Stevie Martin | Staff Writer | Tuesday, 6 January 2015

Meet The Family Who Bagged @Food, @Baking and @NewYorkCity On Instagram Way Back When

The Debrief: The mother bagged @food back in 2011. No, really.

It’s hard enough getting your own name as a handle, so can you imagine the speed at which the Eswein-Phillips must have moved to get the handle @food? 

The Eswein-Phillips are a family so quick off the mark with Instagram that aside from matriarch Sarah Phillips’s @food handle (with over 300,000 followers), she also has @baking (27,000), her son has @realestate (just 3,800 but growing), and her daughter has @newyorkcity (with a casual 1.1 million followers). 

Here’s your need to know on the family obsessed with all things ’gram – and maybe why you should be glad that your mum calls Twitter ‘tweeter’ and uses such syntactically frustrating phrases as ‘Did you get the Facebook I did on your walls?’:

It only works if you jump on the latest social media fad as quickly as possible

It started in 2011, the New York Times reports, when Sarah’s daughter, Liz, discovered the photo-sharing app and registered @newyorkcity, encouraging her mother and brother to give it a go, too.

After all, Sarah had been an early adopter of the internet, figuring out the use of buying potentially popular URLs and then finding a use for them a little later – so she signed up to Instagram and followed the same procedure, getting @food and @baking immediately.

A couple of years later, and they’re the kings of insta. Erm, seriously, can someone invite us to ello?

Social meeds causes tensions

‘All of our conversations went from typical mother/son to always talking about Instagram,’ Tom, her son, told The New York Times. ‘After a while, it consumes your daily interactions.’

On top of that, if you run a foodstagram account called @food, then you’d better make sure each picture is perfect. Which can cause some issues.

‘You know, if the light isn’t right at the table we’re sitting at, I’ll ask to move tables,’ says Sarah. Her husband responds: ‘Yep, she makes us move tables to a place where the light is better. A few times.’

Not exactly a relaxing meal out, then.

There’s money in it. Obvs.

While they keep the amounts close to their chests, the family quickly figured out how to monetise the accounts – whether it’s restaurants or businesses wanting to be featured, or the fact that Liz now takes pictures for the likes of Kate Spade and T-Mobile, and has a job as an agent thanks to her instagramming.

Social capital quickly becomes actual capital, and the more popular you are, the more people will be clamouring to get a piece of the action. Should we actually start thinking about an ello account? We’re serious.

There are strict rules

Rather than taking some snaps of food before tucking in, there are strict ‘Don’t touch your food until a picture has been taken’ rules, as well as ‘Don’t post more than two photos a day’ rules. Even if the setting is perfect, and the food looks amazing, save it for another day.

It’s a good tip for any overexcited Instagrammers who upload 15 pictures on a night out. But again, not hugely fun when you’re starving and just want to get stuck into a good roast (other meals are available).

It sort of sounds not that fun 

Remember when your parents came on Facebook and ruined it? Imagine if your parents pretty much ruled your Instagram accounts. While they pretty much operate their own profiles individually, it’s sometimes hard to separate family life with business.

‘Stick to your brand, stick to your brand, stick to your brand’ is a popular dinnertable chant from Sarah – and the family often squabble about which pics to put up.

‘Liz will say, “Mom do you like this one or this one?” and I’ll say, “This one” and she’ll go with the other one! And it’s like, “OK so why did you ask?”’

The politics of this sounds exhausting. Let’s just leave all parents out of social media please.

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Follow Stevie on Twitter: @5tevieM

 

Tags: Facebook et al, Instagram