Dragging one’s thumb down on their Instagram feed, in the hopes of refreshing it and for new content to appear readily available, is usually an indicator of extreme boredom. During a global quarantine, however, when boredom comes as naturally as breathing, refreshing our feed has become just part of the daily routine like brushing your teeth. So it’s no surprise that with all of this excess time being spent staring at social media that people would find new ways to share things about themselves- and a lot of it.
First, we saw a trend of Instagram story “challenges,” unearthed from about 2014. It began as a girl positivity challenge: post a nice picture of yourself and then tag ten friends to post one of them as well. Then we began seeing a surplus of random challenges, from posting a picture of people playing their sport to videos of them climbing into their doorways and shortly defying gravity.
Next came the bingo boards, which stuck around much longer. Horoscope bingo, CPS high schools bingo, and even people making their own boards about themselves for their friends to take, began popping up in Instagram and Snapchat stories everywhere. Social media began to look like Friday night at a nursing home. And while many cynics were quick to call this new trend “annoying” and bash on people for posting little games about themselves, I believe there is absolutely no reason to complain.
To begin with, I completely understand the thought process behind the creation and posting of the challenges and bingo boards, and I think a lot of you do, too. Actually finding a picture to post for the challenge or filming a video of yourself or crossing out slots in a “Never have I ever” bingo board feels like you’re accomplishing something, while really it’s just another mindless activity. Which is perfect for a quarantine! Because when you’re finished you have an end product that you created, no matter how silly the process, and better yet, you got to sit right there where you were when you started and your brain got to stay off. Lovely.
The challenges and personal bingo are also enticing to create because, let’s face it, we all love talking and thinking and sharing about ourselves. We would all gladly fill out a 100-question test if all the questions were about us- it’s attention! And especially during a stay-at-home order when we don’t get to see our friends everyday and receive affirmation, posting a “Sad girl bingo” board on Snapchat and watching the views roll in will have to suffice.
Along with an understanding mentality as to why we post them, there is a choice that goes into actually viewing those people’s stories or not. Just because Susan posted a rather annoying amount of personal bingo filters on her story does not mean you are obligated to watch them. If you choose to watch Susan’s stories, that’s on you, not Susan. So you don’t get to complain that she posted a lot, or about anyone else for that matter. If you’re bored of seeing the trends everywhere, then go do something else! No one is by any means forcing you to sit there and stare at people’s social media stories for hours and hours- go pick up a book!
And finally, by everyone posting all this random knowledge about themselves, we’re getting to learn more about each other. We really don’t have many obligations during this time, so we might as well get to know everyone a bit better. When someone posts a “Camp Shawashanee Bingo,” I love it! It’s a cool opportunity to learn more in-depth about someone else’s fun and unique experiences that we otherwise would probably have never had. And if you find yourself genuinely not caring what a person on your social media is up to, then maybe you should reconsider who you’re following.