Aided by the amplification through social media, “hustle porn” encourages unhealthy work habits 

C/O Prateek Katyal on Unsplash

By: Kimia Tahaei, Contributor

Social media has definitely been fruitful in the past decade with influencers sharing their expertise, educating others and promoting positivity. However, some influencers, such as Gary Vaynerchuck, advocate for “hustle porn.” A freshly coined phrase, “hustle porn” refers to the fetishization of extremely long working hours in the entrepreneurial world.

Influencers such as Vaynerchuck, the “self-made” entrepreneur millionaire and internet personality, have taken social media by storm by yelling words of “encouragement” at their cameras. I assume there is an adrenaline rush in recording yourself and demanding your followers to quit their "normal" jobs. Although there is absolutely nothing wrong with following your passions and leaving your day job behind, individuals shouldn't be pushed to this decision because of influencers.

Although there is absolutely nothing wrong with following your passions and leaving your day job behind, individuals shouldn't be pushed to this decision because of influencers. 

Influencers often use manipulative tactics such as showing off their wealth in the background and making false generalized claims to push their relatively young audience to leave academia behind in pursuit of entrepreneurship and business. Vaynerchuck also often forgets to mention how he built off his empire based on his parents’ $3 million wine company. 

Such important details often go unmentioned and all we see is the money raining over a Bugatti in a 15-second Instagram post. Time and again, this embarrassing boast is followed by wanting their naive followers to sign up for a business class or buy a marketing book of theirs.

I wonder if there are any pure intentions of wanting others to actually succeed behind these books and classes or if the focus is more so on developing another source of income? In addition, they encourage a strangely unhealthy lifestyle that is detrimental to one’s mental health.

Instead of promoting a “grind-like” lifestyle, influencers need to realize that continual hard work is not necessarily the answer and it can result in drastic mental exhaustion. As if this wasn’t enough, influencers like Vaynerchuck also encourage individuals in their 20s to completely leave behind any sort of leisure and relaxation.

Surely since Vaynerchuck spent his twenties “grinding”, he now has time to relax in his mid-forties and read Bertrand Russell’s short essay, “In Praise of Idleness.” 

Russell argues that “[l]eisure is essential to civilization.” Not only does he claim that leisure is a necessity, but he also elaborates on the production upsurge that can be achieved through a reduced workforce. According to the British philosopher, if half of the population is overworking themselves, then the others are most likely unemployed.

However, if everybody contributes a normal work time to their community, the quality of everyone’s lifestyle will improve and people can enjoy “time to be civilized.” 

The truth is, the workaholic “grinding” lifestyle is not designed for everyone. Leaving a stable job and a university education behind is a risk not many can and should take. Nothing against risks because they can be great at certain points in life, but the glorification of it can lead to irreversible damages. The entrepreneurial “leaving university” lifestyle isn’t a universally good choice that anyone with motivation can follow through with.

The truth is, the workaholic “grinding” lifestyle is not designed for everyone. Leaving a stable job and a university education behind is a risk not many can and should take.

Studies have shown that a university education is valuable and the value of a degree is annually growing. Ultimately, life shouldn’t be defined by a masochistic obsession of unremittingly wanting to push yourself forward, so don’t let these wannabe “economists'' define your worth by your work hours.

Give yourself frequent breaks, gift yourself when you need to and don’t spend your 20s locked up in your room (well, at least after COVID is over). Enjoy trips, sneakers and fun events as much you can and don’t get intimidated by hustle porn’s senseless mantra. Following your passion doesn't mean sacrificing everything for it.

Check out these eight Canadian leaders, educators and groups for sex, gender and health advice

From providing advice on your sex life to facilitating safe and honest conversations around sexuality and gender, these eight Canadian leaders, educators and groups are here to inform, entertain and guide you through your journey.

