“A Photogenic location – Your Instagram would look great with the snaps from here!”
You may have seen such a catchphrase on the advertisement of shops and locations these days. It is apparently because many Instagram users look for more ‘Likes’ and ‘Followers’ on their accounts. Especially for those so-called “influencers”, who have large numbers of audience members for their Social Media activities. Even though I am usually a stranger to such a world, I coincidentally got a chance to get a glimpse of it.
Tokyo Ice Cream Land was the stage.
The Tokyo Photogenic team collaborated with an Instagramer, Nano, and created the land of ice cream for the purpose of making cute and fun photo-shooting spots for IG lovers and influencers. I was originally there to take snap pictures of my friend who was a staff member working at the event and often is a model for my photography work; but the occasion became a perfect chance for myself to get exposed to the world of popular instagrammers…
1. The Main and Only Focus is on Taking Cute Selfies
Of course, it is everything about me. Instagrammers were there to take their photogenic pictures, and everyone was fully aware of it; so, the volunteer staffs were actively offering to become the visitors’ photographers. Some photo-shooting booths even had special camera hung from the ceiling, which allowed the models to take snaps by themselves but in a high quality. Apparently, influencers get to use the advanced technology!
2. You Hear Kawaii Everywhere
You say it, and they say it too. Because the entire event venue was created to be photogenic, everything in your sight looks absolutely cute! The interesting part was that you could distinguish the people there by who or what they said “Kawaii” (cute) at. The normal visitors said it for almost everything; from the ice cream shaped balloons to the models posing at the booth. Meanwhile, the influencers were just focused on themselves and verbally expressed their excitement only to their companies and the cute items. Maybe that was natural in the world of fame and popularity…
3. Some Influencers are Living for Their Followers
Heyy, what do you think? Do we look cute? There were two girls who stood out in the crowd. They were twinning, wearing very girly and fluffy dresses with matching twintails – they somehow looked like the friends of Hello Kitty or Little Twin Stars. What struck me about them was their live show. The “twin” girls were broadcasting their whole experience at the Tokyo Ice Cream Land to their followers, even when they were just queuing in a line to take a photo. Filming themselves waiting for their turn. Most shockingly, their show was continuing after the event. I happened to spot them broadcasting in front of a convenience store, showing what they just bought. Personally, that picture made me want to ask them one simple question, “where is your SNS-Life balance?”
4. You Get Products for Free
(with people assuming that you are an influencer on SNS)
Oh, please take this…and this… and that! Just my being there seemed to have made the staff think that I had some influence on social media. So they gave me free skincare products and packs of fruit-flavored Green juice. Imagining getting free items all the time for just promoting them casually, I thought being an influencer may be a solid business for some people. Thanks Tokyo Photogenic team, I at least shared the products with my family!
Related to the SNS-Life balance, GQ Japan magazine shared an interesting story in their December 2017 issue. It was a feature on 12 online influencers with 300K followers on the average.
While many of them are semi-professional in the field of fashion and entertainment, some are totally normal people like the elderly couple of Bon and Pon who have gained over 570K followers with their everyday couple-pictures. One thing all of the influencers are saying in common is that “I don’t post to get followers, people happened to like my pictures”. They point out the viciousness of being a SNS star, saying that some people become so desperate to see bigger numbers on their accounts that they lose their originality or initial purpose of sharing own work for fun. Because of this reason, quite a few influencers seem to stop posting sometimes. Meanwhile, D, a charismatic fashionista with 2.1 M followers shares that he does not have the concept of followers and that even does not care about the number. He says that he just wants to be “true to himself” so that all of his pictures are real and true. Learning the story of those big influencers, I thought that their attitude of stay being themselves could be the key of their attractions.
Bon and Pon via GQ Japan
D via GQ Japan
Overall, I enjoyed the experience of getting exposed to the world of SNS influencers at Tokyo Ice Cream Land. It was very exciting to see and actually take pictures at the outstandingly cute photo booths and get some ideas of what it is like to be an influencer. One important lesson is that we all should learn about the SNS-Life balance and keep in our mind the actual purpose of sharing our work online.
Cover picture model – Noemie Jost
Photos – Kao Highvalley