Kim Kardashian’s Return to Social Media Signals a New Chapter

Nearly three months to the day after her Paris robbery—during which an estimated $5.6 million worth of jewelry was stolen from her hotel room—Kim Kardashian West returned to social media, with a photograph of her family that she posted on Twitter and Instagram. The caption was stark and straightforward, reading, simply, “family.” The photo itself looked to be heavily filtered, appearing filmic or acid-washed. But it was unmistakably Kardashian: the four members of the family were wearing matching white and the facial expressions were wistful, stoic. It definitely seems likely Kim (and Kris Jenner?) scanned through about a hundred options before selecting this one. The image, and corresponding caption, seems almost like an establishing shot in a film: the focus, now, is on family and togetherness and gratitude. The picture currently has close to 4 million likes on Instagram, easily the most Kardashian West has earned for a single shot.

The anticipation for Kardashian West’s first social-media post has been high over the past few months. Known as the queen of the social-media era, she was one of the first celebrities to understand precisely how to leverage the art of sharing your life, one image at a time, for mass consumption. Over the past few years, as her fame and her followership numbers increased, her understanding of social media’s core principles did so as well. She knew the importance of sharing enough to keep people interested, while not giving everything away. She knew when she had a “hot item” (say, the first photo of her son, Saint, or video footage of her husband’s conversations with Taylor Swift) and when and how to deploy it—for maximum exposure and force. On Snapchat, she shared glimpses of her workouts, and downtime with daughter North. As is often the case on her reality show, Keeping Up with the Kardashians, these glimpses of Kardashian West’s daily life—relatively unvarnished—were revelatory in their mundaneness (Oh, she reads her kids bedtime stories, too). “I could never see me hiring someone [to do social media],” she explained to me last year, months before the robbery. “For me, it wouldn’t seem authentic. Because it’s all about me, I couldn’t imagine trying to find someone to do that for me.”

Kardashian West’s “brand,” as it were, has always been one that is centered around bold images and careful presentation. Perhaps the visual that is most commonly associated with her is her Paper magazine cover, which is outrageous, memorable, and R-rated. Much of her output could be described as “scandalous”—one night, she posted 15 photos from a wedding she attended in Miami that . . . well, let’s just call them provocative and embed one below. One of her most famous Instagrams of all time features her nude save for some well-placed black bars.

After the robbery, it seemed unclear when Kardashian West would make her return to social media. She has close to 90 million Instagram followers, and many of her business deals are related to the leverage she has from her huge social-media following. It did not seem likely she would never return to the Internet realm. But, as weeks and major events (the election, Thanksgiving, her birthday) passed, it seemed, perhaps, like maybe, just maybe, we had reached the end of an era. Would Kim ever post again?!

It turns out, as is the case for many of us, the New Year marked, for Kardashian West, an occasion to try and make a fresh start. In addition to her “family” post, she also shared a video, on her app, of home-movie footage of her and her family. (She also posted clips from the footage to her Snapchat account—as ever, Kardashian West knows how to utilize all her platforms for their best use-case scenario). On Wednesday, she posted another photo—this time of her son, Saint, with the simple caption “my son” (1.8 million likes and counting). Again, this is a minimalist Kim. She doesn’t appear to be wearing makeup in the photo (and the same washed-out filter seems to be employed on this one, as well). On Tuesday night, she responded to several tweets from fans thrilled about her return to social media—sweet, succinct, and earnest (“Awww,” she wrote, and, “I missed you guys!”). Based solely on these posts she has made over the past few days, it seems as if Kardashian West, now, at least in terms of her public-facing persona, is a new iteration of herself. It’s as if we’ve come back from the summer hiatus of a television series that begins a new season each fall, the characters having been retooled slightly in the writers’ room over the break. If there is a somewhat somber, serious, and straightforward tone to these new posts—no smiles on any faces, no quippy captions—it seems very much the point.

It remains to be seen whether or not Kardashian West will address the Paris robbery, either on social media or otherwise, or if she will return to posting Miami-wedding-style outlandish shots and selfies (in the manner which her younger half-sister Kylie Jenner now prefers). Master at crafting her own image that she is, however, it seems safe to bet that, now as before, she will be curating with intention, a plan for the future in mind.

The Front Row Nude

Here, Kim does her best French nude at Paris Fashion Week.