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Mela Swayze

An educator, consultant, facilitator, coach and speaker, Mela Swayze does it all. Swayze provides training and workshops on 2SLGBTQIA+ workplace equity and building trauma-informed, trans-affirming spaces. They also provide coaching on sex, gender and relationships.

They are an influential and highly respected leader in promoting queer and trans inclusion practice. Keep up to date with new programming and services from Swayze on their Instagram.

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Yaz the Human

Yaz Harris, also known as Yaz the Human, is a yoga teacher and writer. They teach many different styles of yoga including Yin, Vinyasa and Hatha as well as meditation. Harris also writes about their honest experiences with sex, self-intimacy and kinks. Their feed is full of their raw self, with posts discussing body image, self-pleasures and fun dildo reviews.

Jenna Tenn-Yuk

Queer, Christian and Chinese Jamaican writer Jenna Tenn-Yuk did not have any role models growing up who shared her intersectional experiences. Today, through her various roles as a writer, facilitator, performer and speaker, she hopes to share unique stories and empower individuals to embrace their identities. She speaks on various topics such as 2SLGBTQIA+ issues, Christianity, diversity, equity and inclusion.

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Dev is a queer, transmasculine, nonbinary coach in trauma-informed guided meditation and a pleasure advocate. They offer guided meditation and intuitive readings (such as tarot card and astrology chart readings) for healing and energy cleansing. The services are held and booked through their website, Retrogradient space.

If you check out their Instagram page, you will find posts carrying messages of self-advocacy, reflection and community that serve as a reminder to always practice self-love.

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Kama La Mackerel

Kama La Mackerel is a multi-disciplinary artist, educator, writer and literary translator. They have worked in many different curational and community-based projects such as Gender B(l)ender, The Self-Love Cabaret and Our Bodies, Our Stories. They run an Instagram account that provides insight into their captivating, multi-faceted work.

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Rae McDaniel

Rae McDaniel is a licensed clinical professional counsellor, certified sex therapist, coach, educator and public speaker. They are the founder of Practical Audacity, a gender and sex therapy practice run by queer-identified or allied, trauma-informed therapists.

McDaniel also runs GenderFck, an online coaching community aimed at helping trans, non-binary or questioning folks with transition and their experiences with gender, sexual identity and/or relationships.

Check out their Instagram page for more about their upcoming workshops and services, and get inspired by their educational and motivational posts on gender journey, mental health and transitioning.

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Eva Bloom

Eva Bloom is a McMaster alumna, online sex educator and YouTuber. On Bloom’s channel, What’s My Body Doing, she discusses anti-oppressive, sex-positive and evidence-based videos. Some of her most viewed videos are on improving your sex life, masturbation and handling a pregnancy scare.

She is available to answer all of your, questions on sex and queerness and makes it easy to open up conversations on topics such as queer virginity, self-intimacy and sexting.

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Speqtrum Hamilton

Based in Hamilton, Speqtrum is a youth-founded and youth-focused community for 2SLGBTQIA+ folks aged 17-29 in Hamilton. The group offers a variety of programs, one-on-one supports and community-building opportunities to promote the growth and development of queer and trans youth.

It also offers special services for 2SLGBTQIA+ youth who are new to Canada to help them develop a network and community. You can get updates about upcoming events, peer support services and opportunities through their Instagram.

Isolated from the grey overtones of King Street West lies a splash of pink just east of Hess Street North. Walking into the space, you are immediately overwhelmed with the pleasant scent of freshly baked goodies. As your eyes gaze upon the pink shop, the show-stopping piece is the custom-made swing holding a hundred pounds of sprinkles. For Real Dough (256 King Street West) adds an escape from the downtown core by combining a bakery with the feel of a pop-up museum.

For owner Diana Smiarowski, the bakery was a chance for her to get a much needed change of pace. 

“We came up with [an idea to] mix an element of fun while at the same time my boyfriend was craving cookie dough... We looked it up and saw places in the States but there was nowhere permanent here that you could go. We kind of mixed the two together and we wanted to bring a feeling of nostalgia. I know lots of people [ate cookie dough] and snuck it when they were little. Coming into a place like this with the clouds, the’s just meant to bring you back to your childhood. We just wanted it to be a happy, fun place to come,” said Smiarowski.

