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Rich Kids of Instagram is a single topic blog that showcases conspicuous displays of high life and luxury shared by teenagers of wealthy families on the photo-sharing platform Instagram.
On July 13th, 2012, the single topic blog Rich Kids of Instagram was launched as a critique of lavish lifestyles boasted by some teenagers on the app. The anonymous owners of the blog encourage Instagram users to use the hashtag #rkoi to collect the photos. Within two weeks, the hashtag had accrued more than 1,200 Instagram photos.
On January 21st, 2012, Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez’s 14-year-old daughter Rosines Chávez posted an Instagram picture of herself posing with a wad of U.S dollar bills via Twitter. Chávez’ photograph was instantly met by negative response from Venezuelan Internet users on Twitter, Tumblr and Facebook, spawning parody images of people showing off particular items in large quantity. The reaction images became associated with the Twitter hashtag #Rosinesing, taking the verb form of Chávez’ name.
Throughout July 2012, Rich Kids of Instagram was featured on the NY Daily News, Buzzfeed and the Atlantic Wire. On July 20th, The Huffington Post published an interview article with Annabel Schwartz , a 19-year-old Instagram user whose photograph of herself vacationing in Saint-Tropez was featured on the blog (shown below, left), in which she stated that her and her friends “consider themselves to be a lot more substantial than their father’s credit card.”
By mid-August 2012, criticisms surrounding the phenomenon had further grown through additional coverage in the U.S. news media and blogs, including CNBC, PC Magazine, MSNBC, Examiner and Gather. On August 14th, PC Magazine ran two articles, “Embarassing Rich Kids of Instagram” and “Oversharing Prompts Shutdown of Dell Daughter’s Twitter Account”, which reported that a photo of Michael Dell’s son Zachary eating on a family jet (shown above, right) was featured on the site. The photo had been shared on Instagram by daughter Alexa Dell, who was subsequently forced to shut down her various social media accounts.
Several location specific “rich kids” Facebook and Tumblr groups have emerged for a specific look at how the young spend their wealth in different parts of the world, focusing on countries, cities or even neighborhoods within cities. Some examples include the Tumblr Rich Kids of Hong Kong, Rich Kids of Upper East (referring to the Upper East side of New York City), Rich Kids of Poland, Rich Kids of Denmark and Rich Kids of Serbia.
News Media Commentaries
The scornful reaction to Rich Kids of Instagram was also echoed by several commentators and journalists; CNBC likened the Tumblr blog’s voyeuristic appeal to the 2003 documentary film Born Rich and the MTV series “My Super Sweet 16.” The Washington Post published an op/ed titled “Why the Internet Hates the Rich Kids of Instagram and the Brant Brothers”, which argued that the Internet reviles “ostentatious displays of wealth.”
Rich Kids of Beverly Hills
On August 5th, 2013, Hollywood news site Deadline reported that E! is developing a new reality TV series about a group of Beverly Hills teenagers who became somewhat online notorious after their pictures were featured on Rich Kids of Instagram.
On the proposed series, produced by ITV Studios America in association with Leepson Bounds Entertainment, the offspring of the most elite families and billionaire moguls party, play and support each other against a backdrop of wealth. Rich Beverly Hills teens have been a staple on TV with the two Beverly Hills, 90210 series. On the unscripted side, well-to-do young residents of the posh neighborhood are featured on another NBC Universal cable series, Bravo’s Shahs Of Sunset.
On December 13th, E! Online published an article introducing the cast members of Rich Kids of Beverly Hills. Slated for premiere on January 19th, 2014, the series features five twenty-somethings Morgan Stewart, Brendan Fitzpatrick, Dorothy Wang, Roxy Sowlaty and Jonny Drubel, with a special appearance from E.J. Johnson, the openly gay son of former NBA star Magic Johnson.
Also on December 13th, the site was updated with an announcement of a fictional novel adaptation inspired by the blog, describing it as “a dishy and hilarious tale about the intersecting lives of the world’s most extravagant, unapologetically uber-rich teenagers.” According to The Daily Dot, the anonymous creator of the blog was approached last spring with the idea for a novel adaptation to be authored by Maya Sloan, who is currently working with Kylie and Kendall Jenner of the Kardashian family on their first book project.
Rich Kids of Snapchat
On October 24th, 2013, a Facebook page titled “What Happens at Private School Goes On Snapchat” was created to curate a series of snapchats submitted by wealthy students attending private schools in the United Kingdom, accompanied by captions written in the same tone of entitlement as seen on Rich Kids of Instagram. The Rich Kids of Snapchat page on Facebook was first picked up by Buzzfeed on June 13th, followed by Jezebel’s coverage on July 2nd. As of July 2014, the Facebook page has gained over 240,000 likes.
The Atlantic Wire – Rich Kids of Instagram Epitomize Everything Wrong with Instagram
the Huffington Post – Rich Kids Of Instagram: Annabel Schwartz, Teen Pictured, Reacts To Viral Tumblr
The Washington Post – Why the Internet hates the Rich Kids of Instagram and the Brant Brothers
New York Post – ‘Rich Kids of Beverly Hills’ to take on Kardashians
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