On this weeks podcast I'm talking about the new HBO Max documentary titled Fake Famous. The doc follows 3 people who are trying to blow up on Instagram in hopes of becoming famous, getting paid and getting free products. I talk about why buying followers is generally a bad idea, how it can destroy your Instagram account and why I once tried it myself on Twitter a few years ago.
I also talk about people trying follow 4 follow, mass following/unfollowing and why putting your efforts and energy into creating the best posts is better for your account than inflating your number.
Hello, everyone, and welcome back to the Gary Cantrell podcast. So glad that you're here. Thanks for stopping by. Today I'm going to talk about this documentary that I watched last night on HBO max titled, fake, famous. Yeah, that was an interesting documentary, all about social media and influencers and the things people will do to achieve this influencer status in order to get all sorts of perks, like free products, free trips, all sorts of things and money. Of course, let's you know, let's talk about money. when it all comes down to this is kind of the whole point of the entire documentary is that it all comes down to money. Because you have people that are trying to pump up their numbers on social media in order to get these endorsement deals. The social media networks, according to this documentary are turning a blind eye because money in numbers, the companies that are endorsing these influencers, are also turning a blind eye because numbers and money. That's what it all comes down to. And I thought this was fascinating, because I can also share a personal perspective on this my own experience with social media. And yes, at one time, I myself purchased followers on a social media platform. But first, let me give you just a very quick background of this documentary. And then we'll dive in. So fake famous is the title it is on HBO max. And this was a pretty revealing pretty fascinating documentary, if you have any interest whatsoever, as it pertains to social media and influencers and how all of that works. I highly recommend this documentary. What it is, is you have these filmmakers, and they basically got 1000 applicants, they put out an ad that was like, Hey, we're looking for people that want to be famous. You know, they get these people in here and they ask them about, you know, social media, what's their social media like? And, you know, why do you want to be famous, tell us about yourself. And after going through, like 1000s of people, you have the three people that they focus on this woman, Dominique, this guy Wiley, and this other guy, Chris, and three very different people, they're very different backgrounds. And basically, the whole point of this is that these filmmakers are buying them followers buying them engagement to pump up the numbers. So that way, they can look as if they are famous that like they are these big time influencers. So that way, they will draw the attention of companies that will want to partner with them. There was even one scene where the guy Chris was on a fake private plane so apparently out in LA there is this place that you can run out I think the guy said in the movie it's like 40 or $50 an hour, probably 50 cuz you know LA is expensive. And yeah, it was like a set essentially and it looks just like a private jet. And you can sit down in these nice white leather chairs in this little room that is in the shape, it's like a set of a private planes so when you take the picture just looks like you're on a private plane it has like the window with the light shining through and one of the other things I want to mention now before I forget and I I tend to go all over the place so bear with me. There was also this other trick that they showed I almost want to try this just to see if anybody would actually notice the difference. But they went to like a hardware store and bought a toilet seat and held it up to a television with like a beach or something like that in the background like an overhead like as if you were on a plane and they would have these people Chris and Dominic and Wiley take pictures in front of the toilet seat where you can see the TV through the whole of the toilet seat so it looked just like they were sitting on a plane I think the the girl dominate she had the drink in her hand. And you know it looked like when you frame it right because when it comes down to the photography, you can absolutely manipulate the you know the photo, you can manipulate it in any way you can add filters, you can add backgrounds, you can throw it in something like Photoshop or Affinity Photo, shout out Affinity Photo love them.
And you can absolutely manipulate it in any way you want. You can frame it a certain way. And you can get a pretty nice looking photo that looks like if somebody that wasn't paying attention, it would look like they were actually on an airplane. So they're Taking all these photos, like they're actually like the girl Dominique, she went to like this photo shoot at this mansion that they rented, rented out, she had like five different outfits in all these different rooms. And she's just taken different sets of photos. And trying to position they're trying to position her account to attract these brands. There was even another one that I think Wiley and Dominique did, where they were in like somebody's back yard, next to a tree. And they put on like hiking or camping gear. And so they would take a picture like that in hopes that a brand would see that photo and want to give them some sort of camping or hiking related either trip or products. And they even pointed out kind of in humor that if you look closely in the photo, you can see a fence pole behind the tree. But nobody noticed. It was the craziest thing. The whole point of the movie, though, is to point out how these people are rising to so called fame over and they particularly focus on Instagram a lot. And that's kind of where I hang out full time when it comes to social media apps of choice. I've been definitely dabbling in Twitter. And I do have a Twitter story here in a moment. But it was basically centered around Instagram and how people were buying followers buying engagement to boost up the numbers. So throughout this throughout this documentary, they're showing that you know, so and so is texting the filmmaker saying, Hey, I'm about to post my photo. Can you buy me some likes and comments and stuff like that? Most of these accounts these three people had, I want to say when they started under 5000, I think all of them were under 5001, or two of them were even less than like 1000. And so they were pumping them up. I think they got Dominic's all the way up to like 200, something 1000. And I don't remember the number of the other two, but I don't think that's super relevant. But they were basically pumping up these numbers. And they were using this, this site called family aid. And I've actually gone on there and I've looked at their prices, which is pretty crazy. And here's the thing. I mean, like if you're somebody that's thinking about doing this, don't First of all, short answer is don't do it. It's not a good idea. Instagram knows pretty much everything. Now I'm not, you know, I don't work for Instagram, I have no inside knowledge. But based on everything that I've ever read on the internet. And I asked I know there's a lot on the internet. That's not true. But based on on things that I've read from people that seem like they know what they're talking about, I should preface it like that the general consensus is that Instagram knows what you're doing. Okay. I can look at an account and tell if there are somebody who has it has an inauthentic following. You know, I can't easily tell how many fake followers they may have. But you can just look at the engagement. And tell right off the bat.