For Real Dough is an immersive experience in the heart of downtown Hamilton that meshes the feel of a pop-up with decadent edible cookie dough. Ranging in simple flavours like  chocolate chip to more unique flavours such as cookie monster and dunkaroo. Select vegan and no gluten-added flavours are offered on the menu to ensure everybody is able to try the sweet treats For Real Dough has to offer. The bakery also boasts stuffed cookies, cookie dough paired with soft-serve ice cream and iced coffee served with cereal-flavoured milk with everything made in-house. 

“It’s about bringing a sweet piece of childhood back. We try and bring some fun, creative flavours that you wouldn’t find anywhere around...We see Hamilton growing and we just wanted to bring something to help it grow,” said Smiarowski.

Raw cookie dough is normally not recommended for consumption due to the inclusion of raw eggs and flour. For Real Dough uses pasteurized eggs and heat-treats their flour to allow their cookie dough to be fully edible without the associated health concerns of its raw counterpart. 

From conception to reality, the bakery was set to open its doors after a year and a half of planning and execution. With the giant spoons above the washroom, clouds hung above the tables, and neon signs mounted to the walls, the store was ready for its soft-launch in July 2019 with an unexpected turnout. 

“It was wild! There is always a fear of starting a new business but it has been amazing, especially seeing people come in here happy. They’re just in such a good mood and it puts you in a good mood,” said Smiarowski.

Although the bakery has a lot to offer, the menu is constantly changing with each week holding a new flavour in-store for customers. Basic flavours are kept; however, seasonal treats are swapped out to keep things fresh. 

“Our number of flavours are always rotating and we are constantly trying to stay innovative. It’s a nice escape for people to just kind of forget what’s going on. They’re walking back into their childhood.” said Smiarowski.

To Smiarowski and her team, For Real Dough is more than just a cookie dough cafe. It is an experience for Hamiltonians to feel transported away from their busy lives. Put your head in the clouds and enjoy the atmosphere that has been created to ignite your childhood self.

For Real Dough is not only the perfect place for your next Instagram post but it also has sweet treats that allow you to relive your childhood years without having to leave the city. This cookie dough cafe is not going anywhere, anytime soon making it a beautifully pink addition to King Street West.

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Photos C/O @forkinprogress

Rachel Katz often shares her cooking and baking with other people. After a time, people began to tell her that she should start a food blog. While Katz decided a blog would be too much to handle whilst being a full-time graduate student, she figured Instagram would be a manageable platform. So last summer while she was working one job and had relatively free evenings, she started her food Instagram, Fork in Progress.

On the account, Katz shares photos of the recipes that she’s tried. Unlike many other food accounts, her unfiltered photos project accessibility and make anyone scrolling feel like they could get in their kitchen and make the same meal.

The recipes that Katz tries are not necessarily easy, but she believes basic kitchen confidence can be applied to make more complicated recipes. She looks for recipes with very specific instructions that she can follow along with. She also looks for versatile recipes that she can add her own flavours to. In her captions, she highlights her innovations and provides tips.

One benefit to Instagram for her is the interactivity. It is easy for her followers to ask her questions and provide feedback. The platform also makes it possible for her to share step-by-step videos that break down the recipes into easier steps. This is to prove to people that anyone can learn how to cook delicious dishes.

“I was frustrated with a lot of students… saying ‘oh I have no time to cook’ or ‘I don't like cooking’… [But] food is so important, food is delicious and there's a kind of pride that you get from making your own food that you don't really get from anything else,” Katz said.

Katz understands how difficult balancing food with student life can be. The McMaster grad lived in residence in her first year where the meal plan limited the choice she had over what she ate. In her second year, she shared a six-person student house with a tiny kitchen. In both years, she didn’t feel like she had a fully functional space where she can cook her own meals.

