Instagram's Morbid New Feature Beautifully Illustrates Our Attitudes Toward Death
It's been a strange time for a lot of us for many reasons. For those of us who constantly contemplate death, one of those has been that suddenly, so is everyone else. As a cohesive brand, you don't tend to think of Instagram as the existential sort -- it mostly exists to hawk leggings and jealousy -- but it turns out they've been gothing it up with the best of us. Jane Manchun Wong, who has made a career out of such things, uncovered a feature this week that will allow Instagram users to memorialize the accounts of people who have died.
Of course, this isn't exactly a new concept -- Facebook has been toying with similar features since 2015 -- but it does seem like eerie timing. Sure enough, a spokesperson told Buzzfeed that Instagram has indeed been rushing the rollout of the feature because ... hell, watch the news.
That's bleak as shit, to be sure, but it's also as beautifully absurd as the rest of humanity's rituals surrounding the concept of death. Okay, yes, lots of people are dying. Why should that affect anything about the development timeline of a social media app? Exactly how high on anyone's priority list, following the death of a beloved spouse or parent or childhood BFF, is the state of the decedent's Insta Story? Why not just right-click anything you want to save and then allow that profile to return to the digital dust? Why insist on belching a big ol' cloud of carbon dioxide to store a cyber-corpse just so you can send a DM that no one will ever see? Just go talk to them in person at one of the hundreds of cemeteries in the country, which wastes hundreds of thousands of acres of land to store corpses even though we have the technology to turn them into fireworks just so we can visit them. Oh. Ohhhhhhh.
Maybe those people just don't know how many resources are wasted by millions of inactive social media profiles or that they, too, could one day become the colorful explosive they always knew themselves to be. More likely, people are weird about death for reasons they couldn't begin to explain. Maybe if they just thought about it some more. Could we Zoom about it? We have a lot of thoughts about it.
Manna has so many dead parents and also a Twitter.
Top image: Unsplash/Scott Rodgerson