Look, we all have to start somewhere, you know. A few days ago I wondered, “What was The Rock’s very first Instagram post like?” And, after about an hour of scrolling through his 3,960 posts, I had my answer.
The early stages of Dwayne Johnson’s Instagram are fascinating to observe now, with almost six years’ hindsight. There is absolutely no WAY that the 2018 Rock would let himself get away with posting a picture with such a grainy resolution. Incredibly, the platform was already three years old at this stage – it launched in October 2010 – but clearly even celebrities, with their expensive phones and teams of social media assistants, were still getting to grips with how to post content.
Then look at his second ever post – much more interesting, in fact, than his first.
It’s a familiar sight, of course – Dwayne Johnson is in a gym, wearing Under Armour clothes – but this photo could actually be of almost anyone. That isn’t something you can normally say about Johnson, who looks unlike almost any other human being you’ve ever encountered. Here he actually looks a little shy, posing for the camera like a teenager at school. Compare this to a recent post:
What we’re looking at in the first picture is a man still exploring what his social media persona is going to be. It’s not an objectively good photo; the lighting and the resolution are poor, you can’t see much of the guy’s face, and he looks as though he is posing in a way that is making him feel a little awkward.
But fast-forward five years and Johnson’s image is radically different; he has fun, he’s able to push at the boundaries of his persona, and he is in total control. These days I don’t think he would post a photo like this:
His brand is too valuable, his persona too finely honed, to risk his fans getting the impression that he is a little bit of a dork. The other thing, of course, is that his following was significantly smaller back then. Admittedly, his photos were still attracting around 30,000 likes. But these days? 30,000 likes would be a drop serious enough to warrant some sort of crisis meeting at Dwayne Johnson Enterprises. His three most recent Instagram posts – none of them of anything particularly exciting – have received 462,000, 1.6million, and 3.2million likes respectively.
I certainly don’t want to imply that The Rock’s first Instagram posts reflect the situation in which many of us find ourselves. But I still think that his rise proves something: that we might all begin in a comparatively humble position but, with enough hard work and resilience, we can conquer the FUCKING WORLD!
Stay hungry, stay humble.
(Illustration: Dan Evans)