The Egg: Exposing the Pressures of Social Media
On January 4, a simple picture of only an egg was posted to an Instagram page (@world_record_egg) captioned, “Let’s set a world record together and get the most liked post on Instagram. Beating the current world record held by Kylie Jenner (18 million)! We got this 🙌 #LikeTheEgg #EggSoldiers #EggGang.”
The post quickly garnered attention, as it was on almost every Instagram story people opened in the days following the first post. In just a few days the post accomplished its goal of beating Jenner’s world record of 18 million likes, with over 50 million likes.
The egg is a blatant testament to the superficial nature of society today. With the rise of social media platforms like Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, Snapchat and more, humans as a society have developed an arguably unhealthy obsession with the number of likes on something as simple as a picture. The likes people get on their pictures have turned into a form of validation. The point of the egg was to show how much people value the likes they get when in reality, they don’t carry much meaning.
Alexa Whyte ‘20 said, “The egg garnered so much social media attention, which is synonymous to the attention that we give to social media.” The egg also showed how meaningless many of the things people give their time and attention to really are. As Mark Kabai ‘20 said, “it’s interesting that even though people are so attached to social media and will ‘like’ all these superficial trends, they ignore a lot of the real stuff.” Many people spend hours upon hours on the internet and social media when they could be putting that energy towards more impactful and meaningful activities or in other words, “the real stuff.”. According to a study conducted by Pew Research Center, “Roughly half (54%) believe they spend too much time on their cell phone, while 41% say they spend too much time on social media,” and 60% of teens view the amount of time they spend online as a “major problem.”
Internet and social media usage could pose as a “major problem” for a variety of reasons. It could be that people find themselves wasting valuable time on the internet, or they start to find it difficult to have in-person interactions, or it can even take a toll on their mental health. After the egg account accomplished its goal of being the most liked picture on instagram, it began to post other pictures of the same egg to the account except with a slight difference each time. The egg had a continuously growing crack in its shell that became more pronounced in each picture.
Finally, on February 4, a video was posted to the account. The video was of the egg completely cracking. It was a metaphor for how many people find themselves “cracking” under the pressure of social media. The egg was used on social media to bring mental health awareness. Alexa Whyte ‘20 said that she thought “it was the best marketing ploy ever … getting people to gather as much hype as it did only to use that platform to show the pressures of social media is genius.”
People are always posting the best side of themselves on social media. Thus, when people scroll through Instagram or Facebook, all they see is everyone else living their best life and they feel as if their own lives are not fulfilling enough. So, why do people invest so much of their time on social media and on “superficial trends” like the egg?
When asked this question, Mark Kabai ‘20 – who had found himself very invested in the egg’s progress, checking on it twice a day – stated that it was for the “fear of missing out,” or “fomo” as Kabai calls it. People like to be constantly up to date, to know what the latest news is, and to know what it is that everyone else is talking about. It is so easy to find ourselves swept up in the world of social media where everyday there is a new “egg” that everybody is talking about.
The message the egg account wanted to spread was that it is okay if trying to keep up becomes too burdensome. The egg lets people know that they should always put their own health first and there is nothing wrong with unplugging from social media for your own sake.