Two young Instagram influencers have said they need more funds to continue their world travels, which they claimed have benefitted hundreds of people.
Catalin Onc and his wife, Elena Engelhardt, have since last year shared sexy and stylish photos of their trips on an account branded Another Beautiful Day, which has over 37,000 followers. They have so far visited Indonesia, Italy, France, New Zealand and Australia.
Earlier this month, the couple set up a GoFundMe page to pay for their next vacation. They have asked for more than $11,000 to fund a tandem bike ride from their native Germany to Africa in mid-July, which they suggested would somehow address mental illness, climate change and sloppy journalism.
“We could write a long text about mental health or global warming. We could tell you about following your dreams, or how important stepping out of your comfort zone is. We could tell you how beautiful traveling is, and it’s benefits, or the fact that most news don’t match reality,” they said.
“But we’re going to show you! Less talking more action.”
Meanwhile, the couple revealed in a recent Instagram post that Onc’s mother typically works two jobs to support their travels. But they said she would not be able to cover their planned bike trip.
“At this very moment, my mother is funding us, she works two jobs and has not much herself. We didn’t ask her for money but she loves that she is able to help,” the couple said in a since-deleted comment.
In another post, the influencers said that getting day jobs is not an option. Their work is too important to too many people, they explained, and modeling would promote “consumerism.”
“Some will just tell us to get jobs, like everyone else and stop begging. But when you have the impact we do on others’ life, getting a job is not an option,” they said in an Instagram post. “We could model and make fast money, but we don’t want to advertise consumerism. A normal job at this point would be detrimental.”
Another Beautiful Day earns social media backlash
The reaction to Onc and Engelhardt’s online begging was scathing.
“Your mum works two jobs to pay for your trip, don’t you think that’s impacting her mental health?” on Instagram user commented. “It’s sad this isn’t all a joke, the self importance you have is ridiculous.”
“Or, like, you know, get a job and pay for your little cycling trip yourself?” someone else suggested.
As of Monday, the GoFundMe campaign had raised less than $250 toward its goal.
The rise of influencer marketing as a legitimate promotional strategy for brands and corporations has led to an explosion of social media savvy youths of dubious talents and, arguably, even less in the way of substance. Critics argue that this wave of attention-hungry young bloggers, models and pranksters reflect modern society’s vapid self-absorption, obsession with technology and attraction to shock content.
In an article for The Atlantic, responding to a controversial video in which social media superstar Logan Paul filmed himself visiting Japan’s “suicide forest,” Robinson Meyer argued that our culture’s preoccupation with online stimulation had resulted in warped incentives for American youth.
“As online platforms have pursued engagement to the detriment of everything else, they have come to favor content that dehumanizes us. Meanwhile, the same platforms dominate more and more of teen culture,” he wrote.
“We stuck a smartphone in every 14-year-old’s hand and told them it could make them famous. Little wonder that the kids who won that lottery don’t know when to turn the camera off. Little wonder that before the backlash, Paul’s video was going viral. The internet’s only currency is attention,” Meyer added.