Upon the start of the New Year, everyone is still beaming from the excitement leftover from the holidays, many still fiddling with new gifts and gadgets. Recently, however, these items have become inseparable as we now live in a world where posting about the holidays and what we are up to is almost more important than the holiday itself. As an avid user of social media, it came to my attention that I too fell into the trap of being too focused on getting the best picture or posting the best greeting to truly enjoy the moment that is taking place in front of the lens and screen. With this in mind, I began to pay more attention to the accounts I follow, trying to see if I was, a. the only one who has fallen into this trap and b. if there was anyone out there who was trying to push back against this growing social norm.
To my surprise, I quickly found answers to both of my questions. The first I had assumed was out there in mass numbers, as I found on my own Facebook timeline many of my friends fell into the same digital–obsessed trap I had. When I found more people who were pushing back against this growing social norm than anticipated, however, it shocked my semi-cynical self back into reality. What reality is that you might ask? The reality that there are still people in this world that value the actual moment more than the amount of likes they get on their pictures from it. The kind of people I found, however, was no surprise at all: celebrities.
With their platforms for social change already established, celebrities can use social media as a way to not only heighten their presence on multiple channels, but also to increase their audiences’ awareness of issues plaguing the world today and one of these issues just happened to be how people are now so focused on their activity in the digital world that they have lost sight of what is really important. From a public relations perspective, this use of multiple social media channels not only increases the celebrities’ spread and reach, but also their image and, in time, their reputation. By using their fame to bring awareness to issues like this, audience members begin to associate ideas of well-being and kindness to these celebrities improving their image and reputation and ultimately bringing them to an even higher level of fame.
While researching this, I came across a trend of one social media channel that was actually becoming very popular by more than just celebrity users. On Instagram, the concept, and now hashtag, of the #latergram was being used by users who posted their pictures after they had already experienced that moment without having a tight grasp on their digital device. Adrienne Bailon, one fifth of the ladies who make up “The Real” talk show and a self-ascribed texting addict, showcased this perfectly in her #latergram of her Christmas celebrations with her family. In her Instagram post, she writes, “I’m BACK! Hope you all had a Magical Christmas! I absolutely did! I followed my mother’s request to be present in the moment and stay off my phone for a while. Well, clearly I’m an extremist… it’s been a whole five days! LOL. But here’s proof of my fun!” Like Bailon, singer/actress Selena Gomez also took to this trend as she also posted a #latergram of herself and her friends on vacation with the caption, “Left my phone behind to be present! I’m so grateful for the people I’ve met this year but more importantly for the people who have been consistent and by my side through thick and thin. That’d be YOU. Thank you for another year! Love you guys!”.
Former Glee actor Kevin McHale took his #latergram a step further by not posting only a few days after but a whole two weeks! In his post, McHale writes, “Ain’t no party like a New Year’s party in Brasil! #latergram” alongside a picture of himself enjoying a glass of wine in the tropical destination.
By using the concept and even hashtag of the #latergram, these celebrities are making a statement and using their public platform to change the way our modern society looks at enjoying the moments we make with the people we love. In doing so, these celebrities are becoming more authentic and relatable, two traits that have become the main goals of many public relations professionals to achieve for their clients. These two traits also describe what many celebrities in today’s popular culture lack due to their excessive posting of selfies and other pictures that aim to boast about their luxurious lifestyle. With the #latergram concept, these celebrities (along with other users) are using an absence of constant social media presence to their advantage. Not only are they able to rack up the same amount of likes as pictures posted the same day, but they are also actually able to enjoy the moments in front of them. So for those of you who do or even those of you who do not set New Year’s resolutions, take this into consideration: strive to enjoy the moments of 2016 without needing to post about them at the same time. Let 2016 be the year where you are fashionably late for everything social media related. What difference will it make- maybe I can tell you later.