In the age of over-sharing and social media, it is no surprise that valentines day and Instagram go hand-in-hand. Just a simple scroll down your Instagram feed today and you will most likely be bombarded by posts of friends and their significant other, or for those who are single maybe something like a bottle of wine or a pet. The posts aren’t unique, but in the age of knowing everyones business it seems almost necessary to express your undying love for your current girlfriend or boyfriend on social media. I know I’m sounding a bit like a scrooge, complaining about my friends caring about someone, but thats not it. I’ve been guilty of social media displays of affection too, many times. Of course the trend of posting a picture on Instagram to show your love isn’t limited to valentines day, although it is definitely more prevalent today than usual, it takes the form of birthday posts, or woman crush Wednesdays and man crush Mondays.
As someone who doesn’t post often, and doesn’t like to post about personal things. There is a sense of skepticism behind these posts. Are the posts really for the benefit of your significant other, or is it simply a moment to feel validated by the “likes” of others.
I had a teacher in middle school who liked to talk about the value of discretion, not in the hide something that you’re doing wrong kind of way, but in the kind of way where you don’t need to share every personal moment with the world. His message really stuck with me, and maybe thats why I am not a fan of all the couple photos with sappy captions being posted today. For me, when I see couple pictures with sappy captions on valentines day I generally lose interest in the post.
As Instagram has been around for longer I think these types of posts have become ingrained in us as almost a requirement. I know people who were genuinely upset when their significant other didn’t have a birthday post for them, or if the caption wasn’t cute. This kind of culture has seemed to only grow with the growth of Instagram and other social media platforms. Simply caring for someone doesn’t seem to be enough unless you are posting about it on every platform you can.
This type of post seems to create two reactions, there are those that find it cute and romantic, and those who don’t. But it seems as if the people who don’t are typically less vocal than those who do because it seems that the number of posts grow each year. The couples photos that fill our feeds every valentines day make me think of what many early twitter critics seemed to say, “who cares?”
We have always liked knowing what is going on in other peoples lives, however it seems that as social media has grown, so too has the view that everyone cares about everyone else’s personal lives. Whether they are getting snippets in 140 characters or less, or from grandparents on Facebook, or just about everyone else on Instagram it seems as if everyone wants the world to know everything, even the should be personal notes to your boyfriend or girlfriend.
It has been said that social media is actually making us less social in person as we’d rather be behind our screens, but is it also making us less romantic? I would argue that flowers are better than a post on social media, and that sharing a private moment or message with someone is better than sharing it with the world. But in our social media driven age, it seems that I would be wrong. Who would want a handwritten card when you could have a caption with emojis?
When I was little I was always grossed out by public displays of affection, making out in public is a bit aggressive, it was then and it is now. To me these couples posts are the digital version, the social media displays of affection are just as unnecessary to me as PDA. Im happy for friends who have someone they care about, but I still don’t need to see there sappy post with the person they’ve been dating for a month. These valentines day posts just stand to remind us that social media was made because we like an audience, and that is no exception today. Even knowing that my feed is all couples photos with cheesy captions, I am still hooked on social media and have been checking it constantly today. Social media platforms like Instagram have made it impossible to not be interested in peoples personal lives, including about the boy/girl they love with all there heart, because over-sharing is the norm now. It’s whats expected of us.