The Hidden Economy of Instagram Caption Writers

Caroline Calloway, a 27-year-old influencer, has a record of gaining around 800,000 followers, landing a book deal, and curating a (cancelled) creativity workshop for young women at $165 per head. She’s a name that isn’t unfamiliar to social media fame. Online you see a beautiful successful blonde, when in reality she is a scamming fraud.

It has recently been revealed that her infamously long and iconic captions are not as original as we thought. Natalie Beach, a once close personal friend of Calloway’s, disclosed that she was a hired ghost writer for the influencer who was never properly credited.

This isn’t uncommon in the Instagram world, as 90% of captions are not thought up by the person posting it. In fact, “The bigger the influencer gets, the less involved they are with their account,” according to B.J Mendelson, author of Social Media is Bullshit.



These “service fees” range typically anywhere from a few hundred dollars to a six-figure payment. A lot goes into a social media influencer’s account, as an anonymous publicist explains, “But it’s also the most difficult to master. The tone has to be more voicey, more personable. It has to be more human, and that’s why it gets so complicated.”

This society of invisible “laborers” had created a whole world of fake identities online. “I’ve had friends like that, where I’ve helped them post their photos and helped grow their social media account and I’ve felt that way before about them. But I also feel that way about being in PR. I feel like I am part of this specific part of society that is all ghost people,” the anonymous publicist continues to admit.

Before we judge Caroline for being unauthentic, we should remember that she is just one person. She is just one individual presenting herself on a platform with billions of other active profiles.

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