I mean, look, if I go to your account right now, okay, and you have 100,000 followers, but you're only getting like maybe 100 likes on a photo, you got a problem, okay, you got a big problem. Because here's the thing, you're buying these followers, and you are essentially buying, as they advertise it on these websites, like these are real active, engaging followers, and they're not. They're bots, okay. And when you buy them, they are just a placeholder to make your number on your social media account look bigger. That's the entire point of it. However, if you look at how the algorithm actually works on Instagram, it is based on the interactions that you have, the more people that you are interacting with, those people are going to see your stuff and when they see your stuff and they interact with it, it will then show your content to more people. That's how this works. So if you're buying fake bought followers, those followers aren't going to do anything they're not going to engage with your stuff. They're not going to do anything with your content. That's where these places come in and then they say well, we can sell you likes and comments and then you get those cool picture bro. You know with the peace sign, and the glasses like the the smiley face with the sunglass, emoji you get that crap on your stuff like, Cool pic bro, this is awesome. You're so inspiring. And so they just go throughout this entire documentary and the one who seemed to be the biggest winner was Domini. She cleaned up. I mean, she was getting jewelry in the mail. She was getting free trips she was getting, she actually got this one trip where they took them from California to Las Vegas, in a bus. And they were making stops in the desert with photographers to try on clothing and take influencer type photos out in the desert. And I just laughed, I'm like, man, come on, you know, these photos look so just phony. I mean, as like a photo, they look, you know, the quality of the photo was nice, but just the whole staging of it. It's like, who actually takes pictures like this, the guy in the documentary, because this this thing ran up to right at about the beginning of the pandemic. And then I guess they had to shut down the shooting of it. But the guy had pointed out, he's like, you know, there's a pandemic going on. And you would never be able to tell because all these influencers, they still have their photos or they're out and about, there's no mask on, they're just doing whatever. I mean, it's crazy. It's a big business, I'm not going to do this documentary, any justice, really, you really just need to go and watch it for yourself. But this is what is out there. You have these influencers, they're making all this money, they're getting all this free stuff, in exchange to take a picture, and maybe a video in their story, to put it out there, help the brand put their stuff out there. And there's a lot of people, as I mentioned before, that are buying their way to the front of the line. me. I've done that. I'm probably one of the few people that I know that will actually admit that. I have this experiment and I'll tell you firsthand why. In the end, it was a good idea. But why now I don't do it anymore. So let's get into this. Back in 2013, on Twitter, at Gary Cantrell, that's where I'm at now. I purchased Twitter followers. Now, legitimately, before I started buying followers, I want to say I had somewhere between 1000 to maybe 1200 or 1300 that I had built up on my own legit. And I was running into this problem where on my podcast back then that was called the shoot. It was a live internet radio show. A lot of people were kind of back then before podcasting had a big boom, podcasting was still in a certain way, a dirty word, right? And every time I would seek someone out for an interview would always be how many listeners do you have? How many Twitter followers do you have? Or if I'm dming them on Twitter, they could go and look out 1200 I'm not gonna bother with that guy. But the moment I got my account to over 120,000 followers on Twitter, well, Step right up. The interviews just started rolling in. It was incredibly easy to get people booked on the show.
I had people from reality TV, from movies, wrestlers. I mean, it was so easy. I even had some of these people that follow me because they thought I was somebody. And I mean, I look at myself, I think I'm a nobody. I'm just keeping it real. But you had all these people that suddenly because I had a an imaginary number on my Twitter that all of a sudden they wanted to do my podcasts, they want it to be on my live internet radio show. That's what it comes down to. I think that that is one of the reasons why people buy their way to the front of the line. Another reason I think people buy their way to the front of the line. If you look at Instagram, if you look at YouTube, there are a lot of features that are locked at like 10,000 followers per se on Instagram or if you're on YouTube like to be monetized you need 1000 subscribers. So these are big hurdles to climb. If you're somebody that's just getting on the platform, you have no following. You're trying to get a following. It can be incredibly difficult for some people because they don't want to put in the work. This goes back to everything in life where people are so damaged patient, that they don't want to work for anything and they don't want to try to get to these places that just simply expect to be able to put down a few dollars and jump their way to the front of the line. I truly believe that is one of the reasons why people buy followings. Because these companies like an Instagram lock up these features, that can be very helpful. Now look, I mean, I'm at 6700 followers on Instagram, okay, if I want to promote this podcast, right here on my Instagram story, I have to put a link in my bio, and I have to tell you to click off my story onto my bio, then click the link and hope that you'll check out the podcast or I have to go into Spotify, which not everybody has, and share it from there where there's a little play on Spotify button underneath my name. But if I had 10,000 followers, I can have a swipe up link where you could be watching my story and I could say, swipe up, and it could take you right to my podcast. Now as a creator. That to me is like holy crap, that would be amazing to have a swipe up. Oh, wow. I can remove all the steps for you. All you have to do is swipe your little finger up and you can go listen to my podcast on the Instagram story. And I'd be lying to you right now, if I said I didn't think about that before. I'm like, Hey, I'm at 6000 something followers only need 4000 more, hey, let's just pump. Let's see, what does it cost here?
