Kane Mangan’s photos probably don’t need a caption to get thousands of likes. The 28-year-old Australian has always attracted heaps of attention for the watermelon-crusher thighs in his nude selfies. He’s been posting thirst traps on Instagram for seven years now, but recently his brand has shifted.
These days, Kane is all about the trivia.
He captions all of his photos with a “random fact,” something usually unrelated to the photo itself. Now he’s got a brand beyond his booty and bulge. I spoke to Kane about becoming Instagram’s premier “trivia thot,” and why, while we don’t need to take Instagram captions too seriously, those comments can really help you stand out in the timeline… as long as you fact-check what you’re publishing. Lesson learned: We should all put some damn effort in if we want to boost our engagement.
Okay, where did the trivia idea come from?
I’ve always loved random facts. I feel like everyone needs to know just some random facts. Every single random fact I post will have an emoji next to it. That’s usually what it’s based off. One day I was looking at the emojis, and I was like, “You know what? Let’s just do a random fact on this.”
What were you doing before the random facts?
It was just trying to be funny. Funny quote, just playing with words, sometimes just nothing. Just saying, “Here’s a photo for your convenience.” It wasn’t anything exciting. None of those inspirational quotes, though. Not for me. I just don’t see the point in them. It’s just very copy-and-paste. If you’re going to post these inspirational quotes, but then you’re not living by them, you’re just doing it to try and get some likes. What’s the point of that? I just feel like it’s fake.
What goes into an ideal Kane thirst trap?
There’s not much thought into the actual photo itself. It’s just, take my clothes off, take a photo, hope for the best. Add some filters to it. With my Instagram, it’s a lot of photos of me because that’s what the brand is: me in front of a mirror posting a selfie.
I just posted a volcano one. I was talking to a friend about volcanoes and how awesome they are and just how powerful they are. And then I started looking up facts about volcanoes and I was like, “Hmm, let’s do something based on Pompeii.”
Do you think there’s pressure on people who post sexy pics to show that they have a personality and a brain, too?
It’s something that I want people to see. There are so many people out there who post these thirst traps, but they’re just shells. They’re just these hollow Instagram shells. I want people to see that I’m more than that. The whole brains thing, that isn’t me. I’m not massively intelligent. It’s more that I want people to see that I am actually fun, kind and accepting.
And do they? What has the response been like?
A lot of people really appreciate it. A lot of people like that it’s outside the standard box: “Oh, here’s me in my underwear. Oh my God, look.” Well, obviously you’re getting attention because you’re posting a thirst trap. I want [people] to actually learn something from it as well.
How about backlash? Negative reaction?
The first photo I posted on Twitter! There was a Twitter gay from New York who decided to, I guess, call me out on it for some reason. I guess it was the wording I posted, saying that I was going to start doing random facts. He just thought I was full of myself and I shouldn’t be educating. Then, [in] the comments, all these nasty people [wrote], “Stick to the thirst traps.” Which is so strange. You are actually learning something from it. Why is it an issue? But a lot of people defended what I did, and that was really nice. It just shows that not all the Twitter gays are pieces of shit.
When you’re scrolling through Instagram, how much do you notice people’s captions now?
I’m not one to judge. I definitely believe that you need to have some form of comments on the photo. When you post, don’t just post a photo and have nothing. A lot of people, you want people to stop and have a read, even if it’s just, like, a “believe in yourself” quote.
So the caption itself boosts engagement?
All people do all day is swipe. They swipe, they swipe, they double-tap, they swipe, they swipe. With a random fact that has enough wording, people actually stop. They’ll see some colors because of the emoji. So they’re staying a little bit longer and actually seeing the photo. There’s just so many times when you just scroll past the photo, you don’t pay any attention, but you’ve just liked it. You could be given five photos in front of you and be like, “Which one did you just like?” And you wouldn’t even know.
How good are you at bar trivia?
Last time I went, I was horrible. There are things that I know, but for some reason, I’m a horrible person with trivia, which is strange because I like so many random facts. At the end of the day, I just… I enjoy random facts. And hopefully one day I get a message saying, “We just did trivia. One of your photos helped me with the answer.”