As you already know, it took me a long time to have one profile on social networksbut I felt compelled to join Instagram, in 2018, to answer the requests of the women who loved my TEDx “The Invention of a Beautiful Old Age”, which went viral on YouTube, with almost 1.3 million views.
Okay, I’ll go in. Okay, I’m going to have a better cell phone (which I gave myself as a gift for my birthday on December 11th, the one I had was the cheapest one there was). Okay, I’m going to post “Mirian’s textão” on my Instagram, where I have more than 60,000 followers who are super engaged and hungry for information. Okay, what I research and write can have some positive impact on the lives of women who are panicking about their own aging.
But I don’t know (and I don’t want to know) the rules of the algorithm. And, unfortunately, in the virtual world there are the same competitions and struggles for power that I hate so much in the real world.
It’s potato! As soon as I post “Mirian’s text”, some “influencer” makes an (almost) identical post and, worst of all, without quoting me. What a mess! In short: I worked a lot to create a post, write the text, post it, and it, in a few minutes, makes much better use of my idea. How can you?
Obviously, this doesn’t just happen in the virtual world. When I wrote “The Other”, in 1990, which was a tremendous success, an anthropologist told me: “Ah, I’m also thinking about doing a research with the lovers of married men”.
After my TEDx went viral, a psychologist gave an (almost) identical talk, talking about the happiness curve, the fuck-you button, “the body as capital”, powerful crowns and the beautiful old-age revolution. It felt like my ideas had been invented by her. And she didn’t mention my name once.
On Instagram, things are much faster and more brazen. A while ago I posted an excerpt from the column I wrote for Sheet“Every woman is half Fernanda Montenegro“, on the actress’s birthday. Minutes later, an “influencer 50+” posted “Every woman is half Fernanda Montenegro”, with the same text, without mentioning me. How angry!
I feel like a real idiot because, in addition to copying what I write, they make a post much more beautiful and produced than mine. And nobody knows that they copied my idea.
I came to the conclusion that Instagram, Face, Linkedin, Twitter etc are not my thing, and I thought about stopping posting my reflective texts, because the algorithm only likes funny videos, dances and controversies. Until a friend who knows everything about algorithms made me change my mind:
“Mirian, you need to continue your work, which is so important for women who are afraid of aging. You should feel proud to be imitated, it’s a sign that your work has an impact on our lives. Ignore these vampires, parasites and leeches that they only exist because they suck other people’s ideas. They don’t have the slightest competence to produce original content, they need to steal ideas from those who are relevant. Remember that Coco Chanel loved to be imitated and said: ‘If you want to be original, be ready to be copied'”.
Immediately, I thought of an anthropological concept by Marcel Mauss: “prestigious imitation”. In every culture, people imitate, consciously or unconsciously, those who have success, prestige and power. It is interesting to emphasize that imitation can be unconscious.
Now, instead of getting upset when one of my posts is imitated, I’m going to tell the “influencer”:
“You’re absolutely right. It’s great that you’re sharing my ideas, you know how to communicate much better than I do on Instagram. It’s no wonder that you have so many followers and even make money from it. But is that asking? so much so, the next time you post something like what I posted, you say that you were inspired by what I write and mention my research? Thanks so much in advance”.
After all, as the old warrior taught, “those who don’t communicate, trump!” Chacrinha also left an essential lesson for achieving success on social networks: “Nothing is created, everything is copied.”
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