Under the Influence with Jo Piazza

Under the Influence with Jo Piazza

Under the Influence is a deep dive into the Mom Internet, a place haunted by aspirational marketing where it feels like every other mom is a social media influencer trying to sell you something, all while posed in white kitchens that never seem to get messy… with toddlers in cloth diapers that never ever leak; a bastion of carefully curated lives that are #blessed.And behind this airbrushed perfection is money, so much money. Billions and billions of dollars.Journalist and mom Jo Piazza looks at how we got here, what it all means and how the commodification of motherhood is driving mothers a little insane. And through it all she wonders whether or not she has what it takes to join the ranks of the momstagrammers, if she too can make thousands of dollars off beautiful photos of bath time, frolic-ing in fields of purple flowers and posing her newborn next to a beautiful latte.

Episodes

April 14, 2022 42 min

Prepare your flux capacitor because we’re going back to the future. In the final episode of Season 2, Jo talks to experts in social media to predict what’s to come in the influencer world. Right now, social media could be compared to the Wild West: unregulated, unpredictable, and quite frankly, unfair to a lot of people. But luckily, with the help of some incredible women, influencers and consumers are starting to fight back. This ...

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These days it seems like everyone’s houses look remarkably similar. White kitchens, brushed brass accessories, exposed beams and all the shiplap. Why, you ask? Because we are all under the influence of design influencers. These people log on to Instagram every day and show you, yes you, how to take your older home and make it look newish, modern, but still cozy and old-timey. In a lot of ways this has been a revolutionary and wonde...

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March 31, 2022 33 min

There truly is an influencer for everything! After spending a week in the hospital when her son got a concussion (don’t worry, everyone is ok), Jo left with a glaring realization: Rule 35 even applies to the medical industry. The nurses in the ICU revealed that they all follow nurse influencers, even post on Instagram during their breaks, and some have over a million followers. But nurse influencing isn't all scrubs sponsorship...

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March 24, 2022 45 min

Influencers pop up where women need them most. They create a space to discuss taboo topics and provide resources when social structures fail us. Fertility is one of those topics, and fertility influencers have a large community of women flocking to them for answers, advice, and support. But not all women feel the same about this content. Are fertility influencers good? They destigmatize the topic and offer free information for an o...

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March 17, 2022 41 min

It is nearly impossible to find a therapist that is covered by insurance, doesn’t have a waiting list, or even just returns your phone calls. Nowadays, we tend to rely more on people we know through social media to provide us with the alleviation of our mental struggles rather than traditional paths such as face-to-face therapy. What are the dangers of this? Being diagnosed by unlicensed advice givers? Being given recommendations f...

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Last week we dove down the rabbit hole of mental health Instagram. We're all in the midst of a mental health crisis right now and frankly we could all use a little help. While social media is often a major contributing factor, if not the source, of these mental health problems, there is also the flipside: comfort creators. These are the people who use social media to post content that you turn to when you are feeling down and n...

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Listen to host Jo Piazza take on the role of guest on a new podcast about the LuLaRoe scandal hosted by Buzzfeed writer Stephanie McNeal.

#BecauseofLuLaRoe: The Dream Vs. Reality

LuLaRoe’s rise coincided with the rise of influencers and platforms like Facebook Live which retailers used extensively to sell their products and host online events. These platforms became the perfect medium for depicting the aspirational lifestyle that LuL...

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March 3, 2022 44 min

We’re in the midst of a mental health crisis. And women, especially mothers, have been hit the hardest. But what is an entire generation of mothers to do when they live in a country where any kind of health care, especially mental health care, is largely inaccessible? A lot of moms turn to Instagram. Mental health creators have been around for a while, but should they be trusted as a source for psychological well being? Do these cr...

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February 24, 2022 45 min

If it exists in the world, there’s an influencer for it. Teachers absolutely fit the bill as Jo learned when a listener reached out to her about her kid's teacher whose Instagram content concerned her. Should we judge how teachers present themselves outside of the classroom? And if we’re offended by what they post, is it legal to demand repercussions? These questions sent Jo down a rabbit hole into the wide world of Teachergram...

