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Are Instagram Copycats for Real or Just for Show?

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Have you ever thought that someone was trying to be just like you?  Maybe its someone in your circle of friends?  Or maybe its someone you hardly know.  A Scottish college student recently discovered that a classmate had been imitating her pictures on Instagram, but in a really odd way.  Let me start by saying that this person wasn’t catfishing, but rather taking the same photos as another person.  This is according to a now-deleted Facebook post, in which a woman named Chloe Cowan spotted the copycat.  As I mentioned, the copycat was a fellow student named Honey Basra.  Call it flattering or call it creepy, Basra would imitate Cowan’s photos – right down to the clothes that she was wearing and even the same caption.

Is this trolling?  Is this stalking?  Or is this just someone having fun?  When it comes to jokes or things of that nature, it’s all about how the person takes it.  In this case, Cowan was reportedly frightened by the existence of the account.  And well, I can’t really blame her.  Can anyone say Single White Female? I’m referencing the movie and not making a joke about these women in any way.

What’s surprising to me is that this isn’t the most alarming instance of this copycat behavior.  In fact, in 2016, a travel blogger named Lauren Bullen discovered a copycat account, imitating her photos down to each luxurious residence that she visited.  Sure, going to the same coffee shop, and taking the same latte picture is mild in this case.  But traveling all over the world and figuring out where this travel writer stayed in order to take the same photos is a bit much.  And expensive!  This really brings new meaning to the word “imitation is the sincerest form of flattery”.

That said, some believe that Bullen’s copycat was a hoax, and maybe even a scam.  After all, the whole incident got Bullen 200 000 new Instagram followers.  And that’s what we don’t know about the Cowan/Basra story.  Could it be a hoax?  Well, Cowan’s account has now been made private, and Basra is nowhere to be found.  The college where both women attend is allegedly looking into everything.  But Basra’s account is nowhere to be found either.  Without sounding too harsh, Honey Basra, does sound a bit like a made up name, so maybe this whole thing is a hoax?

Let’s for a moment believe that both of these stories are true.  Where would this kind of imitation come from?  Is the imitation to be like that particular person and the way they’re living their life. Or does it come from something larger – like an attempt to duplicate their success?  Or is it just an attempt to get more Instagram followers?  I mean, the latter option seems the most plausible, doesn’t it?  It would take an awful lot of time and effort to go to these lengths just to attempt to be like someone.  I’m not saying that you shouldn’t aspire to be like other people.  Look at all the health accounts on Instagram – those are things to aspire to.  But to take photos of yourself in the same outfits or with the same hairstyles seems a bit much.  More of these scenarios will crop up, I’m sure.  Until then…