For Katz, this resulted in patterns of disordered eating. In her second year, she committed to recognize these patterns in herself so she can create healthier eating habits. Preparing her own meals has been one tool in repairing Katz’s relationship with food.

In her third year, Katz moved into a two-person apartment with a nice kitchen. In her new kitchen, Katz explored cooking more. Working at the Silhouette also encouraged her as she began to regularly bake for the office. This practice allowed her to receive feedback on her food and grow as a baker.


“I don't use words like clean… or like detox, cleanse… [T]here are all of these other food bloggers out there who use those lines and a lot of recipe bloggers who have these crazy extravagant recipes. But there wasn't really anyone to fulfill the student niche for people who wanted to cook actual meals but didn't really know where to start,” Katz explained.

While developing a healthy relationship with food is important to Katz, food is also a tool that she uses in her relationships with others. Cooking is an activity that she likes to do with family and friends. Her food-related memories stretch all the way back to her childhood.

Katz grew up eating a lot of homemade meals. She is inspired by her mother, who is an accomplished home chef and baker. Not only does she adore the chocolate chip cookies that she grew up eating, but she also admires her mother’s diligence. Her mother can spend months trying to perfect a recipe.


Now an adult, Katz is making her own food memories, many of which include food she’s made for others. For her, cooking for people is a way of shaping their experiences for the better. By making a caramel corn cake for her partner’s birthday, she was able to make the day more memorable. When she makes her mother’s birthday cake this year, she will make that day more special.

However, as the name of her account indicates, Katz is still growing her skills in the kitchen. She wants her followers to continue learning, experimenting and trying new things.

“[H]aving a name that has associations of things that are not quite perfect, that I'm still learning but it doesn't mean that I don't know anything, I think… that embodies the mentality that I'm hoping I can encourage people to take with food and feeding themselves,” said Katz.

For this reason, Katz is not focused on monetizing Fork in Progress, as she and her followers operate within a student budget, she does not want to promote products that are inaccessible. While she would consider a column in a publication, she believes the account can only remain authentic by staying fairly small.

As long as she’s a student, Katz wants to continue spreading positive messages about food and cooking. She wants Fork in Progress to show students that they can make their own cakes and eat them too.


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Photo by Kyle West

By: Ashlynn Labinaz

The results of the recent McMaster Students Union presidential election were released on Jan. 24, with Josh Marando becoming president-elect. Jeffrey Campana came second in the polls, with Madison Wesley and Justin Lee placing third and fourth respectively.

Given our current state of affairs, these results beg the question: did social media impact the outcome of the MSU election?

The simple answer? Yes. When investigating the social media accounts of the candidates, all four individuals created Facebook and Instagram campaign accounts, posting platform content to build a larger following and campaign support.

When comparing the Instagram accounts of all four candidates, the winning Marando had 618 followers, Campana had 512 followers and Lee had 15 followers. Wesley’s deactivated account could not be used in this comparison.

Overall, there appears to be a clear association between the candidates’ social media presence and their election success.

I believe this correlation is attributed to the candidates’ engagement with their followers on social media. Marando, for example, created a new Instagram account dedicated to running his campaign. He posted ten different times over the course of the election, highlighting different events he attended and campaign promises he intended to fulfill.

Conversely, some of Marando’s opponents did not rely as heavily on their social media presence, posting only a handful of times on Instagram.

The MSU Elections Department also acknowledged the importance and presence of social media in the presidential election. On the elections page, there were two appendices: one with candidacy rules and another six-page Appendix A, containing social media regulations that candidates were required to follow.

This appendix was tediously written and included an explanation of how to post on every major social media platform to ensure that no candidate had an unfair advantage.

Clearly, the MSU Elections Department understood the importance of regulating social media during elections in order to avoid potential problems related to digital campaigns.

