take a break.
I was understandably a little hesitant to post anything on Insta for a while for fear of waking the trolls, and thanks to some speedy weight gain and my face deciding it would quite like to develop psoriasis, I was even more apprehensive. I hid behind tanned and toned #tbts for a while, but there was only so long that could last.
So, after a brief hiatus, boobs under wraps and more than a few pounds heavier (mental illness sucks, amirite guys), I started posting selfies again, and my follower count plummeted.
The reason was immediately clear. I knew that most of my new followers were of a questionable sort because droves of classic ladz were literally commenting on my instas ‘Lad Bible brought me here’.
I also knew that they had come for one thing, and one thing only; the skinny blonde girl who was not afraid to flaunt her seemingly enhanced cleavage.
Alas, I was not that person any more. A fun cocktail of fame-induced insecurity and myriad anxiety disorders had left me a shell of my former self, afraid to flaunt the gals. The new, unimproved me posted nothing but face shots, not a tit in sight.
I watched, helpless, as my follower count dropped below the 10k mark, back into the four-digit realm reserved for half-assed fan accounts and cats that aren’t so inbred they’re weirdly cute.
I told myself that the weak ones were being weeded out and that I would be left with a legion of true stans, but over a year later I still lose hundreds of followers every time I post.
This one lost me 200 followers.
I’m not going to lie, it’s a little soul crushing posting a selfie and seeing the number drop. I could easily let it get to me.
But I won’t.
Because I know that the loserz who unfollow me on the daily are Lad Bible readers (lol) who came for the boobs and nothing else.
I know that the haters only see what has changed, and not the reason behind it.
And I know that my self-worth cannot be reflected by a number on an app.
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