Thursday, July 31, 2014

The Insta-Intern

My name is Chelsea, and I’m addicted to Instagram.

Ok, maybe not “addicted” per se, but I do enjoy the occasional filter on the occasional photo of my occasionally awesome experiences here in New York City.

Looking back, I think this posting problem began when I studied abroad in London – before, I was just your average Instagrammer, sharing pictures of my dog and my dinner and not much else. In that land across the pond though, everything was filterable, and it all felt worth sharing with my friends and family back home.

“Everyone posts photos of their adventures abroad,” I thought with cavalier disregard for my obsession. “I’ll go back to normal once I’m back in America.”

But then ASME happened. I came to New York knowing that I would be working at a full-time internship and partaking in ASME-sponsored events, but I had no idea how excited I would be about these things. Now, every new magazine I visit calls for a post. I mean, one of our most hirable traits is our understanding of social media, right?

And it’s not just ASME. New York itself is chock full of Insta-worthy people, places and things. Cool building? Instagram it. Cute dog on the street? Instagram it. Bought a cupcake? Intagram. Weird sign? Insta. Should I use X-Pro II? Mayfair? Maybe Walden? The possibilities are literally endless.

I don’t do it for the likes (though I can’t say that I don’t enjoy basking in the envy of my plethora of West Coast-based peers). I do it because I want to remember all of the once-in-a-lifetime experiences that I have in the big city. Now that my New York summer is drawing to its close, I’m glad that I spent so much time documenting this incredible journey.

I’ve also realized something else amidst the Instagram frenzy. Most of what happened here in New York can’t be explained in a picture. It’s the things that you don’t photograph – the feelings – that seem to have the most impact in the end. This summer, I’ve meandered my way through the subway system, I’ve figured out where the best lunch spots are, I’ve discovered my favorite local coffee shop, and I’ve spent months learning the ins and outs of a national publication. These intangible little moments are the ones that excite me the most because these were the times where I felt most like a New Yorker, the times when I felt like coming back here when I graduate in eight months. 

Just because these moments won’t pop up when you scroll through my feed, doesn’t mean they’re not important. It means they’re special in a different way, and I’m ok with keeping them to myself for now.

Or, I just couldn’t choose a filter.

--Written by Chelsea Stone, University of Southern California, Reader's Digest
--Edited by Gabriela Riccardi, Syracuse University, Family Circle

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