The following piece is a satire. All content and material cited in this satire is fiction and has been dramatized for authorial effect.
In the day and age when a posed photo of people smiling is becoming increasingly hard to find, one local mother-daughter team pulled out all the stops to, in their words, “develop an aesthetic” that could get the young 16-year-old noticed by her peers on the internet.
With “Spring Break mood” photographs becoming all the rage on social media sharing sites like Instagram–and even the less ostentatious VSCO–as the weeklong break from school approaches, local Lake Forest teenagers are digging through the electronic annals of their phone to find the perfect wind-whipped, half-smiling, sun-kissed candid shot from yesteryear’s exotic luxury vacation. From there, only a perfect caption remains, replete with a sarcastic yet haughty caption noticeable enough to garner the Insta-fame that so many teens desperately crave.
Sheridan Sepia, who moved to the North Shore from Ohio earlier this spring semester, realized all too soon that she would be an anomaly without a post this week. Thus, in a creative leap, mom and daughter took to the local Lake Forest beach to re-create a South American excursion that never happened.
“Truthfully, I was doing my best to help my daughter acclimate to a new, high-pressure environment,” mentioned Karen Sepia, who feels both disheartened and helpless after what transpired at school the day after the photo was posted to the younger Sepia’s Instagram and VSCO account, @new2highschool. “I looked at the exemplar photos she showed me of her friends, and I couldn’t figure out who the photographers were. It had to be their mothers. Sheridan is being lambasted simply because we had to take our own photos designed to replicate Spring Break in March.”
Though many high school students denied interview requests as to who their candid photographers were, each condescendingly assured the Forest Scout that it was not their moms. The growing trend with internet candids–especially that of the vacation variety–is to act entirely like you are doing something else, be it turning to talk, gazing at the horizon, or walking aimlessly in no apparent direction, all for the sake of a staged (yet seemingly happenstance) photograph. In fact, according to the National Center for Teen Social Media Use, 97% were in violation of the school’s appropriate dress and personal conduct code, which potentially makes the situation even more troubling.
Sheridan Sepia, still broken up about how the situation unfolded, analyzed her lack of preparedness when it came to taking the perfect candid. “The lack of location was an easy giveaway,” admitted Sepia, “and I didn’t have a prop. Usually a taco or an ice cream cone or even someone else to playfully half smile at solidifies legitimacy. That would have been ideal.”
After much deliberation, Sepia admits that it would have been much easier to fall in line with the hordes of others who posted a celebratory photo of their revelry at the city’s annual St. Patrick’s Day parade instead. According to research conducted by the National Center for Teen Social Media Use, 83% of high-school-aged females posted a ‘vacation memory’ picture in consecutive fashion with a ‘patty’s day pic’ in the last week. “Generally, March always brings traffic because of those two events,” remarked a survey conductor. “It pales in comparison only to the Fourth of July in terms of popularity.”
“At the very least, I could have just waited a week and done the obligatory, ‘Ugh. Take me back’ shoot,” she mentioned, hinting at a feeling of exhaustion. Sure, Sheridan, it would have been much easier. But strategic social media posting is not for the faint of heart.