One increasing problem on the world stage, for example, is the propagation of “fake news” — that is, disseminating information that is intentionally wrong with the goal of swaying thought and opinion. Clearly established social media regulations for candidates is therefore an important step towards addressing election misinformation.

Despite any potential negative consequences, social media platforms have important benefits during elections. Specifically, social media allows voters to make more informed decisions.

In a digital age where information can be retrieved in a matter of seconds, many have become apathetic towards researching electoral candidates. Social media then provides a fast and easy way for voters to learn about candidates’ platforms.

For example, Marando featured an Instagram post highlighting the key points of his campaign. This post took less than a minute to read and provided a basic understanding of his platform, allowing students to easily inform themselves.

The easy access to this information also facilitates one’s ability to compare different candidates and their platforms.  

Social media in elections also provides a platform for direct dialogue between candidates and voters. Throughout each campaign, the MSU presidential candidates were posting, tweeting and sharing. Every social media platform allowed candidates to receive messages from the public, which ultimately encouraged political discourse.

Overall, I strongly believe that social media acts as a useful campaign tool in elections that future MSU presidential candidates should definitely take seriously.

Although some may argue that his popularity won him the election, I attribute Marando’s success to his effective social media strategies. By consistently posting succinct summaries of his campaign goals, Marando was able to spread his message to students in a simple and accessible manner.

In addition, with the increasingly influential nature of social media in elections, students should become more informed and equipped users of these platforms.

Marando used social media to his advantage to help him win a presidential election. Similarly, students should recognize social media’s extensive and far-reaching value as a necessary election tool in this new digital age.


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Advertising is evolving. The ongoing trend of user-generated content on social media websites means that brands should be reflecting on the best possible ways to reach their target audiences. That’s where influencer marketing comes in. 

Instagram sees nearly 800 million monthly users. The accessibility and visual nature of the app serves as a unique opportunity for brands to market their product to almost anyone. In fact, nearly 75 per cent of users will take action after seeing a sponsored post.

Influencers often have niche followings in various different markets. These individuals ultimately bridge the gap between a brand and consumers, and have the power to affect their audience’s purchasing decisions due to their knowledge, position or relationship with their audiences. 

Nicole Rodger of @lovenicolerae, a Hamilton-based beauty, fashion and lifestyle blogger and McMaster graduate has worked with various companies to share their message through Instagram. To her, being an influencer means being in a position to have her voice heard. 

“Being an influencer is more than being ‘a person that gets free stuff’,” said Rodger. “In the marketing world, it is a real life person that can give opinions on an item that can possibly making someone else want to buy it or participate in something.

Rodger has worked with a wide range of companies, from Kiehls, Aerie and Burlington’s Sound of Music Festival. When it comes down to deciding who to work with, Rodger makes sure that the company is one that aligns with her own beliefs.

“I have really put a lot more into my decisions on partnering up with brands this year, said Rodger. “If it’s something that aligns with my lifestyle, then I will likely move forward with a campaign. If it is something that is out of my realm of comfort, I likely will pass up on the offer, hoping it goes to someone more fitting for the role.”

For most influencers, developing a personal brand starts initially as a hobby. In a report from influencer marketing platform, Mavrck, sharing a passion, creative expression, inspiring and connecting with others are the main topics that inspire influencers to create content. 

 Krystle Ng-A-Mann of @dineandfash, a Toronto-based food, fashion and travel blogger started blogging as an offshoot of what she enjoyed doing already. She was eventually able to turn this into a full time career. 

“I was a lawyer for nine years before I quit my job and started to do this full time,” said Ng-A-Mann.”This was really like my creative outlet but it started getting a lot more serious and I got more traction. When I first started, I didn’t necessarily know that whether I wanted to take it full time, but it grew a lot faster than I expected it to. So, it really got to a point where it became viable for me to be able to do this as a full time career.”

