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Shit Bloggers Post is making me wonder whether Instagram originality is dead

IMAGES VIA @BRITTANYXAVIER, @__mmaxinewylde, @maggie_mccormack, @nicole_wongg, @emmaleger, @matildadjerf/INSTAGRAM

WORDS BY MAGGIE ZHOU

“But it was my idea first.”

Bed sheets as picnic blankets, aerobic mirror selfies with one leg straight in the air, spray-foamed mirrors, close-up shots of Byredo’s dubiously named Gypsy Water perfume, linen pastel dresses hung up on a clothesline, baskets of strawberries. 

Instagram is a microcosm of trends – we’ve seen cottagecore reign free and name matching memes have had their moment in the spotlight – but whatever the latest double-tappable craze is, there’s one thing that binds them all together: a lack of originality.  

Shit Bloggers Post is an Instagram account that pokes fun at the repetitious aesthetics of Instagram culture. Each of its carousel posts features photos from multiple influencers that are so bizarrely similar, it’s almost doppelgänger worthy. It reposts the latest poses, outfits, locations and foods of choice (most recently oysters and ice-cream) seen on influencers’ feeds worldwide.

It’s tongue-in-cheek and playful, accompanied by irreverent captions and commentary. Some Instagrammers have embraced this self-appointed watchguard account, regularly tagging Shit Bloggers Post in their own on-trend photos.

Ironically, Shit Bloggers Post’s feed is itself a perfectly balanced aesthetically-pleasing grid, one that many budding content creators would salivate over. 

 

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on saturdays we do laundry and on sundays we churn butter 🧈

A post shared by shit bloggers post (@shitbloggerspost) on

The changing appetite for ‘real’ content

In 2020, it seems we’ve made a 180-degree turn from the heydays of blogging (when blogging, you know, actually included a blog). Back then, DSLRs were the weapon of choice, bird’s-eye view flat lays of food required standing on chairs at cafes, and VSCO filters were generously splashed out on every photo. 

It’s common to now hear exclamations of praise and gushes of, “Instagram is becoming so real and candid.” But even though the relevant tools and output may have changed, Shit Bloggers Post makes it clear that when it comes to mainstream, popular content, Instagram hasn’t come quite so far. 

The glorification of opulence and the narrow definitions of beauty and success are still there, they’ve just been dressed down and disguised in ripped jeans and pastel tie-dye sweatshirts. The allure of fame and affluence still remain, but it’s now painted as ‘accessible’ through the lens of blurry iPhone photos and candid photos at the grocery store. 

 

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orange juice 🧃

A post shared by Jacquie Alexander (@jacquiealexander) on

Shit Bloggers Post makes it easy to see through these attempts at relatability. Low and high culture are merged seamlessly on an influencer’s page – one minute they’ll be sipping on a homemade coffee, next they’ll be parading around in Chanel dad sandals

But while influencer culture may seem more attainable than ever before, this aura of relatability can be milked as a marketing technique. We’ve collectively grown tired of extravagant celebrity culture; influencers know this and have had to pivot their content.  

The fine line between imitation and inspiration

The unrealistic expectations that Instagram facilitates are nothing new. The owner of Shit Bloggers Post, who wishes to remain anonymous, approaches this with understanding. 

“There’s an old saying that ‘everything has been done before’ so there’s not any judgement placed on bloggers recreating trendy content. We just also happen to find it quite comical and, apparently, so do a lot of the bloggers.”

There’s a saying by Oscar Wilde: “Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery”. The quote usually stops there, when in actuality the sentence continues: “that mediocrity can pay to greatness.” 

Copyright law in Australia is seemingly straightforward – when you independently create something, its rights are automatically granted to you, no registration is needed. But in the melting pot of Internet content, the fine line between imitation and inspiration is constantly blurred.

It’s common to see Instagrammers stealing photos from other creators. Under the facade of creating a ‘vibe’, filler pics are used to create a more balanced feed as they space out their posts – think lifestyle shots of the sky, books and accessories. 

Integrity, it seems, is secondary. Credit is sometimes omitted, as Instagrammers try to pawn off these images as their own, or a hasty “via @pinterest” is added to the end of a caption, a clear sign that a simple Google reverse image search wasn’t undertaken to find and credit the original creator.

Creating content isn’t even essential to being a creator anymore. Empires have been built by curating other people’s content, like fashion inspiration platform @unreaping, politically informative resource @impact and 2000s nostalgia account @doyoulovethe2000s.  

A dwindling sense of original style

As spotlighted on Shit Bloggers Post, you’ll probably come across (if you haven’t already) this With Jean floral halter neck, this intricate wrap top, or these floral knickers on your Instagram feed. It may be that these influencers all have strikingly similar taste. They might be influencing one another to purchase the same items. Or it could be the result of brands sending out PR gifts en masse, to influencers who all end up wearing the exact same item. 

 

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could do 10 more posts about this top, but u get it

A post shared by shit bloggers post (@shitbloggerspost) on

Call it good marketing or lazy fashion blogging, but influencers have a lot to answer for when it comes to the unsustainable take-make-dispose model of fast fashion. More than half of UK shoppers believe that social media influencers are responsible for the increase of fast fashion, a Fashion Retail Academy survey found last year.

Personalities are what actually influence

More than just selfies or fashion advice, personalities are what really drive influencers to actually influence. YouTube, which often provides more intimate parasocial relationships, is a platform where 70 per cent of users identify more with its creators than with TV or movie stars.

 

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summer’s hottest new accessory

A post shared by shit bloggers post (@shitbloggerspost) on

“In my opinion, personalities often drive aesthetics and trends. A very well-liked and admired influencer say, post[ed] a strawberry image, other influencers [took it as inspiration and] ran with it,” says Shit Bloggers Post.

In Australia, we can see this play out before our eyes. Jadé Tuncdoruk, a Sydney-based fashion and lifestyle influencer with almost half a million followers, has a second account, @therealjadetunchy

 

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At home with @Dior part 2 🤍 #Dior

A post shared by Jadé Tuncdoruk (@jadetunchy) on

While her primary account prides itself on its beige hues and luxury fashion items, her second account, which is basically a very public finsta, is full of hilarious videos, unedited selfies and unflattering moments. With 185, 000 followers, this shitposting account racks up more engagement than her main, heavily curated feed. 

It shows there’s a deeper desire for content that can’t be neatly reposted by accounts like Shit Bloggers Post. While there can be endless shots of sliced strawberries, influencers who know how to draw on what makes them uniquely themselves are the ones who flourish beyond the digital space. 

 

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2020 is the year of unfriending everyone I don’t remember on Facebook

A post shared by Jade Tunchy (@therealjadetunchy) on

Similarly, we know and love Flex Mami not only for her flawless fashion taste and delectable décor but for her quick wit and tell-it-as-it-is attitude. Ex-Bachelor contestant Abbie Chatfield has also garnered thousands of fans from her relatable overshares, thirst traps with a message, and for not taking herself too seriously.

While Shit Bloggers Post is there to lovingly poke fun at the monotonous churn of Instagram content, there is a growing number of influencers who choose to think outside the traditional Instagram square box. There are scores of BIPOC beauty influencers, slow fashion grammers, thought leaders and activists finding huge audiences on the app. 

All that said, can someone still send me the recipe for these floral cakes?

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