An Instagram-Obsessed Anthropologist Riffs on the Meaning of ‘Maleness’

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MEN AND APPARITIONS
By Lynne Tillman
Illustrated. 397 pp. Soft Skull Press. Paper, $16.95.

“You could say, This is a funny time. You could, but then you wouldn’t be me.”

This remark from the narrator of Lynne Tillman’s intricate new novel, “Men and Apparitions,” exemplifies the book’s swirl of humor and horror, evasion and candor. Ezekiel, or Zeke, Stark is a cultural anthropologist in his late 30s, obsessed with images, both the concrete kind (photographs) and the metaphorical kind (“self-image”), a “privileged, educated” screw-up, as he says of himself, steeped in theorists like Clifford Geertz and Walter Benjamin, but also in pop culture — Pee-wee Herman, Steve Jobs, JonBenet Ramsey, etc. — that pantheon of people all of us know but none of us has met. In other words, Zeke is an American consumer, though what he consumes is not material goods but media, endlessly cataloging and referencing the contents of his own mind, often in lieu of visceral experience. The New Man, Zeke calls this type — his type — and Tillman’s novel is a patient, insistent exploration of what it means to live inside such a mind.

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The Best Influencers Are Babies

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Any old influencer can market tea-toxes or gummies that claim to give you better hair, but not everyone with 100,000 loyal followers on Instagram happens to be pregnant. “If you’re a baby company or if you’re putting out a product for a mother that’s about to have a baby or if you’re currently pregnant, you’re kind of limited in the amount of influencers out there to work with,” he explains. “So, as you can imagine just for supply and demand, it makes you a lot more valuable because the pool of talent is very limited.”

And then there’s the fact that many of these moms are American millennials selling to other American millennials, all of whom are well acquainted with the act of making a purchase on their phones. Instagram shopping in general has boomed, in part thanks to a new class of brands existing mostly or entirely on the platform.

On Instagram, #EverydayPakistan is showing Indians how their neighbours really live

India-Pakistan-Instagram

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“My primary objective is to document daily life in Pakistan, and show the world that Pakistan is not what they see in mainstream media,” he told Quartz in an email.

In short, it’s a slice of real, diverse life from a country that political tensions have prevented most Indians from seeing—and understanding. Saleem says he has been overwhelmed by the positive response from Indians, who make up some 23% of the project’s count of nearly 56,000 followers. He’s received messages from people across the border praising what they described as honest and refreshing images that break the stereotypes associated with Pakistan. Some of the followers are also descendants of those who, like the 85-year-old Indian Saleem spoke to, migrated during Partition from the region that became Pakistan.

I Did What Every Instagram Expert Says Is Stupid and It’s Working Great

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I’m not an Instagram expert.

But I do know how to grow an audience, create value on social media, and a few things about what’s interesting.

I’ve done some experimenting with my For The Interested Instagram account in the past few weeks and it’s led me to suggest you try out a strategy the Insta-experts will consider to be blasphemy.

It’s complicated, so get ready to concentrate. Ready? Here goes…

“Stop. Using. Hashtags.”

Ok, maybe it’s not THAT complicated.

But it’s the opposite of what every Instaguru out there tells you to do to grow or improve your account.

And they’re right. If you paste 20 hashtags into each of your posts, you will get more likes and followers.

9 Ways to Kill It on Instagram

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If there’s one thing I’ve found while researching the tips and tricks to ‘making it’ on Instagram, it’s that all the articles I’ve read, and all the videos I’ve watched, basically say the same thing, just in different orders.

So what can I do as an article author, to bring something new to the table?

Well, I’m going to go about it a different way, I’m going to be blunt and keep this as grounded in reality as possible, so that if you’re new to Instagram, the first thing you see will be hard coded into your brain for the rest of time, and you’ll have some stable ground to stand on.

The Glamorous Grandmas of Instagram

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On Accidental Icon, her influential Instagram account, she tends to vamp in an eye-catching mash-up of Comme des Garçons, Yohji Yamamoto and consignment store finds. Her following, hundreds of thousands strong, skews young, she said, and is responsive to her sass.

“I flaunt it,” she said. “I’m not 20. I don’t want to be 20, but I’m really freaking cool. That’s what I think about when I’m posting a photo.”

 

Is it an invasion of your kids’ privacy to post pictures of them on social media?

picture of family taking selfies

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Like millions of parents, I post pictures of my kid on Instagram. When she was born, her father and I had a brief conversation about whether it was “dangerous” in a very nebulous sense. Comforted by the fact that I use a fake name on my account, we agreed to not post nudie pics and then didn’t give it much more thought. Until recently.

As she gets older, and privacy on social media dominates the news, I’m revisiting this conversation. Am I invading my daughter’s privacy by sharing her kooky dance moves or epic Nick Nolte hair? Will she feel violated when she’s older? My generation had to contend with mom showing an embarrassing baby photo to our prom date. Is an awkward Instagram picture just today’s equivalent, or does the fact that that the photo can be revisited again and again, by potentially hundreds or even millions of eyes, change things?