Let's go to famoid.com and see what let's just say 5000 followers would cost me right now if I wanted to buy 5000. And I'm not going to do this. Okay, 5000 followers, 70 bucks, premium quality followers, all real inactive drop protection. 100% safe advertising method plus, no password required gradual delivery, 24 seven support order. Now, that's the thing, you buy these followers, and it's going to do nothing but hurt your account. Okay, the best way I can explain it to you is Instagram, they show your posts when you initially post it to people that you more commonly interact with. And beyond that, a small selection of your followers, okay, if all your followers were to scroll all the way through the feed, they would eventually see it. But at first, they show it to a small number of people. And if those people interact with that post, then they show it to more people. Okay. So if you buy all these fake followers, they're going to show it to a percentage of your followers, which may be having these fake ones will make that percentage climb up. And so maybe most of the people they showed it to are those people, but they're not really people. So what happens, they don't engage with it, oh, Instagram says this post is dead in the water. Let's not show it to anybody else. And that's why you have these so called influencers with like 100,000 followers that are getting less than 100 likes on their post, because they are trying to game the system. And while Yes, you can make that number looked big, it does not actually make your following big. And I would 10 out of 10 highly not recommend that you do that. It's not a good idea. And I can see it all the time. There are people that I've seen in my Instagram feed where I could look at their account. And I could tell they brought some people in while we're on this topic. There are also people that do the follow for follow, hey, I'm going to follow you in hopes that you'll follow me back. That stuff only gets you so far. I got news for you. Because I was that guy. And I've seen people do it in a larger scale. I don't recommend it. Then people will say, well, geez, Gary, how do you ever expect me to grow? I can't buy followers. You're telling me not to follow a bunch of people. You want the secret? You want the real answer? I don't think you can handle the real answer because here is the real answer. You have to put an effort. There's a big word effort.
You have to put
in effort and quality
Something that is good enough that will earn the click of the people that see it. And if it is that good. It will be seen by more. But you can't just post one and say well I posted one Nobody. Nobody jumped on it. Your theory is wrong, Gary. Well guess what? You got to show up every day. You got to post all the time. You Gotta keep dropping quality, you have to offer something for these people. You don't just take a selfie and run for the hills, you have to put effort behind that post, it should be entertaining, or it should be educational, or in the rare case where you can make it both. But so many people are buying their way to the front of the line, to game the system to pump up their numbers. They follow the max of like 70 509, I've seen people do this, or they will follow the maximum amount of people. And when people drop off, they drop off. The social media game is straight up bullshit. I post content, I have a presence on there. Obviously, I'm not saying never do social media ever. But I can look at some of these hacks that people do because I've done some of them myself. And after the experience, I can just say it's not worth it. put in the effort, put out quality stuff and people will find it End of story. You don't need to be fake, famous. You don't need to buy followers and buy engagement or mass follow a bunch of people so that you can unfollow them a month later, you actually have to put in the effort. And people will come they will never come as fast as you want them to come. But they will come. You might say well, so and so overnight, man. They got like a million followers, man, they're blowed up. That's where I'm trying to be right now. It doesn't work that way. It just doesn't. The chances that you will become an overnight social media success. One in a million, probably one in 10,000,001 in 50,000,001 and 100 million. It's just not likely. And so sitting around waiting on that to happen, instead of putting in effort putting in quality content. In other words, if you're one of these people that's trying to game the system and jump to the front of the line, you're in this for the wrong reasons. Period. You have to reevaluate what it is you're trying to do, and go from there. I think I've said my piece and I'm going to get out of here. If you made it this far. Thank you. Go check out fake famous is an intriguing documentary on HBO max. If you don't have HBO Max, they have free trials. Just sign up, watch it. It's that good. I would say it's that good. There's also a new movie on there right now called the little things with Jared Leto, Denzel Washington and Rami Malik. amazing movie, it's on there. So if you sign up for the trial, you'll watch all this and then you just cancel. But go check it out. It's it's, it's great. And don't buy followers. Please don't do that. And don't be one of those follow unfollow people because he just looked desperate. Alright, you're better than that. There's a good chance that most of you that go on social media have a good message to spread. So go do that. And worry less about getting famous because in the end, what do you need that for? You don't put in the work, show up and deliver. Great, a great message to people. All right. Now I'm out of here. Thank you for listening. I'll catch you on the next podcast. See ya.