Parents Just Don’t Understand: Social Media Stars Go Home for the Holidays

“Do you make money?” and other questions our popular friends in social media endure while home for the holidays.


So, you’re a social media star and you’re home for the holidays. Chances are at some point at the dinner table you’ll have endure a round of, ‘What is it exactly that you do for a living?’ from your extended family of nosy aunts and annoying cousins. Who are you talking to when you tweet? Why would you post photos on Snapchat that disappear? What does #tbt mean? For social media stars like Jia Jia Fei, Eileen Kelly, Parker Kit Hill, the answers aren’t so simple. Here, we asked them how they explain Insta-fame at the dinner table.

How do you explain your Instagram to your family? @KillerAndASweetThang: I don’t ! I never really talk about my Instagram with them besides, maybe, my brother. My dad doesn’t even know what Instagram is but he knows I’m active on it and work off of it. They’re very supportive without being involved, which is nice. But to answer your question, no, I don’t show them. It’s not really spoken about. @OliviaLocher: My immediate family all understand how much I love Instagram. When I’m visiting home they have even gone as far as assisting me to achieve the perfect Instagram shot! Most of the rest of my distant family doesn’t fully understand. One or two of my teenage cousins even blocked me because apparently my content is too provocative for them to follow. To each his own. @ParkerKitHill: Well when my family asks about my social media I usually just tell them that it’s just for fun but, I usually try not to bring my social media up in conversations because it can get awkward quick. I show a different side of myself on the Internet than I do with my family and it’s like really hard for them to understand because I’m usually the quiet one at any kind of family gathering. @VaJiaJia: My parents understand Instagram as an app on my phone that lets me e-mail a photo to 50,000 people. Close enough!

Photo by @killerandasweetthang.

What questions do they ask about what you do for a living? @VaJiaJia: For the longest time my mom thought I was a web designer because she vaguely understood I did something related to art on the web. Now she knows my job is related to marketing, but I don’t think she gets what that means either. @KillerAndASweetThang: My dad sometimes tries to understand what I do but he’s not really up to date with the whole social media thing. I think they just wonder how I make money from it especially since I don’t do any promo on my Instagram. It’s not so much what I do currently, it’s more my plan for the future. That’s completely understandable because Instagram won’t last forever. @ParkerKitHill: First they’ll ask stuff like: “Do you make money from the Internet?” or “Do you have a job?” and I’ll just say, something like, “No, I don’t have a job, but I do get paid sometimes.”

What’s the funniest question a family member has asked you about social media? @VaJiaJia: In reply to a selfie: “self-taken?” @OliviaLocher: A lot of people in my family were under the assumption that I worked for Instagram and that I got paid simply to Instagram. @AGuyNamedPatrick: I get plenty of comments about how much coffee I post or how much I travel. @KillerAndASweetThang: Sometimes uncomfortable questions get brought up though! Especially revolving around maybe more provocative pictures I’ve posted. @ParkerKitHill: The funniest thing that one of my family members has asked me about my social media has got to be the time when my grandma said “So… who is Vine? Are ya’ll dating because I keep on hearing that you’re attracted to it.” I cried.

Photo by @parkerkithill.

Do your parents have social media? @VaJiaJia: My parents just started using WeChat, a Chinese social media and messaging app. They are basically teenagers now, checking their phones all the time. @OliviaLocher: My Dad is on Instagram, he’s getting better at it! Mom hasn’t caught on yet. She has Facebook. @KillerAndASweetThang: No, thank god. Imagining my dad having an Instagram is pretty hilarious. @ParkerKitHill: OMG, yes! My mom. She posts way more selfies, outfits, pictures of food, her make up, her hair, and just basically her entire life. I love it. Her Instagram is @yvonne4eyes.

What’s the most embarrassing thing they’ve posted? @VaJiaJia: Any type of emoji. @OliviaLocher: Sometimes my Dad will repost the same image with different filters. He recently learned that he can upload photos instead of using the camera in the app. On Facebook my Mom shares the worst memes possible. She also re-shares almost everything I post on my wall. @ParkerKitHill: Luckily my mom will ask for my approval before she posts something of me on her Instagram, so you won’t find any photos of me in a bathtub with my little baby butt out.

Photo by @aguynamedpatrick.