What This Computer-Generated Instagrammer Tells Us About Social Media

In 2018, I think its fair to say that Instagram has fully infiltrated every aspect of our lives. Selena Gomez has 134 million Instagram followers, that’s over twice the number of people living in the whole of the United Kingdom. Kylie Jenner’s pregnancy video has 80 million views and counting and effectively shut down the internet upon its release. People are making a well-paid living from selling gummy hair vitamins and protein powders to their internet masses while the term ‘influencer’ has become a part of our everyday vocabulary. There’s no escaping Instagram even if we wanted to. But how much of it is real?

With the rise of Instagramming as a business, the stakes of each Instagram post are higher. No longer are people simply taking a picture on a whim, but rather take 100 possible options before narrowing it down to one that perfectly fits your Instagram theme after its five different filters and a layer of Facetune have been applied. I don’t blame anyone for this – I’m definitely guilty of this narcissism myself – it’s necessary to keep up. I’ll often spend hours trawling through Instagram from one model’s page to another, drooling over their perfect life, perfect outfits and effortless candids. And this is how I stumbled across the account: ‘@lilmiquela’.


Mood after watching 15 videos straight on @ifyouhigh

A post shared by *~ MIQUELA ~* (@lilmiquela) on

I proceeded to spend about 10 minutes scrolling through the Instagram page in disbelief. “Is this girl real? She can’t be she’s too perfect. But this looks so real? What?!” From her outfits to her captions she was like any other Instagram influencer I’d come across. Miquela going to see Black Panther, Miquela eating brunch, Miquela posing at the beach. It’s the same content as everyone else. But what sets this account apart is the fact that Michaela is computer generated. Her glamorous Instagram life and all the pictures of it are fabricated and her 648,000 followers are essentially keeping up to date with a simulation. This started to make me think, if I (and thousands of others) can lust over the style, the looks and the lifestyle of a computer generated It-girl, what does this show about Instagram in our society?

Instagram, Miquela shows us, is all an elaborate façade. From the poses of her pictures that are almost exact replicas of those by thousands of other fashion bloggers, to the understated coolness of her captions, to the trends she follows like any other teen influencer, Miquela shows us just how orchestrated our Instagram aesthetics have become. We all know candids aren’t really candids, and this account proves it. There’s a formula to Instagram fame, and this account has it solved.


cheesin

A post shared by *~ MIQUELA ~* (@lilmiquela) on

What she also shows us is how our standards of what we should be in real life have been seriously warped by Instagram. Many wouldn’t hesitate to compare themselves to the Kardashians or an Instagram model, belittling themselves in the process. @lilmiquela shows us we shouldn’t think that way, because our human Instagram accounts are just as fake as hers. Everyone’s Instagram is a highlight reel of their best, most-photogenic moments… an Instagram of you crying into a pot of Ben and Jerry’s post-breakup just wouldn’t make the final cut. Our imperfections simply don’t make it into the virtual world, and our perfectly engineered it-girl shows us this. So, as much as the uncanny valley nature of this simulated Instagrammer admittedly freaked me out, through @lilmiquela we can see that it’s not actually this account we should be finding weird, but our perception that the fabricated world of Instagram has anything to do with reality.