Think before you ‘Gram’

Our position: The trend of incessantly posting pictures of life events threatens teens’ ability to live in the moment rather than Instagram the moment. Rather than live through a smartphone screen, an effort needs to be made to ignore the craving to post pictures and simply enjoy life as it comes.

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Think before you ‘Gram’

By Gabbie Gresge, Lyons Township HS, LaGrange, Ill.

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Our generation loves to “do it for the Vine.” We are obsessed with sharing and documenting everything that happens to us. Through Instagram, Twitter, Facebook and more, teens incessantly post pictures and moments of their lives for the world to see. Although this level of sharing can truly bring people together, wasting precious moments during concerts, parties and ceremonies to take the perfect profile picture or choose the optimal Instagram filter takes away from living in the moment and restricts the documenter to life lived only through a smartphone screen.

In the social media-centric teenage world, posts and pictures about events such as Lollapalooza or Prom are very common. Although the typical boutonniere pose at a dance or girl perched on a guy’s shoulders at a festival can be considered truly interesting and worth sharing, the craze of picture posting is moving away from occasional posts to a need to consistently document every moment of life. Whether by subconscious or conscious choice, a trend is growing among teens that compels us to update others on our lives rather than actually living them. Rather than engaging in people and surroundings, we all too often find ourselves tweeting, Snapchatting or Instagramming (yes, they’ve become verbs) in order to contribute to our online identity.

Life is not measured in retweets, shares or favorites; your experiences are not made any better or worse by how many followers you have.”

As the end of the school year nears, sentimentality will be at an all-time high. Although these times are synonymous with the need to document them, the memories won’t exist if the time is spent tweeting rather than doing. The photos taken during these events will no doubt supply nostalgia and spark memories when we look back at them decades from now. However, as social media morphs and shapes our culture, the purpose of pictures is shifting away from keepsake memories and towards becoming the memories themselves. In lieu of keeping photos and thoughts for a later time, we now have an inexplicable craving to share them the minute they happen.

The fact that set photo shoots during special (or even mundane) events are a norm is incredibly sad — we’ve all seen “artsy” (quotes intended) Facebook albums of freshman girls dressed in lace and flowers walking around the middle of a field. Even if the posts aren’t this staged, one hypocritical constant stands out among many pictures: the candid concept. In an effort to make pictures seem in the moment and unposed, people actually pose for unposed pictures. Sound confusing? The teenage social climate deems it necessary to live in the moment via pictures instead of simply enjoying life and letting the pictures come as they may.

It’s a hard, weird habit to kick.

But we can try. Although it may cause some separation anxiety, putting down the smartphone to spend time with siblings before college or to watch a friend’s soccer game will provide more satisfaction than the likes or favorites any post would be bound to receive. Life is not measured in retweets, shares or favorites; your experiences are not made any better or worse by how many followers you have. When we look back on fond high school memories, a memory will be worth more than the likes it got on Instagram.

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