The U.C.: Instagramming subculture uplifts scrolling, double-tapping fingers


Instagram has millions of fingers scrolling. Since its release in October 2010, the popular social media app has grown to more than 800 million users — that’s two and a half times more than the population of the United States. Of those 800 million, 77.6 million Instagrammers are from the United States, with about 870,000 users in Utah. Each has a feed full of squares that tell the story of life. With more than half of Instagram users being female between the ages of 18 and 29, comparison is a common side effect. Posts from popular Instagrammers can appear staged, making them look unrelatable. Pretty pictures that exude a perfect, unattainable life have given the social media app a bad rap. But a subculture of Utah’s inspirational Instagrammers are shifting the culture from phony to personable. They’re honest, they’re sincere, they’re influential. They’re showing others it’s OK to be yourself and love it; it’s OK to have an imperfect life and embrace it. Meet three inspirational local Instagrammers who are changing the world of double tapping. Plus, check out the terms, places and rules of this trendy subculture.

The Places

While most influential Instagrammers consistently create content from home, these events offer skills and inspiration to assist in building a personal brand.

The Alison Show’s ‘Build an Awesome Brand Workshop’

At a conference hosted in Provo by Alison Faulkner of “The Alison Show,” Alison teaches how to clearly define a brand and to communicate that to followers for an authentic and engaged following.

Alt Summit

This three-day conference for innovative social media influencers teaches techniques to help build a brand. Although past Alt Summits have been in Utah, the next event is Feb. 26–28 in Palm Springs, California.

SNAP Conference

Each April in Salt Lake City, this three-day conference brings together creative bloggers/Instagrammers to learn from each other.

The To-Dos

As an inspirational Instagrammer, the most important thing to do is create content. Timing is the next factor to consider.

Local Instagrammers Elise Hunter and Jenna Toronto Rammell post between 3–5 times a week. Ashley Reeves posts 1–2 times a day. Elise posts in the evenings, while Jenna posts between 7–8 a.m. or 7-8 p.m. Ashley posts at noon and 10 p.m.

When creating content, Jenna focuses on exploring her own purpose and feeling, while Elise likes to keep a list of questions and other requests from followers to help drive her posts.

All of our featured Instagram influencers agree that Instagram Stories (which disappear after 24 hours) is the best way to connect with followers.

The Rules

While there is no cost to create an Instagram account or to find accounts to follow, there are rules to get the most out of your social-mobile-global experience.

Age limit

You must be 13 to use Instagram.

Slow down

You can’t post too much, like too many posts, comment too many times and follow or unfollow too many people within an hour or Instagram will think you’re a robot.

Repost with ethics

To repost from another account, you must get permission from the original poster and then attribute the content to them.

Stay legal, my friends

With contests being a popular Instagram approach, make sure you are compliant with government rules and any rules related to any prizes you give away.

Be authentic.

Jenna suggests avoiding staged posts when possible. Elise advises to always disclose any sponsorships or ads to your followers.

Be considerate.

Jenna encourages protecting people in your life who may not want their personal life shared on Instagram.

Post carefully.

Elise recommends only posting when you’re in the right state-of-mind to keep from sharing something that may not be an accurate representation of who you really are.

Elise Hunter

Elise Hunter, 26, started her Instagram account when she married her husband, Scott, five years ago. After multiple miscarriages and rounds of in vitro fertilization, Elise became pregnant with her first daughter. When Elise shared her story on Instagram, followers clung to her positive attitude. Now pregnant with her second daughter, Elise continues to share about finding hope and happiness in the midst of hardship.

“I hope I can be an influence for good,” Elise says. “I know Instagram can be such an amazing place for inspiration and community, and I want to contribute to that part of it. I also have a large place in my heart for those struggling with infertility and will always advocate for that cause. I hope I can just add a little happiness into the Instagram world.”

Jenna Toronto Rammell

Jenna Rammell, 32, a wife and mom to three, has been on Instagram since the early days in 2011. As a health advocate, Jenna began her account as a way to share recipes and along the way became a tool of service. Now, Jenna shares her personal journey of self-acceptance and encourages all women to be themselves unapologetically. She also uses the platform to raise money for refugees, mental health awareness and other charitable organizations.

“I know I’ve been blessed with this platform as a way to raise awareness and give a
voice to the voiceless,” Jenna says. “I want women to know they matter; that their purpose on this earth and in their families is irreplaceable. Women have such a brilliance to bring to the world — their voice, their love and their compassion can literally change it. I believe it.”

Ashley Reeves

Ashley Reeves, 34, has been on Instagram for five years and describes herself as a healthy, family, foodie girl. As a mother of four, she uses her account to share nutritious, family-friendly recipes. Ashley also saw a need to advocate for self-love and body positivity in a harsh online world and encourages all women to live a healthy lifestyle while still feeling comfortable in their own skin.

“I feel so blessed to have a platform where I can serve others,” Ashley says. “I see it as an opportunity to shed light on places that may not have help. I want to serve, and I want to build a long-lasting business that continues to serve. I want my followers to feel empowered, beautiful and accepted ‘as is.’”

In 2018, we’ll explore subcultures of Utah Valley in “The UC,” including the Players, the Rules, the Terms and the Places. Submit suggestions to


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