The trend of influencer marketing seems to keep growing. Over 50 per cent of influencers started producing content for brands within the past two years, while a third started this past year.  Further, 90 per cent of professionals consider influencer marketing to be effective when we speak about brand awareness, while 73 per cent say that influencers help to build customer loyalty.

“[Instagram marketing] is a really an area that grew in a short period of time over the last few years,” said Ng-A-Mann. “It’s really a privilege to be able to make money from it and to be able to sustain yourself and pay your mortgage and have fun it while setting your own schedule and really doing what you love.”

With social media being a modern tool in helping people discover cities, it’s no surprise that Hamilton’s fast growing arts and culture scene is dominating local’s Instagram feeds. If you’re new to McMaster or maybe aren’t as involved in the #HamOnt scene as much as you’d care to admit, it can be daunting and tough to find relevant-to-you accounts to follow. Here is your go-to guide for some of Hamilton’s most interesting, most helpful and most quirky Instagram accounts!

1. @awakemcmaster - You know those little delicious chocolates infused with caffeine? Well Awake McMaster’s IG account tells you where to get them for free on campus!

2. @macssc - The Student Success Center’s account is prime for seeing various academic opportunities for students!

3. @maccampusstore - Keep up to date with all sales, giveaways and new merch!

4. @bruhaexclusive - Hamilton’s online ticket selling platform has a colourful feed that informs you of all the cool events happening in the city.

5. @mydogscafe - For all your dogs-in-coffee-shop needs.

6. @HamiltonVintageCollective - An IG account that reposts exciting items from all of Hamilton’s online vintage sellers.

7. @sexdrugshamont - Not as dirty as it sounds, sexdrugshamont’s feed is full of landscapes, Hamilton architecture and photography.

8. @933cfmu - Our media sibling here at Mac, CFMU is McMaster’s local radio station!

9. @mcmasterbiogreenhouse - Find out about exciting McMaster greenhouse events, like when the rotting corpse plant is in bloom or when the plants sales are happening!

10. @hamontmarket - Peep the deliciousness and local goods of the Hamilton Farmer’s Market!

11. @gwgshop - A cool local clothing brand that has a fiery IG feed.

12. @munchkinslime - Slime accounts are all the rage right now! Check out Hamilton’s only slime specific IG!

13. @cakeandloaf - This local bakery makes the most aesthetic baked goods for your Instafeed.

14. @so_beerboys - Into beer and Southern Ontario brews? This account is for you!

15. @rabit.Tiger - A weird gem of an account, Rabbit Tiger is a stuffed tiger “taking on [HamOnt] one paw at a time” (I think this is run by a child, but let’s give them some love.)

16. @redchurchcafe - Pictures from one of the most aesthetically pleasing coffee shops in the city!

17. @girlonthewing - Patches, plants and femme apparel, Girl on the Wing’s IG feed is exactly like stepping into her store on King St East.

18. @hairythelonghair - Missing your family’s fur baby? Hairy the Cat can help quell your sadness.

19. @donutmonsterhamilton - Hamilton’s fave donut shop only does limited runs! Turn on IG notifications so you can be up-to-date with which flavours are available.

20. @nolunchmoney1280 - Find out where to get free food on campus!

21. @hamiltontigercats - Go sports! If you like Football, go support our local CFL team!

22. @hamiltonflea - Need to furnish your student house on a budget? Check out Hamilton Flea.

23. @herecomesthebrain - Into dark, candlelit bars with craft beer? The Brain is here for all your eclectic needs. (Also they show their daily pie selection on IG.)

24. @cheapiesrecords - Stay up to date on what awesome vinyl’s are in stock at Hamilton’s favourite record store!

25. @brdtattoos - Need a sick line tattoo in Hamilton? Brett Davis Tattoo’s has your back (or literally any other part of your skin.) Tell him Susie sent ya!

26. @sugarbone - A McMaster alumni student of the Multimedia program, and Insta famous artist, Cheyanne of Sugarbones has all your kawaii patches, pins and apparel needs covered.

