On a recent weekend, my beloved two year old and my gorgeous two month old decided to invoke the devil.
It was a challenging day for both my wife and I.
Once we had a moment for pause, rather than engage in conversation or look lovingly into each other's eyes, we went on social media. My wife checked out some mummy blogger pages and I decided to post this image:
It's the perfect image for social. There is no trace of the reality of the day. We're happy, loving. Even my usually well furrowed balled head is sun kissed creating this aura of serenity and peace.
The caption read 'happiness'.
I wasn't about to post dirty nappies, bite marks or do a live stream of me slowly rocking in the corner. That's for life. This is social media.
This general outrage at 'trusted influencers' (what are they?) being caught out for faking some of their posts slightly baffles me. What on earth do we expect?
Of course a travel influencer, who's built up an adoring crowd of followers for their alluring photos of their destinations, isn't suddenly going to post a photo of a queue to a public toilet in Dehli.
They're going to fake it a bit. They'll take that beautiful shot at 4.30am when most tourists are still recovering, perhaps chuck in a flock of doves and scrub out a few ugly people from the frame.
Most influencers have become the modern day equivalent of the brochure that you'd pick up at a Thomas Cook a decade ago. That beach club in Tenerife will have a few less king prawns and lobsters in their 'free buffet' and a few more Babybels.
As with the old travel brochures, a disclaimer is perhaps a good step forward. We'd be used to reading a caption like 'the contents of the buffet may vary'. A responsible influencer may want to add 'the Taj Mahal may be busier than this photo suggests' to make it clear to all the people out there that this is social media, not real life.
For brands navigating the influencer marketing world, make it clear that you want authenticity and genuine content. Bring the influencers in, give them a chance to help you form the campaign you want and let it be known that you don't want to fake it. 'No photoshop here thank you!'.
For anyone wishing to experience reality rather 'Insta-lity', feel free to come around my house at 7.30pm when I'm trying to convince my toddler that fish pie is better consumed than used as a painting material.
Fakery on Instagram is nothing new. In May, the Instagrammer and Photographer Sara Melotti told me about the “Instagram mafia”, explaining that many travel bloggers visit the same spot to get the perfect photo, but then leave without touring the area. In October 2015, Instagram model Essena O’Neill quit the site, branding social media “contrived” and rewriting the captions on her images to explain how long it took to take a photo, or whether she was paid by a brand to pose with a product.