Celebrities have always been paid to promote products through social media. But increasingly, Instagram users without real-world fame are cashing in too. While you’ve been putting up photos of your dog, others have been busy building up their own brand identity. Companies have sprung up that encourage followers to buy the clothes on your back, the pillows on your bed, the bowl your cat eats from... You can now assemble your identity through photos that shape your style and your home.
One of the first Instagram stars was a woman called Jen Selter, who got noticed after posting multiple shots of the results of her fitness regime. Looking through her photos you can see why people feel compelled to follow her: an ordinary girl who encourages you to work out for similar results.
Much has been written about celebrity culture –the dangers of attempting to emulate our favourite Hollywood heroes. Why are these new insta-celebs any different? They’re not sharing spontaneous moments or candid pictures that give you a realistic look at their lives, they’re presenting a stage set. The idea behind it is to make you believe that if you spend enough, work out enough, you can be like them. And it works, because they’re not megastars but people like you. This is why you think their status is achievable.
When your own life becomes your job, though, you’re bound to present it dishonestly. Let’s demand a bit more reality, and present a more honest version of our own lives in response. We might find that there is no need to emulate a life that reaches us only through a heavily filtered lens.
Adapted from an article by Bella Mackie, The Guardian, 27th November, 2014
I.Answer the following questions using your own words but taking into account the information in the text. (2 points: 1 point each)
- a. How do companies advertise their products on Instagram? PAR 1.
- b. Why are people interested in Jen Selter? PAR 2.
II. Are the following statements true (T) or false (F)? Identify the part of the text that supports your answer by copying the exact passage on the answer sheet. (1.5 points: 0.5 each)
- a. Only famous celebrities are paid to promote products through social media.
- b. Instagram stars do not present their real lives.
- T. They’re not sharing spontaneous moments or candid pictures that give you a realistic look at their lives, they’re presenting a stage set. (PAR 3)
- c. Instagram works because insta-celebs are like you.
III. Find a synonym for each of the four definitions below from these six options. (1 point: 0.25 each)
brand fitness encourages look demand reaches
IV. Choose a, b, or c, in each question below. Only one choice is correct. (1.5 points: 0.5 each)
1. Selter’s photos of her fitness regime make people think that...
- a) they can shoot her.
- b) they can obtain the same results. X
- c) they can upload their own photos.
2. Instagram stars...
- a) work for advertising companies.
- b) show an honest version of their lives.
- c) give an unrealistic image of their lives. X
3. Insta-celebs attract interest because...
- a) they put up photos of their dog.
- b) they construct lives that people want to imitate. X
- c) they want to become Hollywood celebrities.
Part B. Write a 130 to 150-word composition.
- What are the advantages and disadvantages of being a celebrity? (4 points)