27. @ihearthamont - Kristen Archer is HamOnt’s biggest fan. Her Instagram shows you in the ins and outs of new and old Hamilton businesses and events.

28. @hamiltonstreetart - Hamilton is home to many artists, some of which take their art to the streets, literally! Hamilton Street Art documents the beautiful murals and graffiti around the city.

29. @awesomehamont - The Academy of All Things Awesome brings you the most unique pop-up events in Hamilton!

30. @havnode - Havn’s IG account gives you an inside look of what's happening in the gallery and event space.

31. @rebuildhamilton - Interested in checking out unique architecture around the Hammer? Rebuild Hamilton has you covered.

32. @TasteofHamilton - Looking for HamOnt’s tastiest foods? Check out Taste of Hamilton.

33. @hamilton_tool_library - Into DIY projects but don’t want to buy expensive tools? For $29 a year, you can rent them out at the Hamilton Tool Library!

34. @hamfemprenerus - Connecting Hamilton's women identifying entrepreneurs! 

35. @hamiltonburlingtonspca - Dogs, puppers, fluffers and kittens! Check out all the local animal friends that are ready to be adopted!

36. @cupofhamilton - Trying to find the best coffee in the city? Look no further, as Cup of Hamilton does all the work for you.

37. @meetmeinhamilton - Kind of like Humans of New York or Humans of McMaster, Meet Me in Hamilton photographs and shares stories of Hamilton locals.

38. @hauntedhamilton - Feeling spooooooky? Get in the Halloween mood with ghost tours of Hamilton!

39. @hamiltonskies - Hamilton skies are way too beautiful not to take pictures of. Submit yours to this IG account!

40. @mcmastersilhouette

By: Adrianna Michell

The growing food scene in Hamilton demands to be documented. With the influx of chefs and restaurateurs making the city their new home, foodies have followed in line to lend their voice.

Instagram has become the preferred platform to share dining experiences and exciting innovations taking place from King Street East to West. Whether it’s cookie dough on in ice cream cone or one of Hamilton’s many coffee shop masterpieces, the @tasteofhamilton duo Jenn Leeming and Brittany Dinallo have archived the best of what the city has to offer, or as they put it, the most “drool-worthy”.

Launched in 2015, Taste of Hamilton has since built a community of 17,000 followers. They often feature their followers on the page and invite fans of their account to collaborate in exploring the city’s culinary culture.

For someone hoping to build a successful Instagram page or social media network, Dinallo offers some insight into what is necessary to cultivate a foodie community.

“We like to involve people from the community and the [pictures] that they’ve taken, and give them a little bit of the spotlight as well,” said Dinallo.

Including followers in the creation of the feed can also help to foster deeper engagement with followers. Taste of Hamilton sources photos that users have tagged with their own #tasteofhamilton hashtag. This works well when covering new, trending restaurants that followers of other accounts may start searching for.

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Collaboration with followers is vital to generate growth, Dinallo says. “If it’s just me showing you… at a point [you ask], how deep can the engagement really go beyond just maybe… a comment. But the second you actually have people thinking of you when they’re sitting down at a restaurant to eat, I think that’s when you’ve actually proven [you have]a deeper meaning, and a deeper value… with your fans.”

Dinallo also suggests being strategic in the use of new features on the app, like stories or Instagram’s newly released gallery feature. For a feature to be useful, it needs to add value to the experience of the viewer, which Taste of Hamilton has seen with their use of stories. Instead of a single, static image, the account has used stories bring followers into the dining experience virtually.

Taste of Hamilton has been working on creating a website where they can further connect with Hamilton’s foodie community. To them, using a website as a destination for those interested content posted on Instagram allows for more information, and an opportunity to explore an event or idea in greater detail.

Students who want to create a platform may find the needed time investment daunting, but the Taste of Hamilton team manage to balance full-time jobs and keeping their Instagram up to date. They credit their ability to balance their heavy workload to their cooperation and time management skills.

