Instagram is like a personal museum exhibiting the best photos and videos of yourself, so --of course-- not one single post would be about you chilling in your house, spending what felt like five minutes but is really an hour mindlessly scrolling through Instagram, jumping through Snapchat stories, and watching entertaining YouTube videos even though every other teenager in the twenty-first century goes down that rabbit hole daily, Alice. When someone thinks “best version” of one’s self, that scenario just doesn’t come to mind.
But now that school’s out, it means even more screen time for teens to fabricate their “best life” on their online portfolios!
I wanted to know what teens are posting in the summertime, so I asked ten 15-16 year olds if I could analyze their Instagram to see what they have posted since June 1st, and if I had to describe “summer” in three words based on the eighty-one Instagram posts from the ten accounts, then these are what would come to mind:
When I see my friends post pictures of themselves traveling or hanging out with others, I sometimes feel obligated to get out of my house so I can document my experiences and impress my followers.
Do other young adults feel this way? I wonder if adults feel this way too.
I asked the same ten people if they feel inclined to record their life, and there were mixed answers. Those who do not feel the need to post what they do is because they mainly publish their content for themselves and not for their audience. For some, they do not necessarily have to document, but it is nice to keep their friends up to date with what they are doing and to see what they think about the material. For others, they upload to their page when they feel forgotten and feel the need to impress others.
It’s not unusual to have thoughts about being forgotten. During this time of year, teenagers are not going to see the same people they see five days a week for nine months. Teenagers --even if it’s not something they regularly think about-- are going to post on social media for empowerment.
People can obsess about the numbers on their page like the number of likes they get on a post, or the number of comments per post, or the number of followers they have. I, personally, experience these feelings, but I also realize that it shouldn’t matter. It’s a heartwarming feeling when people compliment you about your post, but what we have to realize is that the number of comments, likes, or followers do not and should not determine how we see ourselves.
As someone still in their youth, I think I can speak for the majority of teens when I say that we are people just trying to find out who we are as individuals and where we belong in today’s society; in doing so, we try to impress others with how we present ourselves whether via online or in person. Nevertheless, we should not feel obligated to have to do something just because everyone else is doing it.
Even though social media is a powerful tool, it’s always worth keeping in mind that there is much more to someone’s life than their profile.