Desperate couple's 'selfish' act reveals murky world of Instagram influencing

A social media expert has highlighted the fallacy of Instagram influencing being a real career after a German couple were criticised for setting up a GoFundMe page to finance a blogging adventure to Africa.

Catalin Onc and Elena Engelhardt, who go by Another Beautiful Day on Instagram, have asked for people to donate more than $16,000 for them to cycle from Germany to Africa and “hopefully beyond”.

“The funds we raise will go towards the bike and gear, food and accommodation (when needed), internet and SIM cards in every country to keep you up to date, insurance, emergencies,” the GoFundMe reads.

In exchange the couple’s 34,000 followers will be kept up do date with photos and anecdote’s posted to the Instagram account.

But neither Catalin or his partner have jobs, and his mother is working two jobs to help support them.

Elena Engelhardt and Catalin Onc are pictured. The couple, who run an Instagram account with more than 34,000 followers, are appealing for more than $16,000 to pay for a trip from Europe to Africa.
Elena Engelhardt and Catalin Onc have started a GoFundMe to raise more than $16,000 for an overseas trip. Neither of them reportedly have jobs. Instagram/ Studio Solveig

“We could model and make fast money, but we don’t want to advertise consumerism. A normal job at this point would be detrimental,” a post on their page reads.

This is despite the fact their Instagram suggesting you can email them for modelling opportunities.

Social media expert Ryan Shelley, from Pepper IT, told Yahoo News Australia influencers generate income through promoting goods and services.

“They might get paid in the form of free trips and tours or receive cash handouts,” Mr Shelley said.

“Those cash handouts can be very sporadic.”

Catalin Onc and Elena Engelhardt pictured together.
The couple have been widely criticised over their GoFundMe page. Instagram/ Another Beautiful Day

Mr Shelley added, in terms of being a social media influencer as a profession “on its own” it “doesn’t really exist”.

What is a true social media influencer?

"A true influencer already works in their field and has been promoted to that level of being an influencer,” he said.

“For example, surgeon Charlie Teo. Dr Teo's knowledge, hard work and expertise in medicine, particularly brain cancer, makes him an influencer."

Mr Shelley added companies have become more adept at funding social media profiles when promoting products. Part of their “due diligence” is looking at engagement such as whether a post has likes or comments instead of just total followers.

Catalin Onc and Elena Engelhardt pictured in Nepal in May.
The couple pictured in Nepal last month. Instagram/ Another Beautiful Day

As for the couple, Mr Shelley believes their use of GoFundMe is “probably not the best use of that platform”.

His criticism is far less harsh than others commenting on the campaign though.

One woman called them “entitled creeps”.

“Your self importance is staggering! The only thing that you both inspire in me is the increased drive to protect my children from 'influencers' as role models,” another woman wrote.

Another added the GoFundMe is “one of the most narcissistic pleas” they’ve ever seen.

“Selfish pair of grubs, stop bleeding your mother dry, she must have serious problems herself to keep funding you both, grow up and get a job,” another woman wrote.


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