“[You] just have to have a good partner,” Dinallo says. “You really need the discipline… that career-drive to kind of keep it going. Otherwise it can become a hobby, and then it can become a fad, and then it can go away.”

As the Hamilton culinary community continues to expand, more Instagram accounts and other media platforms will be able to carve out their space in foodie conversations; however, Dinallo suggests finding a unique take on what may become an over-saturated foodie scene.

“To be the second to market isn’t always necessarily the best strategy… But, if you can find a unique angle and a different way in that adds value that no one else is doing or someone else isn’t really doing well, then you can carve out your own territory.”

It’s that time of year when your Instagram feed is covered in warm colours landscapes, sweaters, and Pumpkin Spice Lattes. For McMaster students, Fall brings out the best in our campus as yellow, and maroon leaves compliment our stone buildings and our Marauder spirit. With over 377 acres of campus to explore, we’ve sought out the most popular places on campus to ‘gram so that you can get a killer #autumn Insta pic.

1. Cootes Paradise

With a heavy dose of trees, wildlife and water, the wetland located north of campus is filled with many visual opportunities to add to your ‘gram. Sure, it requires a little bit more effort to venture to, but it gives you a chance to show that you’re getting some fresh air without actually needing to go off campus.

2. The Arch

Popular amongst newly accepted students, and soon-to-be grads, the Arch is an iconic piece of the McMaster landscape. It’s perfect for group pictures with friends, fellow club members or whatever MSU service you’re apart of!

3. University Hall

Hogwarts, is that you? University Hall is the building that people immediately associate with the McMaster campus, and it shows: at least every other student has a picture of the tower showcased on their feed. With lush vines entrapping the building, you won’t fail to get an epic shot to memorialize your love for Mac.

4. BSB Field

From picnics to Light Up the Night, to Lake McMaster, BSB field has it all. One of the most underappreciated places on campus, the field is home to willow trees, high wire walking, and occasionally petting zoos. BSB Field always has something entertaining going on, so capture the moment and let your friends at other schools know how cool Mac is.

5. McMaster Museum of Art

If you’re searching for more profound visual themes to add to your feed, look no further than the McMaster Museum of Art. The Museum, which is free, rotates its appealing exhibits semi-frequently so you can revisit to capture new pictures. The art is already amazing, making it easier for you to capture a decent photo. Talk about #InstaArt. 

6. Ronald V. Joyce Stadium / Track Field B

The McMaster fields hold some of the most exciting, and most frequent campus events of the year. Track Field B, the artificial turf, houses countless intramural sports teams, as well as football camps, and sports clubs. Our stadium has been featured on a diversity of accounts, including professors, parents, opposing team members and inebriated students. Featured prominently in pictures from Welcome Week and Homecoming, the Ronald V. Joyce Stadium provides a great place to capture Mac spirit in it's most authentic form: yelling at the top of it's lungs at a football game.


7. L.R. Wilson Hall

The building on campus may be new, but it hasn’t taken long to sneak it’s way into Mac students pictures. The glass exterior and it’s modern design make for an easy-on-the-eyes photo, whether shooting from in the building or out. And since the building features a large amount of windows, it’s a great place for selfie lighting.

8. MDCL Waterfall Room

Check any SRA member or Commerce student’s Instagram account you’ll notice a very common location: the artirum in MDCL. Home to a synthetic waterfall fountain, large windows and many plants, the student dubbed “waterfall room” is the perfect place for your headshots.

9. Somewhere in a res hallway

Maybe you’re planning on showing off what you wore to 1280 the night before, or you just don’t have enough effort to get outside, either way a res hallway is ready and available to be captured. Sure, the corridors aren’t the pretties to look at, but they never fail to remind your audience that you’re a first year who is living up that #ResLyfe

Are these places likely to show up on your friends feed in a couple weeks? Probably. Will they get you a good chunk of likes? Definitely. Let us know your favourite spots to snap a pic on campus!

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