The Art of the Insta-apology - Social Studies
The Art of the Insta-apology

The Art of the Insta-apology

The date February 14, 2019 will go down in history—and not for anything romantic. It simply happens to be the day a National Emergency was announced via the Apple Notes app, for the first time ever. Indeed, Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders tweeted out an official update regarding President Donald Trump’s fight to build the boarder wall.

In fact, scores of public figures have put finger to iPhone, crafting their message du jour—be it an apology, an announcement or a thoughtful musing—screenshot the missive and posted it to their social media outlet of choice. Sometimes these messages are even approved by a publicist, manager and/or crisis management consultant before they go live.

Lady Gaga used a similar tactic to apologize for working with R. Kelly. Taylor Swift clapped back at Kanye West and Kim Kardashian via screenshot to dispute their claims about the song “Famous.” Ariana Grande explained why she licked a tray of donuts that she didn’t buy using, yes, the Notes app.

Which begs the question: just how did the Note + screenshot combo become the new press release?

There are obvious benefits to this publicity tactic: 1) It overwhelmingly appears to be personal, heartfelt, and genuine as it (supposedly) flows from a public figure’s heart to brain to fingers and emotes directly into the cellular abyss for all to see. 2) They don’t require much work as they can be instantly shared following a catastrophe as easy as they are created — proliferating ad nauseam via countless tabloids, publications, social handles and anyone so motivated to share.

We’ve gathered some of the most potent examples of this new generation’s Insta-statements to see how they stack up, at least statistically speaking…

Dolce & Gabbana’s Racially Charged Mishap

Dolce & Gabbana was primed and ready to kick off their latest runway spectacle in Shanghai in November 2018. The only issue? The brand was facing backlash against a series of racist promo videos that featured a Chinese model trying to eat classic Italian fare, like pizza and a massive cannoli, with chopsticks. Stefano Gabbana took to his IG account and @dolceandgabbana to dispel the uproar—but ended up making it worse by posting even more derogatory remarks.


In response, Dolce & Gabbana’s official feed delivered a bizarre message, claiming their account had been hacked. And the uproar continued; the post racked up 147.9K likes as fans blasted the brand for lying.

The uproar continued; the post racked up 147.9K likes as fans blasted the brand for lying.

There were upwards of 73.8K comments on the post, elevating their Like to Comment Ratio (LTR) to nearly 50%. It goes without saying, this was a fiasco that people wanted to express their sentiments about.

Offset Vies To Get Cardi B Back

Offset choose Instagram to air his birthday wishlist this year. “I only got one birthday wish, and that’s to get my wife back, Cardi B,” he said in an apology video. Following reports that Cardi B left the Migos rapper for cheating on her, the groveling post garnered nearly 998.4K views but only 192.4K likes, so perhaps his monotonous (albeit attempt at a romantic) plea wasn’t captivating enough for fans.


Regardless, the estranged couple is now back together and that, at least in the ever-evolving social media landscape, can definitely be considered a happy ending.

Selena Gomez Disputes Her ELLE Cover

Aligning with the ongoing conversation that social platforms continue to encroach on once-untouchable media empires, @selenagomez decided to speak out against her cover story in ELLE’s October 2018 issue. “Speaking from my heart for over an hour to someone who puts those thoughts into paid words can be hard for me. The older I get the more I want my voice to be mine,” she said in a post that received 5.5 million likes.


Gomez also took issue with their description of her involvement in the church—so she used this strategic IG post to share some images of her involvement in the A21 charity. Comparatively, ELLE’s announcement of Gomez’s cover only garnered only 99.1K likes.

Selena Gomez: 1. Big Media: 0.

Gigi Hadid Goes In On a Paparazzi…Who Is Suing Her

You know a celebrity IG post is going to be juicy when the caption is single emoji: 💬. That’s the tactic that @gigihadid took when she found out she was being “legally pursued” by a paparazzi…for posting a photo that they took of her. 


She shared her feelings about the absurd debacle in a very lengthy dispatch, that appeared to be a designed version of a Notes app message, spread across not one, but two carousel slides. The post gave fans of the supermodel something to talk about, as it received around 10.4K comments,  well over Hadid’s average of 2.7K comments.

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