Alfredo Cleto Batista and Monika Stronska spoke with Paula Backhaus in Kalkar about the possibilities and dangers of social media.
You hear phrases like this more often in America than in Germany: “You can do anything you want.” Alfredo Cleto Batista comes from the Dominican Republic, where he worked as a computer scientist. He had a good life, and when he wanted to go to Germany for love, his parents advised him against it. In fact, his studies were not recognized here, he worked in a gym, learned German, was apprenticed as a plumber and is in the process of graduating. So far so good.
His parents are very proud of their son, who now lives in Uedem-Keppeln. But not just because of the graduate degree case. They preach to him something you probably do not hear so often from parents: “Please take care of your Instagram account.”
More than 200,000 followers
Because Alfredo Cleto Batista is also an Instagram star with more than 200,000 followers. In Kalkarer Mühle on Tuesday night, he told how Instagram works, how he came to star status and staying true to himself. Paula Backhaus, a candidate from the Greens in the Kleve I constituency, to which Kalkar also belongs, had invited to the state election on 15 May. “The subject is not so typical of the Greens,” she admitted to the about 20 visitors. “But we need to talk about what the risks of social media are for young people and what the opportunities are.”
Polish Monika Stronska was also invited. She has supported her sick mother, who lives in Kleve, for three years and is therefore now also Kleverin. Monika Stronska is a model and influencer, she represents Poland at the Miss Europe Continental competition and sells her own beauty line. It is mainly aimed at their Polish compatriots. “I started with little things on Instagram,” she said. “More and more people were looking at the pictures, and more and more companies wanted to work with me.”
Influences the business model
An influencer’s business model is to present products. They get paid for it. The purpose of the companies is to make their products known to the target groups. “I only promote products that I have tested and that I like,” said Alfredo Cleto Batista. He also started small: “I was a slim boy and wanted to change.” The pictures and videos of his change obviously impressed many people. For him, Instagram is therefore a medium with which he can give hope: “You know everything, all you need is a fighting spirit.” He has kept it to this day. His day starts at half past four in the morning so he can reach all the goals he has set, he said.
Unlike Monika Stronska, who sometimes needs three hours for a perfect photo, he shows snapshots on Instagram. “Even though I’m trying harder now to offer people something.” He never really got any negative comments, but he did get a lot of inquiries from girls. “I never answer that.” Stronska also reports the same thing: “I get a huge number of inquiries from men.” She has also received insults. She said she was depressed when she was younger because of the prevailing beauty ideal.
Paula Backhaus asked about the social benefits of Instagram
“Where’s the social benefit of Instagram?” asked Paula Backhaus. Are kids and teens aware that their Instagram idols are showing a beautiful life? And are fair trade and organic standards of any relevance when deciding which business to promote? The two Instagram stars had not thought much about these issues. As is so often the case, the technical possibilities can probably do both: good and bad.
Life goes on. Or as Alfredo Cleto Batista refreshingly remarked: “If Instagram shuts down tomorrow, I have no problem with it. I know what I can achieve.”
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