You earn what now?


I’ve never been the most fashion savvy. I don’t pay a whole lot of attention to the latest trends and news, but I do love to indulge in Instagram to see what the “fashionable” are up to. Through my year and bit on the social media platform I’ve come to follow a total of 712 people, with the majority of them considered as “bloggers”.

Two of the largest Instagram followings I’ve found in my time are Gary Pepper Girl and Tuula Vintage. Two beautiful young women who travel the world wearing pretty things and taking pretty pictures; but I’ve always wondered, how on earth do these girls make any money? They spend days swanning around, going to “meetings” in exotic and beautiful locations, and always seem to be wearing the latest, and most expensive brands – but there doesn’t seem to be a whole lot of work going on.

A further look into Gary Pepper Girl, AKA Nicole Warne’s  website says that “when she isn’t scouring the racks for that perfect vintage piece or quietly writing down ideas in her notebook, you can find her enjoying the simple things in life like rolling around in an open meadow..”

Wait. So you’re telling me this chick writes stuff down and rolls around in meadows, and also somehow gets to travel the world, going to new country seemingly monthly?

A recent blog post from Tess Fisher enlightened me on the fact that the majority of the posts from these so called “bloggers” are in fact sponsored, with brands paying up to a thousand dollars for a single post on Instagram.

Tess called for more transparency from these Instagram personalities, referencing articles which are scathing of these women’s practices.

But I say good on ‘em! These women are doing amazing things, living their dreams, and for most of us who look at their Instagram feeds, there is definitely a bit of a sense of fantasy and fiction around it.

An interview with Roxy Jacenko on Australian website Mamamia, questions the mother of two year old girl Pixie, on why she’s created an Instagram for her extremely young daughter, and whether its exploiting the youngster, charging an undisclosed amount (the article speculates $200) per post, for Pixie to appear in the latest kid’s brands.

Comments on the article are generally scathing on Jacenko and her decision to create the account for her daughter. Jacenko is known as the queen of Australian PR, with her agency Sweatty Betty PR, and her newest venture Ministry of Talent, two incredibly successful businesses, so it’s safe to say Jacenko knows what she’s doing – and from the interview she seems to have a pretty level head about it.

So, why not? Why not take the opportunity to be creative, do what you love, and make money (potentially a lot of it) at the same time? Here and here are two detailed guides on how to make money on Instagram. Just make sure as a grammer and a blogger, you are genuine and passionate about the products your spruiking to gain the trust of your audience, and don’t expect to make any money straight away.

To engage: How should government and emergency agencies engage with social media in times of emergency and natural disaster?

brisbane floods

The devastation in Queensland felt during the 2011 floods. Image SourceCourier Mail

Recently, throughout Australia and the world, natural disaster and states of emergency are becoming increasingly declared, from floods and fires, to terrorist attacks. Everyone is engaged with these situations at some level, whether they are directly affected, or following from the other side of the world, and with the rise of social media it has become easier for users to follow emergency events in real time throughout the world.

Key government agencies and emergency services have a responsibility to deliver information to the public, particularly those directly affected by the disaster, in real time with useful and practical information. Traditionally these messages were delivered through mass media, with live television feeds and radio coverage the go to for the public to receive instruction and detail. However, as social media has risen in prominence, more members of the public are looking to online platforms for information.

A case study published by Queensland Police shows how quickly users engaged with their social media platforms, and how each platform’s following significantly grew through the introduction of a social media strategy which was put into action during the 2011 floods. Queensland Police had seen how people engaged with social media in emergency events, and aimed to take control of social media spaces in order to prevent rumour and misinformation.

Many Australian agencies take a similar approach, with the Tasmanian government creating TAS Alert, with specific social media instructions for people who might be affected by emergency in the state. The Victorian CFA have also effectively used their Facebook Page,  which has over 330,000 likes, to issue warnings and act messages to people affected in key areas.

However, there is a darker side to social media in times of events, with panic and unverified information swirling through the internet. This at times, has been detrimental to police or recovery efforts, with a key example being the amount of unsolicited information which spread during the Mumbai terrorist attacks. Blogger and founder of Made by Many Media, Tim Malbon said that he “started to see an ugly side to Twitter, far from being a crowd-sourced version of the news it was actually an incoherent, rumour-fueled mob operating in a mad echo chamber of tweets,”. Other examples of out of control social media have included the Boston Bombings and more recently the missing MH370 Malaysian Airways plan, with rumours spreading wild over Twitter.

The key to effective use of social media during time of emergency for government agencies is to have a plan and strategy, to create a verifiable and trusted source of information for users, and to update it regularly, as proved by the Queensland Police case study. Agencies must know how to effectively control the space, before any event occurs, to prevent the darker side to social media showing its face in time of disaster.

Re-branding Feminism?

I’ve loved Jane Caro since she started appearing on the Gruen Transfer years ago. She’s an incredible role model for women trying to break into the media and communications industry, with a long successful career in advertising, now playing a prominent role in the media, all while raising a family.

Her most recent article on The Women’s Agenda on feminism and its image is a great read for communications students and “feminists” alike.

Technology and Culture

This week’s Potts and Murphie reading introduced questions of culture and technology, and their influence on each others meanings and applications. The most interesting part of the discussion for me, was the way that culture and technology could, or could not be defined, in the words use in modern day language. Technology, to me, are the inanimate objects that we use in our lives on an everyday basis that are constantly being improved and recreated. I think technology, broadly, encompasses everything in life that is not natural. Anything that wasn’t already here is a technology. In the most primal way, a technology could be a sharpened rock used to cut materials or food. While to us in 2013, its just a sharpened rock, it had to be sourced and created, its use had to be thought about. Its was a tool incredibly useful to those who used it. It could be considered and early type of technology. Now we have knives that are carefully crafted by machines, and designed and cut to be as sharp and effective as possible. Potts and Murphie also point out however, that the word technology has only really began to appear in the last century, and is used in a post industrial revolution sense.


While the definition of technology is broad, culture is presented as much more complex. Raymond Williams describes it as  “one of the two or three most complication  words in the English language.” Culture encompasses so many things, and so many aspects of life. Culture as Potts and Murphie point out is in our food, sports, travel, entertainment, a myriad of things where it is hard to pinpoint its source and definition. To me, culture is an experience or a way of doing things. People talk about football clubs having a “strong culture”, and clubs work to build a culture within their team and people. Its hard to pinpoint even what this means, perhaps its just another sporting buzz word, but it encompasses attitude and work ethic, as well as uniform practices and processes that people undertake.


The way technology changes culture is even more complex, and their relationship is anything but linear. Technology creates new cultural experiences (such as the tourism industry), but also cultural changes create a drive for new technology.