‘Insta-famous’ offers major social capital


According to CNN, Taylor Swift recently surpassed Kim Kardashian West as the most followed user on Instagram. Swift now has 45.9 million followers while Kardashian West trails behind with a mere 45.7 million followers.

Instagram, a mobile photo-sharing app, first began in 2010 and was acquired by Facebook in 2012.

In today’s increasingly visual society, social media popularity now correlates to social capital. This correlation gives celebrities the opportunity to give their fans access into their private lives to benefit their popularity.

Taylor Swift’s goofy personality shines through her Instagram. Her feed frequently features her cats, her notorious celebrity girl crew, and plenty of knit sweaters. Kardashian West, on the other hand, portrays a more glamorous image, featuring mostly an assortment of selfies and family photos.

Both celebrities have strategically created a brand that consumers are actively following. Companies are actively following too.

Online endorsements have become the ultimate marketing move for makeup brands, clothing brands, and even food brands. Celebrities are now serving as the middleman between the brands and the general public.

Since celebrities have an active online following that can be accessed immediately, it makes sense that their virtual popularity would correlate into real life.

Nowadays, social capital is tracked by number of followers and number of likes per photo on Instagram.