Reboot and Recover has partnered with Conscious Minds Studios on their documentary ‘Social Animals’ that brings awareness to our relationship with social media and how it is impacting our lives. Internet addiction, social media addiction, and cyberbullying are all experiences that many of us face in our ever-connected world. While teenagers might be most visibly impacted by social media addiction, internet addiction, and cyberbullying, many are struggling with these issues despite their age. As seen on Vice news, an Instagram vending machine is posing in Los Angeles. Here is the story.
“If you’ve found yourself roaming popular tourist destinations in LA, you may have come across a vending machine urging you to swipe your credit card to buy a candy-shaped box of “like & likes,” “witty captions,” or “DM sliders.” Pay $10 and you can buy 1,000 fake Instagram followers for your profile. Or you can purchase a “hashtag 8 ball” that tells you whether to post the caption you’re thinking of or not. The trippy traveling display, currently at the Ace Hotel in Downtown LA, is a marketing promotion for the documentary Social Animals , which follows the highs and lows of three teenagers aspiring for Instagram fame over two years. The well-received film premiered at SXSW in March of 2018, and follows a rising daredevil street photographer from Queens named Humza Deas; aspiring fashion mogul Kaylyn Slevin; and a Ohio student Emma Crocket, who represents those of us just trying to exist in today’s social media minefield.
The movie’s marketing team, Conscious Minds, has placed two vending machines in popular LA tourist locations like Venice Beach, Melrose, and the downtown Walt Disney Concert Area for a few hours at a time, prompting onlookers to take pictures with it. According to Social Animals producer Blake Heal, they’ve purchased over 100 of its products, which are sometimes pure jokes and other times actual Instagram currency packaged in a silly way.
The twist is that the profits are going to non-profit Reboot and Recover, an organization that seeks to provide education and resources to prevent social media addictions and cyberbullying. They also get a copy of the film, which producers are hoping will help buyers think more critically about the social media culture they consume. One of the machines, for example, is heading for San Francisco, where it will be placed in front of Instagram and Facebook headquarters and other locations where it’s message might pack more of a punch.
The documentary it’s advertising is a cautionary tale about people who get too wrapped up in the Instagram world, but, as you might expect, the vending machine’s extra-witty “products” are very picture worthy.
To its credit, Social Animals, has generally been positively received as a compassionate non-judgmental look at the struggles and triumphs of its three leads. Director Jonathan Ignatius Green takes the film beyond the way teens use Instagram to also incorporate why their hobbies and backgrounds have lead them to care deeply about the topics they’re known for online. One gets the sense that rising photographer Deas would still be passionate about his photos if Instagram never existed, and, likewise, that Slevin would still have an eye for entrepreneurship. This light touch means the tone comes across as less finger-wagging than it could when it does start exposing the dark side of Instagram, like the cruel comments popular influencers receive and the anxiety of feeling like an outcast online.
Social Animals’ Instagram vending machines are still noteworthy, for their meta commentary on the subject it’s advertising, using the incentives of our current culture to direct money toward helping those who are suffering with social media addiction, internet addiction, and cyberbullying. The machine proves the necessity of its film, and also the inescapability of social media’s influence on every way we communicate, including in person.”