Real talk: Verified authentic followers on Instagram

If you’re on Instagram and following a lot of style bloggers, you may have seen a slew of IG stories last week of folks posting about their “Verified authentic followings”. The topic of authentic followers is such a fascinating one from multiple perspectives. As a blogger with a smaller – but very loyal and engaged (thank you!!) – following, I’m always fascinated by accounts that can grow 10K+ followers in short periods of time. I know there are a lot of ways to grow a following (I wrote about buying Instagram followers earlier this year), but it’s sometimes hard to tell whether or not the followers are real. I’m going to be digging into this realness in today’s post!

instastory-fohrcard-thedemuremuse

Before we dive in on the “verified following” cards (above) that all the bloggers were posting in their stories last week, let’s bring some context to this story. These IG story “cards” that everyone posted were created by a company named Fohr Card. Fohr is a platform that connects brands to creative storytellers (aka bloggers) for collaborations by aggregating all of the blogger’s stats across platforms (IG, Pinterest, Twitter, etc), stack ranking them against other bloggers in their categories, and giving access to this list to brands to determine who to select for a campaign.

To be clear, I have never received a sponsorship deal through Fohr, so I don’t have first hand experience on how campaign matching works. However, I do have an account on the Fohr platform because I like their simplified dashboard for showing stats. Fohr is also one of the first companies to try to break down a blogger’s following by engagement level, which, as a stats and data geek, I am really drawn to!

Earlier this year, Fohr released a tool that claimed to analyze a blogger’s Instagram following. If you have a Fohr account, you can connect your IG account to see your own stats. It took about 2 weeks to “analyze the following”, but this is the graph I got:

Fohr_IG_analyzer

Super fascinating, eh? It was really interesting for me to see that I’m below average on bots and lurker accounts (woo!) and skewed much higher on the active followers (yippee!). What I’m stumped on is how this information was calculated and if all of my followers were analyzed to produce this info. Or was only a subset of my followers analyzed and then extrapolated? Is this the same data set that was used to decide which bloggers did (or did not) receive those “Authentic following” cards posted on IG stories?

Naturally, when something like this is flooding the blogosphere, bloggers talk about it. In the particular community that I’m connected in, we were starting to see a mixed opinion on whether or not to post these Fohr “Verified followers” cards. Some people thought it was cool because a lot of larger bloggers were posting them. Others said they felt like the bloggers who they saw posting the card were ones that had been accused of buying followers previously– like this card was a way to justify their aggressive follower growth.

Because you know I like data and like to backup my arguments… this post is about to get real juicy with a real example use case of someone who posted and what their “authentic following” really looks like!

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Yayoi Kusama: Infinity Mirrors at the Seattle Art Museum

One thing I was really excited to come home to see after being in India for a couple of weeks was Yayoi Kusama’s Infinity Mirrors exhibit at the Seattle Art Museum. Some of the pieces showcased in this exhibit were conceptualized starting in the 1960s and continued to evolve to the present day! Advanced tickets for the exhibit were sold out almost immediately after the dates for showcase at SAM were announced (June 30 – Sept 10, 2017), and only tickets to be purchased on the day-of are available. Here are some sneak peaks of what you’ll see being exhibited and some tips for your visit!

InfinityMirrors_SAM
SAM_YayoiKusama_InfinityMirrors
This probably goes without saying, but Kusama’s work is incredible to see in person! There are 6 Infinity Rooms that you can immerse yourself in. Aside from the 360 mirror-surrounded repetition rooms and kaleidoscope boxes, The Obliteration Room is interactive one where you have the opportunity to participate in the making of the art by adding dot stickers to the walls, floor, and furniture!

SAM_YayoiKusama_InfinityMirrors_Seattle

I won’t ruin all the fun surprises for you (there are a lot of original artwork pieces also on display between the Infinity Rooms), so here are some tips for planning your visit to the SAM for the Infinity Mirrors Exhibit:

Arrive early for tickets!

Since the advanced tickets are all sold out, only a limited number of day-of tickets are available for purchase on a first-come, first-served basis. The SAM opens at 10am everyday (except for Tuesday, as it’s closed), so plan to brave the ticket lines early. Each person can only purchase a maximum of 4 tickets.

Try to avoid bringing a backpack

If you can avoid it, leave your backpack (or large bag) at home. Most small crossbody purses will be ok to bring in, but anything larger will have to be checked into bag check. I was lucky enough to be able to take my backpack into the museum under the condition that I carried it on my front (or in my arms) the whole time. This is more a safety precaution for the art than anything else, so to avoid waiting in more lines, I’d recommend leaving the bag at home if you can!

Get shutter happy!

You’re allotted 30 seconds per Infinity Room. I was definitely not prepared for how quickly 30 seconds flies by! If you’re planning to take photos while in the rooms, have your camera on and ready to go shutter happy before you enter. Lighting may be a bit tricky to adjust for, as lighting is different in every room, but if you really want to get the shot, you can always queue up again to experience the room.
*Note: There is one room – the Pumpkin room – where photography is prohibited and you’ll be followed in by a security guard. This is the newest – and coolest, imo – addition to the Infinity Rooms.

