The Secret Language of Girls on Instagram

Close up of teenage girl texting on mobile in bedroom

Excerpt from this article (an “oldie but goodie”):

Here are a few of the ways that girls are leveraging Instagram to do much more than just share photos:

To Know What Friends Really Think Of Them

In the spot where adults tag a photo’s location, girls will barter “likes” in exchange for other things peers desperately want: a “TBH” (or “to be honest”). Translation? If you like a girl’s photo, she’ll leave you a TBH comment. For example: “TBH, ILYSM,” meaning, “To be honest I love you so much.” Or, the more ambivalent: “TBH, We don’t hang out that much.

To Measure How Much a Friend Likes You

In this case, a girl may trade a “like” — meaning, a friend will like her photo — in exchange for another tidbit of honesty: a 1-10 rating, of how much she likes you, your best physical feature, and a numerical scale that answers the question of “are we friends?” and many others. Girls hope for a “BMS,” or break my scale, the ultimate show of affection.

As a Public Barometer of Popularity

To Show BFF PDA

A Way to Retaliate

Angry at someone? Don’t tag the girl who is obviously in a picture, crop her out of it entirely, refuse to follow back the one who just tried to follow you, or simply post a photo a girl is not in. These are cryptic messages adults miss but which girls hear loud and clear. A girl may post an image of a party a friend wasn’t invited to, an intimate sleepover or night out at a concert. She never even has to mention the absent girl’s name. She knows the other girl saw it. That’s the beauty of Instagram: it’s the homework you know girls always do.

A Personal Branding Machine

A Place For Elaborate Birthday Collages

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These Girls are the Self-Made Queens of Tween and Teen Social Media

Excerpt from this article:

You may not have heard of “Baby Ariel” Martin, “TheyLoveArii” Trejos, and Loren Beech – but if you have tween or teenage children, they probably have. And, if you have a business that either caters to the tween and teen markets, or utilizes social media as part of its marketing, you definitely should learn from their advice.

Together, the three girls, now ages 14 and 15, have over 30-million engaged followers across social media, and receive millions of likes on their posts just about every day – far more than achieved by many A-list celebrities and public figures. And here’s the kicker – all three of them built their entire, massive, super-engaged audiences in well under a year. You read that correctly.

The three girls are all “musers” – that is, users of the musical.ly video social network that I discussed earlier this month, and it was on that platform that they built their names and brands. Ariel and Ari came to the platform in the spring of 2015, and Loren posted her first video last July. All three saw their following skyrocket last summer – they finished their 2014-5 school year as typical middle school kids, but by the time the new semester began last September, they were de facto celebrities. Ariel is now homeschooled, Loren is in school online, and Ari still attends a public school.

Eavesdropping on the Seventh Grade ‘Instagram Show’

Excerpt from this article:

My daughter taught me the unwritten ground rules [of Instagram]. First: It is crucial to have a respectable ratio of “followed” to “following.” I watched as my cutthroat child threw several bodies off the lifeboat to correct the ratio.

At first, she posted mainly pictures of our cat. Boys were “liking” girl posts and girls were “liking” boy posts. While school life was a different world, in Instagram land, boys and girls were desegregating themselves and becoming (virtually) approachable. “Look,” I would show her, “Theo posts pictures of his cat, too.” (Boys. They’re just like you and me!)

Gradually, “The Instagram Show” became a giant downer. Now when my daughter checks her account, she spots photos of real-time sleepovers and birthday parties where girls she thought were her friends are having fun without her.

…During summer break, the photos hailed from France and Greece. My daughter stayed home with a broken arm. She posted pictures of her sky-blue cast and paid way too much attention to how many “likes” and comments she received. Her scrutiny was meticulous: She pointed out all perceived slights. One former best friend had “liked” a post immediately prior to hers and the post immediately following hers. Clearly, this kid was icing her out.

Instagram is a genius at the art of exclusion: It lets you see where you are not. It can also obliterate, erasing you from where you were. To be in a photo and to not be “tagged” is to be rendered socially invisible. Commenting on a party photo, my untagged daughter wrote, “I was there too!” If she had asked for advice, I would have told her to curb the vulnerability.

And then there’s the bioline, which can be used for good or evil. There, below your pic, you add a quote, a motto or a private joke between select friends. While the seventh-grade boys were still using the bioline to provide just the facts their (school, their sports, their favorite teams) girls soon deemed this an appropriate place to list their BFFs followed by a bunch of super-cute emojis.

…All too soon, boys’ names, or their initials, joined the BFF lists in the seventh-grade girls’ biolines. While the girls used emoti-hearts, the boys, I noted, wrote “taken by” before a girl’s initials.