People become internet personalities for different reasons. Some do it as a way to express themselves or to share their lives. Many of them have lives that revolve solely around how many likes they get on a post. Well, one 32-year-old Instagram influencer wanted to show people how easy it is to be deceived.
Carolyn Stritch, who runs the blog “The Slow Traveler,” is best known for posting cozy images of herself sitting next to her large window reading a book accompanied with a nice warm cup of coffee. Her page has amassed over 190,000 followers.
But one day Stritch decided to plan a fake trip to Disney World in California. Why deceive your followers? Stritch told Business Insider that she wants her followers to “question everything.”
To start her experiment, Stritch posted, “Why I hacked my own Instagram account,” which detailed that she was going to take a trip from the United Kingdom to California for her 22nd birthday. Stritch is currently 32.
She explained that to make her deceit work she first had to download an app called FaceApp which allowed her to create a younger version of herself — minus many common aging indicators such as wrinkles and blemishes.
“[M]y face changes quickly and dramatically, fine lines flatten, wrinkles smooth out, blemishes unblemish, dark circles disappear, cheekbones rise, eyes brighten, lips get bigger, nose gets smaller,” she wrote.”My face is gone. Staring back at me, wearing my clothes, sitting in my bed, is a stranger. Or, perhaps more accurately: it’s my perfect self.”
In a post she published after the experiment was over, she wrote: “I came up with a story: my FaceApped perfect self, who’s ten years younger than I am, flies off to Disneyland for the day, and somehow manages to photograph herself all alone in front of Sleeping Beauty’s Castle. I manipulated images, captioned them with a fictional narrative, and presented them as real-life.”
She told her followers, “I’ll be putting myself to bed nice and early tonight: I’m flying tomorrow and coming home Monday (need a magic carpet, not an aeroplane). I’ll be by myself, but so what? It’ll be my very own fairytale. Human possibilities vastly exceed our imagination!”
Her next post had her in front of the iconic Disney World castle with the caption reading: “I’ve taken myself off to California. There I am in front of Sleeping Beauty’s Castle — my crazy, self-indulgent 22nd birthday present to myself. Tomorrow I’ll be back home and it’ll be like it never even happened! I keep saying to myself: it’s kind of fun to do the impossible. Life is what you make it!”
Afterwards, she spilled the beans that her trip, along with many of her daily photos, is altered and contrived to get likes and shares. The real bombshell came when she admitted she never actually reads any books by her large window – what she’s actually become semi-famous for. Gasp!
She used her online platform to raise awareness that everything is not as it always seems. People who seem to live great lives and take incredible photographs are more than likely just regular people using a bit of deception to make their lives seem more than they really are. “Sometimes that coffee cup I’m holding is empty. I suck in my stomach. I rearrange the furniture. I photoshop out dirty marks made by bashing furniture off the walls,” she said.
Well, she does have a point. Not everything is what it seems.