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Girl drama is now happening on Instagram and it’s evolved into a language you’ve never seen before.  Not inviting your friend to parties, showing that you don’t like someone, or confirming your BFF status with your other half can all be done through Instagram with a few clicks.

In the Time article, The Secret Language of Girls on Instagram, Rachel Simmons writes about how Instagram is changing the way girls behave with each other online.  What may seem to most people as just a photo-sharing app, Instagram has now evolved into a “barometer for popularity, friendship status, and self-worth” (Simmons).  In the beginning, sharing photos began with the endless frenzy of showcasing one’s creativity which was reduced to a limited number of preset filters and tilt shifting to create “professional” look to otherwise boring amateur photos.  But there’s more to Instagram than making yourself seem like a professional hipster photographer.  It’s quickly changing into a platform to express your relationship with others and the amount of “likes” has become an indicator of one’s popularity.  Girls pay attention to the extreme details like posting at high traffic hours when they think they’ll get the most likes or dissecting a comment to see if he or she meant it as a joke or as a compliment.   Unfortunately, “likes” have become a “public, tangible, reassuring statement of a girl’s social status” (Simmons).

Here are a few ways that Simmons believes Instagram has become much more than a photo-sharing app.

  • Apparently, girls are now writing TBH instead of tagging the photo’s location so that when people like their photo, they leave you a TBH (to be honest) comment.
  • The number of tagged pictures you have indicates the level of popularity.
  • Now girls are using Instagram biographies to showcase their relationships with their closest friends.  If you’re in their bios, you definitely know you mean something special to them.
  • If your angry with someone, you don’t have to say anything.  Just crop her out of the picture and upload.  If you post a picture of a sleepover or party that you didn’t invite her to, she will most likely see it, which makes it the laziest, but surefire way of revenge.
  • Writing long and creative birthday collages is a chance to prove how close you are to your friend by including inside jokes, pictures, and quotes that document the “intensity or length of a relationship” (Simmons).

Social media, particularly Instagram, is still a dominant gateway to the girl’s world that no technologically-disabled parent would ever understand.  There is now a term called, “Instashame” which describes the shame one feels after posting a picture and not getting a lot of likes, which may sound insignificant, but it can mean everything to teenage girls.  Likes have now become a confirmation of one’s level in the social hierarchy.  In addition, the shallowness of one’s affirmation of friendship status online has triumphed over meaningful and deep conversations that often need no validation.  The continuous stream of the highlight reels of friends can contribute to jealousy or feeling of isolation, which for teenage girls, can take over their lives and become a dangerous social trap that reduces their perception of genuine relationships by the amount of likes and posts they receive.

Featured Image Courtesy of Flickr User Summer Skyes 11

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