Photo: From Getty Images.

The Double Angelina Leg Effect

At a certain point, Kendall wondered if she was, in fact, just wearing a really long ripped T-shirt.

Photo: From Getty Images.

The Casual Paparazzi Nude

The fans got up close and personal with Kim’s nudes.

Photo: From Getty Images.

The “I-Invented-Wigs” Nude

Green Wigs and Glam: A Dr. Seuss spinoff.

Photo: From Getty Images.

THE SUBTLE NUDE

No words will suffice for this one.

Photo: From Getty Images.

THE BLUE WIG NUDE

Sometimes you have to give your new neon blue wig the respect it deserves.

Photo: From Getty Images.

THE NUDE FAMILY PORTRAIT

The Kardashian clan dissolved into the beige wall after the Yeezy season 3 presentation . . . never to be seen again. Some say you can still hear the slight murmur of fur rustling in the wind at midnight.

Photo: From Getty Images.

The Front Row Nude

The Front Row Nude

Here, Kim does her best French nude at Paris Fashion Week.

From Getty Images.

The Double Angelina Leg Effect

The Double Angelina Leg Effect

At a certain point, Kendall wondered if she was, in fact, just wearing a really long ripped T-shirt.

From Getty Images.

The Casual Paparazzi Nude

The Casual Paparazzi Nude

The fans got up close and personal with Kim’s nudes.

From Getty Images.

The “I-Invented-Wigs” Nude

The “I-Invented-Wigs” Nude

Green Wigs and Glam: A Dr. Seuss spinoff.

From Getty Images.

The His-and-Hers Nude Set

The His-and-Hers Nude Set

The couple that goes nude together, stays together.

From Getty Images.

Cooking in the Nude

Cooking in the Nude

Dripping in roses and emptying a bottle of wine? Sandra Lee, you’ve got competition.

From Getty Images.

The Private Nude

The Private Nude

Sometimes you just want to get away from it all, y’know?

From Getty Images.

THE SLEEVEY NUDE

THE SLEEVEY NUDE

A look that needs no hands.

From Getty Images.

UNIQUELY NUDE

UNIQUELY NUDE

The feeling when you’re the only one going nude that day.

From Getty Images.

THE NUDE ROBE

THE NUDE ROBE

Pajama parties at Chopard were never the same again.

From Getty Images.

THE NUDE TRENCH

THE NUDE TRENCH

Fun fact: Kourtney sports the nude look the least of all her sisters.

From Getty Images.

THE MOTHER-IN-LAW NUDE

THE MOTHER-IN-LAW NUDE

Kanye was upset. He could’ve sworn he had on pants earlier in the evening.

From Getty Images.

THE NUDE ACCENTS

THE NUDE ACCENTS

’Ye may or may not have stolen Kim’s boots to color coordinate. We cannot confirm.

From Getty Images.

THE KNITTED NUDE

THE KNITTED NUDE

There are about a hundred other photos from this night of Kylie holding this flamingo-like pose, steadily leaning further back, until finally she looks like Keanu Reeves dodging bullets in The Matrix.

From Getty Images.

THE NUDE JETSETTER

THE NUDE JETSETTER

Like Kourtney, Caitlyn has yet to experiment much with the family’s general affections for the nude palette . . . though her first appearance on Vanity Fair’s July 2015 cover may indicate otherwise!

From Getty Images.

THE NUDE HOARDER

THE NUDE HOARDER

When you’re not quite sure which shade of nude you’d like to wear . . .

From Getty Images.

THE HOTEL EXIT

THE HOTEL EXIT

We love a good autumnal nude.

From Getty Images.

THE MET GALA NUDE

THE MET GALA NUDE

Exclusive Report: Kendall Jenner Admits to Being Born a Mermaid.

From Getty Images.

THE SUBTLE NUDE

THE SUBTLE NUDE

No words will suffice for this one.

From Getty Images.

THE BLUE WIG NUDE

THE BLUE WIG NUDE

Sometimes you have to give your new neon blue wig the respect it deserves.

From Getty Images.

THE NUDE FAMILY PORTRAIT

THE NUDE FAMILY PORTRAIT

The Kardashian clan dissolved into the beige wall after the Yeezy season 3 presentation . . . never to be seen again. Some say you can still hear the slight murmur of fur rustling in the wind at midnight.

From Getty Images.

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