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February 17, 2022 45 min

What would it take for you to get off Instagram? The promise of better mental health? An urge to detangle yourself from the algorithm? Or maybe it would take a scare. The threat of someone stealing your photos and role playing as you and your family. Any way you spin it, the decision to get off Instagram is a hard one. But if we’re ever going to use our power to improve the platform, it might be what we have to do. This week, Jo ta...

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February 10, 2022 38 min

Remember the day Instagram went dark last fall? We sure do. It woke us, and so many influencers, up to how precarious making your living off social media can be. It also reminded us just how dependent and addicted so many of us are to a platform that is indifferent about us at best. In season one of Under the Influence we learned just how much content women are creating and consuming on social media platforms, for better or worse. ...

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February 3, 2022 4 min

Just when you thought it was safe to go back on Instagram, we're here to blow everything up. On season 2 of Under the Influence, we’re exploring what it means to be a woman social media. We’re going into different pockets of influencing from teacher influencers, to fertility and mental health influencers, to talk about how Instagram is a reflection of all the ways women are mistreated in our society. And how we might fix that b...

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October 8, 2021 24 min

Momfluencers aren’t the only online creators that have to fight for fair pay. Bookstagram is full of women posting dreamy photos of books and thoughtful reviews of titles, new and old. Their content drives a ridiculous amount of book sales, but do publishers pay the women making these posts? Rarely...if ever. Mostly they just get free books, which doesn’t exactly pay the bills. Fresh off her own book launch, Jo talks to two booksta...

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September 2, 2021 22 min

A stranger recently approached Jo's kids and their babysitter on the playground. She acted like she knows them, like she knows Jo. But none of it is true. Are you terrified? We sure are.

In this bonus episode of Under the Influence Jo commiserates over this crazy incident with top influencer Jess Kirby who completely removed her daughter from Instagram after a similar thing happened to her. Jess made the call so quickly, the way...

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What happens when a mom influencer broadcasts the attempted kidnapping of her children in the parking lot of a crafting store in California wine country? What happens when those claims are completely untrue? This bonus episode dives into the case of mom influencer Katie Sorensen and what happened last December when she falsely accused a Latino couple of trying to kidnap her two children. Sorensen was recently charged with giving fa...

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April 15, 2021 39 min

Over the course of a year of reporting on mom influencers we watched the business model evolve and shift in myriad ways. There are brand new mom influencers on TikTok who weren't even doing this when we started the podcast. And they're killing it! Jo talks to some of the moms who are just crushing it on the video platform and, of course, tries to master TikTok herself. How do you think that's going to go? We also look t...

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April 1, 2021 39 min

In the influencer industry, women make more money than men, but, as in the real world, there's still a steep racial pay gap. There’s an Instagram account that documents this. @InfluencerPayGap brings transparency to the money influencers make from brands and also to document the pay gap between white influencers and influencers of color. Racial inequality is embedded into the influencer space and it weighs heavily on influe...

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March 25, 2021 40 min

It’s no secret the internet can be a terrible place to be a woman. Any woman who ends up in the spotlight faces an intense amount of criticism and hate. For many reasons, the majority of that hate tends to come from other women and in the mom influencer industrial complex it often comes from other moms. After putting herself out there as a potential influencer Jo has gotten her fair share of online hate, but as a former gossip repo...

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March 18, 2021 18 min

In the past six episodes, we’ve travelled far and wide across Instagram’s momosphere. We’ve gone through the history of influencing, learned how to craft the perfect Instagram post, and weighed the consequences of sharing your life and your kids’ lives online. That last one really weighed on Jo. Learning about the potential dangers of posting about your children on social media was a shock and made her question this entire influenc...

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March 11, 2021 46 min

The French have laws limiting parents who Instagram their children. We have no such restrictions in the United States. In fact, social media and the world of influencing are still the wild west when it comes to children, the adorable little creatures whose images are fueling this industry. This episode got darker than we expected as we try to figure out the psychological and emotional impact of sharing images of children online. Th...

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