By PATRICK LYNOTT May 11, 2018
Your birthday came and went, but this year more people seemed to care than ever. For that, you can thank the creator of Instagram, or whatever soulless, corporate mannequin decided that you needed to see the picture your old camp counselor was unsure about posting for real.
If you can remember a time when “Happy Birthday” posts from every girl you followed littered your feed, you knew just how much each of these women cared for each other.
“I mean, there was a time when we were making a statement. Women were unafraid to waste an entire Instagram post on another girl who isn’t really a friend, but is in the same friend group. Plus, they still had that Prom pic that they looked super hot in so like, when else were they going to get a chance to use it?” says Professor of Social Media at Harvard, Jennifer Slate.
But it seems now that this courageousness has disappeared with the emergence of the Instagram story, a means by which to post throwaway content on your Instagram without tarnishing your perfect streak of only posting pictures that show your good side.
Enjoying the weather on your vacation and want people to know you’re in the Bahamas? Throw it on the story. Trying your hand at some artsy photography? Story that shit. Maybe one showing a little more cleavage than you’re comfortable with keeping on your rinsta forever? St-St-story time, baby. And now, thanks to the existence of Instagram stories, those pesky frenemies that you still feel obligated to congratulate on social media are a story away from being staved off till next year.
You know the formula: one from Prom, two from parties, and one just “hanging out.”
“We found a direct correlation between birthday posts on Instagram stories and levels of “ugh” with each subject,” Professor Slate continued. “It seems that most girls posting these stories actually have a fair bit of unspoken animosity. It says here that Janet hooked up with Rose’s ex-boyfriend, and neither of them have ever mentioned it, but she still felt the need to give her 4 pictures each containing a word of ‘Happy Birthday, Rose!’ including the exclamation point.”
So if anyone wishes you a Happy Birthday on social media, just know that companionship is a myth, and your birthday is irrelevant to everyone. Unless they post an ugly photo collage of you on their finsta. Then you know it’s real.