Just how far is too far when it comes to documenting the happiest moments of our lives on social media? Jennifer McShane looks at the latest viral wedding proposal which just might have taken things too far...
Do you judge something based on the merits of how it looks? To an extent, we all do this. Book covers, the dress on the model that won't look the same on us. Even Instagram in all its filtered glory still sees us capturing very curated moments of joy to share with the world - even now when those who choose to go filter-free shine more than those who don't.
We know that social media requires taking everything with a pinch of salt. Influencers and brands coming together for projects mean we've become savvier than ever; we question just how good something can be if you're paid to promote it. But sponsored content done really well - and still with the reader in mind - is seamless. It adds dimension to content, helps journalists pay their bills. We know this.
But are we as forgiving if, say, an entire wedding proposal 'surprise' is done via a brand collaboration? How personal, how meaningful can the moment really be if it's paid for?
These are some of the questions readers are contemplating.
An "extraordinary adventure"
For some watching the love story of fashion influencer Marissa Casey Fuchs unravel on their Instagram Stories, it was the proposal dreams were made of. We're talking spontaneous trips to the Hamptons, fancy dinners in candle-lit restaurants and a sprinkling of diamond jewellery, all spun together with a spectrum of emotional reactions from Fuchs, her family, and closest friends.
It was almost bewitching to watch. And it was rather gloriously, completely extra.
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Except that this was no average influencer proposal; this came with a different set of trimmings.
Since the initial post, Marissa went on a whole scavenger hunt across New York City, Montauk, New York, Miami, and Paris because, sure, why not? Needless to say, she put all this on Instagram so her fans could follow along on her perfectly executed hunt for the ring. She even appeared looking so bridal for a person meant to be "surprised", it was funny.
People were sceptical, here she was, devil may care, changing continents with no flight delays, no lost luggage, no airport stress.
It was smooth.
Too smooth for something so detailed is what many thought.
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Following some investigating by The Atlantic, it appears the whole thing was planned from the get-go, as evidenced in a detailed pitch, which was allegedly created in an attempt to secure brand sponsors. Here's what the introduction states:
“This summer, Marissa of @FashionAmbitionist will be pulled into a surprise adventure created by the center of her life, Gabriel. He will remotely ask her to take an unexpected and sentimental journey to him, a journey that will encompassing many familiar stops along the way that offer their own unique gifts…We’re pleased to offer your brand the opportunity to align with this momentous occasion and the beautiful cities she will be visiting along the way.”
Even looking at it from both sides, you can't deny, it looks just that bit too glossy.
Would you really want the world sharing your most intimate moment as it happens?
More than that: Would you be happy to construct your reality around an event based on more than one agenda? In this case, more than love and marriage, but getting paid for the privilege.
It's happened before: look at the Fyre Festival disaster. A luxury "reality" designed to entice; to make attendees envious of a certain way of life - the idea of exclusivity as we know, can be dangerously tempting.
In any case, it's the apparent deceit that grates on people. Social media guidelines exist for a reason, we want to know when there's another objective. Once we have transparency, we will make our own decisions. It's the idea that we can be so obviously fooled that has irked so many. "Did you get paid to ask your girlfriend to marry you? How cool!" Once the eye-rolls had stopped, that's what the majority would have likely said.
Honesty is the most powerful tool you can have as a person of influence in 2019. It's the supposed cover-up that leaves a bitter taste.
Oh, tinged with just a little jealousy. Don't forget that.
Main photograph: Unsplash
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