Though I ultimately opted against adding more salacious content to the Instagram amount that I inherited from Alicia, I did find myself curious about what I could do with itbeyond simply treating it as a repository of photographs for future reference. I may, after all, find my next set of circumstances one where an understanding of the market dynamics of social media could be quite valuable, and the best way to learn new things is through experimentation.
So, if the content was not going to change much, what other variables could I consider? Engagement seemed the most obvious, so I started replying to comments, and occasionally following the accounts of one's that had something interesting to say. I would occasionally make notes on what certain people liked or questioned, keeping it in mind when taking photographs. Look a bit wanton when mostly undressed for the men, excited when trying new clothes on for the women, make sure there is both something familiar and obscure when sightseeing. When following someone else, especially one with a larger audience than oneself, comment quickly and simply if she just wants validation; ask questions if she seems to be looking for people who share her interests.
It seems simple enough, but with the right raw materials and the discipline to post regularly enough that one's followers don't feel neglected, one can grow an audience fairly quickly; by the end of July I had gone from 20,000 followers to 75,000.
And my roommates treated this as some kind of accomplishment! I had changed very little about how I lived my life, but having total strangers "like" what they saw apparently made that life noteworthy, rather than cause to roll their eyes and treat me as an antisocial snob. They started asking questions about what I'd been up to, and recommendations for what to see in cities that they had visited more often than I had.
I did hit a plateau in August, and thought that might be the end of the experiment, which was something of a relief - the amount of time these "influencer" people must spend on targeted interaction and filtering the most grotesque things that people try top attach to their profiles while not coming off as heavy-handed or some such must be extensive, as I found that an account which posted roughly a picture or two a day might need an hour's maintenance every night. I was quite ready to simply go back to using the site for my original propose and let those other people continue to pay attention or not as they would.
But then one of the comments caught my eye, saying that I should have a podcast or a YouTube channel. I had given something along those lines some thought, of course, every time somebody said that a place I had visited and my description of it was interesting, but I was thinking more in terms of a book. This suggestion seemed more in line with what somebody my apparent age would do.
I mentioned this idly to "Barbie" and her eyes practically lit up, and she quickly opened the locker at the foot of her bed to pull out a video camera, then scooted to the other side of the room to point it at me. The lens moved and then the red light came on, and she asked me about my favorite place to fly.
"I'd rather not."
"No, you totally should! Come on - what's the place you're always tempted to over-bid on?"
I roll my eyes and start talking about a sculpture garden in New Mexico which is far from my favorite destination, mentioning how the dry air preserves the work although the hippies who live in the area are nearly as amusing. I expect her to turn it off, but she doesn't, instead waiting until I'm done and saying it was "awesome", and that I must have wanted to be a teacher before getting into this. I told her I'd given it some thought.
She says this could be the basis for a channel, that there are men who go on for hours on YouTube about how new science-fiction films are evidence of a conspiracy against the male gender, and I am far more interesting and attractive than they are. Not untrue, I admit, and we eventually start having out the idea of the channel/"show". She comes up with the title, saying that even if I never actually do anything more risqué than wearing a short skirt, it will get attention, even if it really means I can do shows on whatever I want (and looks at me blankly when I say it's straight out of The Match Game).
The next day is a mutual day off for us, so we crisscrossed the city with her camera, me delivering "lectures" on the various pieces of WPA at in the area, something that one would think people her age would know about, what with their belief that everyone is an artist or a "maker" deserving of support and fondness for politicians who openly identify as socialist, though I suppose their not reading history is why they need videos like these to spoon-feed it to them. And though I describe them as lectures, they are not much like standing in a classroom. There s just Barbie and the camera, telling me to smile more, flirt, or "pretend [I am] telling [my] boyfriend about one of [my] favorite things".
Ridiculous, even if it does apparently make for good Internet video. We waited a bit to post it, making a few others at various stops and shooting some new footage as we got more familiar with the process, eventually deciding to bank a few before starting to upload them on Thursday mornings and regularly mention them on my social media accounts over the next few days.
We sent the first one out before working a round-trip to Dallas on September 5th, and she was disappointed to see it did not immediately get many views, and just almost forgot about it until my phone started buzzing while I was in the shower. I didn't recognize the name of the daughter of s some celebrity who has not herself accomplished anything who re-tweeted our link, but Barbie did, her eyes going wide as she opened her laptop. The counter on my new YouTube channel was incrementing quite rapidly. "Is this unusual?"
She looked from it to me, eyes wide. "Is this unusual? It's huge! You're huge!" Or faces were close, and out of nowhere, she kissed me on the lips.
I did not see this coming, but I had not forgotten how to respond, kissing her back and pulling her closer. For all that the sensation of our breasts together was surprising, it was not unpleasant, and she has a quite impressive bottom which was soon in my hands, being pulled from her seat. I unzipped her uniform while she worked the buttons on my pajamas, and soon we were on my bed, her back to my chest, my hands spring her breasts while I kissed her neck. Soon one found its way lower, and I found that I had not completely lost practice in pleasing a woman.
She seemed to come out of her trance when she turned around and kneeled on the floor, her face being level with my pelvis seeming to surprise her. "I'm sorry, I can't... I shouldn't have... I've never..." And then she started crying.
I was briefly annoyed, but tried to shrug it off. "Not to worry," I said while replacing my pajama top, "we were excited, and this was something of a first for me as well. Now, go take your turn in the shower and when you come back, it will be like it never happened."
"Yeah, that's probably for best." She pulled a t-shirt and sweatpants from her dresser and headed for the bathroom.
We have been cordial since, continuing to work on the channel and mostly assigned to the same flights. I do, on occasion, find myself curious about what would have happened had she not gotten cold feet - she is the sort of young woman that I have long favored, even if she does not have the same academic background - but this shape obviously makes circumstances different. In the meantime, we work together both in the air and on the ground.