Have fun!! This is such an incredible exhibit and I am so grateful that Seattle is one of the cities to get to experience it.

Disclosure: A HUGE thank you to the Seattle Art Museum team who made this visit possible. We were lucky enough to see all of the Infinity Rooms and exhibits as press – while still adhering to the same guidelines that ticket holders do – to share with you our experience as well as the tips for how to best prepare for your visit.

Clothing budget recap: July 2017

clothing budget recap: July 2017
The month of July has been a really incredible one! Thanks to being out of the country for majority of it, shopping was kept quite light. I had originally intended to see if I could avoid adding to my closet altogether this month. As luck would have it, the bottom of my everyday backpack (the one in this post), purchased in the Summer of 2015, was starting to wear a hole. This started my hunt for a new backpack!

Purchased new
1. RAINS minimalist waterproof backpack: $100 (exact)
It took me a while to chase this backpack down. After passing a handful of people on the street during my commute to/from work carrying this backpack, I knew it was the one for me. The outer shell is vinyl, making it perfect for the rainy Seattle days. The design is so sleek and holds the contents in really compactly, which will be awesome for riding the bus on busy days (my previous backpack bulged as soon as any item was placed in it). There’s a laptop compartment and one zippered pocket on the backside by the straps, which is the perfect size and location for my wallet, keys, etc.

Thrifted
1. ASOS ruffle sleeve top – $6 (similar)
I can’t say the ruffle neckline tops have been a bit hit in my personal books this season, but I’ve been really loving the silhouettes of the ruffle sleeves. Right before heading to India, I found the top in this post and added it to my luggage just a couple days before heading out on the trip. This top ended up being perfect for the hot days while still being work appropriate.

2. J.Crew airspun baseball sweater tee – $4 (similar)
This half linen, half cotton sweater was again purchased for the India trip. I really wanted to find work appropriate tops with sleeves that would be breathable for the hot and humid days. This sweater tee was perfect for just that!

3. LA Cotton wrap sweater – $2.50
The sweater pictured isn’t exactly the same style as the one I purchased, but close! Instead of the wrap bottom, there’s a banded hem. While I won’t be able to wear this sweater any time soon, I’m excited to have another mohair sweater in my closet for the cooler Fall/Winter days to come. Off-season thrifting brings out a ton of gems!

I was really hoping to avoid shopping in July, but here we are… On the bright side, I’ve still managed to stay under my $200 budget! Check out previous clothing budget recap posts here.

Snippets from New Delhi

It’s been over a week since I’ve been drenched in 30°C (86°F) weather in India! While I’m here for work and time isn’t quite my own, it has been awesome to find small pockets of free time to play tourist in New Delhi. One of the top things on my bucket list was a visit to the Taj Mahal. While the picture below isn’t of the grand marble wonder itself, I think it summarizes my experience.

Beautiful grand structure that we all dwarf in comparison to.

That feeling encompassed in the statement above is exactly how my time in India has felt so far. Getting to see a small sliver of people’s lives in a totally different country with different cultural priorities makes me extremely introspective and reflective. Things are very, very different here. Day-to-day life feels so foreign from what I’m used to in North America. It’s not every day that I get to share the roads with a herd of cows, or witness life under a metal-sheet-covered-concrete-box home, or haggle for fruits on road-side carts, etc. I’m humbled and looking forward to spending a few days decompressing once I get home to really hunker down and reflect on the whole experience.

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summer-paisley-pants-ruffle-top-outfit
outfit details:
ruffle sleeve top: ASOS via thrifting (similar)
paisley cropped pants: c/o J.Jill (exact)
sandals: Crocs (exact)
crescent necklace: Fresh Tangerine (similar)

With the weather here is not exactly the friendliest during this monsoon season, I’ve had to get creative with my outfits. I brought a lot of flowy, breathable pieces. This top was thrifted just days before leaving for India, and these printed paisley pants from J.Jill’s July collection were too cute to pass up on. Also, could you tell these sandals are Crocs? Didn’t think so. ;)

Summer stripes

This season’s outfits are nothing short of basics being worn over and over and over again. It took a lot to muster up the courage to take outfit photos (this was the first set taken since May!) because I’ve been feeling like my style is quite plain and uninspiring in the Summer. I’m a lady who loves layering and layering is not exactly a friendly practice in the warm Summer sun.

I purchased this top from the Moorea Seal store in June and have been wearing it weekly ever since. It’s super comfortable and I love the longer length. It’s great to wear tucked into the waistband or to be knotted in the front (like styled in this summer stripes outfit post).

summer-stripes-outfit-inspo
outfit details:
striped top: Moorea Seal (exact)
destroyed boyfriend jeans: Topshop (similar, also styled here)
block mules: c/o J.Jill (exact, also worn here)
gold stacking rings: Fresh Tangerine (exact classic, exact twisted)

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Hope you’re outside enjoying the sunny rays!

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