Mother of All Instagram Scandals

A month after the mother of all scandals on Instagram – OK, maybe that’s a slight exaggeration – and blogger Clemmie Hooper is maintaining her silence after admitting she’d used a fake pseudonym to troll friends and her husband too.

The part-time midwife found online fame through her Gas And Air blog before opening up her ‘Mother of Daughters’ life on Instagram. As an outsider looking in, this mummy blogger was at the top of her game – with 600k+ followers and more (supposed) influencer friends than you could shake a stick at.

I oohed and aahed as I scrolled through images taken on Clemmie’s latest gifted holiday abroad and marvelled at how she’d decked out her new coastal home in expensive designer accessories. I’ve worked in PR for almost 20 years so I really should know better but, like thousands of her followers, I bought into her seemingly idyllic life.

Little did we know that behind all of the gloss, Clemmie was not only being trolled but she was trolling others too.

Her online world came crashing down when she admitted – or was forced to admit – that she’d been behind comments using the alias ‘AliceInWanderLust’. Followers of the Mother of Daughters and AliceInWanderLust accounts became suspicious after ‘Alice’ began posting from St Lucia – at the same time Clemmie was sharing lavish pictures of her holiday in the same place.

Clemmie claimed she’d become aware of a website that featured thousands of comments about her and her family and she wanted to change other people’s opinions about her from the inside. When users began to suspect it was her, she started trolling other parent bloggers, many of whom she knew as friends. She admitted to posting on gossip site, Tattle Life, for months and even trolling her husband – Instagram’s Father of Daughters – in a bid to throw people off the scent.

After briefly deleting her account this week, it’s obvious that the pressure of the online world became too much for Clemmie to handle.

But is this just the tip of the iceberg? Has this scandal exposed the darker side to mummy blogging and the mental health pressures they’re all now under?

Social media users and mental health experts have said that the perceived positivity of Instagram is a problem because the platform places a relentless emphasis on perfect lifestyles.

Followers think they’re seeing unedited snapshots of the lives of those they follow but in reality bloggers are precariously balancing business and pleasure, exploiting precious family moments for the perfect Insta-worthy picture.

The notion that social media has an impact on our mental health is nothing new. A 2017 study by the Royal Society for Public Health highlighted that image-based platforms have the most significant impact upon users, with Instagram rated the worst for mental health.

However, things might be starting to change. In the last couple of weeks, Instagram has started hiding the number of likes on some posts in the UK – and this is part of a global trial to figure out how the platform can “remove pressure” on its users’ mental health, with the ultimate goal for users to feel less judged.

But if we view the other side of the coin, does this mean that influencers will be under added pressure now that they’ll have to prove their worth in ways other than likes? And what will these changes mean for brands, as it’ll ultimately make choosing the correct influencers and ambassadors to head up their campaigns much more difficult?

Only time will tell.

The Mother of Daughters scandal has more than likely damaged Clemmie’s fans’ trust. Yes, as recently as mid-November, she featured on Kate Lawler’s podcast in her capacity as a midwife. However, it’ll be interesting to see if she makes a full-time return to Instagram and whether her actions will have a wider impact on how mummy blogger and influencer content is consumed.

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