Instagram: the unsung hero of the pandemic

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Photo by Abby Jarecki

Sammy Salz, R3 Features Editor

Dear Instagram,

On behalf of all Instagram users, I would like to personally commend you for everything you have achieved over the past couple of wild weeks. I’m not talking about giving me advertisements that make me question how exactly you knew I was thinking about buying those Adidas sneakers earlier. I’m also not talking about filling my explore page with pictures of ice cream that make me hungry immediately after I eat breakfast. No, I’m talking about kick starting some of the most significant online movements that this world has ever seen: the coronavirus challenges. 

Without a doubt, one of the most inspiring challenges to come from this movement is the “Until Tomorrow” challenge, where users have to post something cringeworthy with the caption “Until Tomorrow” and delete it after one day.  Sure, scientists may be putting in tons of time in the lab to create vaccines, but that is nothing compared to the sacrifice my neighbor made when she left a photo of herself wearing a clown wig up on her profile for a whopping 24 hours. Now that takes guts. According to the old cliche, laughter is the best medicine, so Instagram, I think you may have helped us discover a cure of our own. After all, there’s no higher form of comedy than browsing through strangers’ blurry selfies.

Another one of my absolute favorites has to be the positivity challenge, a super impactful challenge in which users post their favorite picture of themselves to their story and tag five other friends to do the same. It’s true, nothing spreads positivity to others like a good old-fashioned mirror selfie; it reminds us of the joyous time when we once put clothes on our body that didn’t begin with the word “sweat.” Seeing a picture of that girl who went to my summer camp three years ago holding up a peace sign to the camera really wiped away all of my negative thoughts, including: Why haven’t I been tagged in one of these posts yet? Would I even have five friends to tag? How, would I know? I haven’t seen anyone but my mom in weeks!

From the bottom of my heart, Instagram, I would like to express my greatest appreciation for you during this crazy time in all of our lives. There is no other app that could make three hours of scrolling through these challenge posts and memes feel like five minutes, which for the first time, may actually help me out instead of make me late for another project deadline. Whether it’s by being the perfect symbol of positivity or the source of all my laughter, there’s nothing that makes me forget I’m essentially living through the apocalypse quite like you. Here’s to who-knows-how-many-more months of wonderfully mindless scrolling!

Yours forever, 

Loyal Instagram User