The Pros and Cons of Instagram Challenges

Illustration by Grace Park

Katelin Godbold
Contributing Writer

Today, millions of people are social distancing and staying under quarantine in their homes. With people spending less time going out and habits changing, many have turned to social media trends, creating long chains of “Instagram challenges.”

Everyone from friends, family, strangers, and even celebrities have jumped on this trend of doing a challenge and proceeding to “tag three friends!” People search Instagram story templates that provide bingo for a countless number of topics for people to fill out, and then they can challenge their friends to fill them out as well.

In other challenges, one person will draw a random doodle, tag their friends, and challenge them to draw the same thing, creating long chains of ridiculous-looking doodles on Instagram stories.

One Instagram challenge that many participated in was the “until tomorrow” chain. In this challenge, people were tagged by friends to post unflattering pictures of themselves and leave them up until the next day, hence the name “until tomorrow.”

Challenges and hashtag trends have been around for a long time and have become a characteristic of Instagram (I mean, who hasn’t done #ThrowbackThursday). But with many cooped up inside, the number of challenges and posts have increased. This growing number of posts has caused some to think of these challenges as annoying and “cringey.”

To counter those opinions though, Instagram challenges should not be considered a bad thing. With the current situation, much of the world currently finds itself in, anything to look forward to and find entertainment in is a positive thing.

These challenges are, in their own way, an emotional outlet for people to connect with others that they are not able to see right now. People post a bingo sheet and fill it out, tag their friends, and watch as they post their versions. Friends and family can communicate this way and learn about each other in an entertaining way.

Besides being an outlet for communicating and connecting with others, these countless Instagram challenges provide a distraction from the stresses that many are experiencing. Many are facing new challenges and a way to distract from that every so often is beneficial.

For those that find these challenges annoying, their points are valid. They may not find it entertaining, and seeing everyone post the same thing may not be appealing. But the beauty of social media is that those people do not have to participate in the challenges, and can just scroll past them if they want to.

These Instagram challenges are an excellent example of how social media provides an emotional outlet for so many during these confusing times. The growing number of ways to use social media to support others and stay connected can be seen through these challenges. People love to participate in them and they even add a bit of a silver lining to our current situation.