"From a statistical point of view, he wasn’t as popular with everyone out there."
A lifestyle blogger was widely criticized Monday after sharing a post lamenting the fact that photos of her son did not receive as much engagement on social media as those of her other children.
In an Instagram post celebrating her son's sixth birthday, 35-year-old mommy blogger Katie Bower described how it "killed" her inside that little Weston's photos never received as many comments or likes as those of his siblings.
Omg this Instagram mommy blogger is celebrating her sons bday by writing about how out of all her kids, he “statistically” performs the worse on her Instagram. And she’s worried one day it will ruin his self esteem pic.twitter.com/QpFfJwDOab— Stephanie McNeal (@stephemcneal) November 19, 2018
Cultural commentators have extensively bemoaned the harmful impact of the ubiquity of modern tech and social media platforms. Many have argued that weakening community bonds have led us to look for fulfillment in the seductive ping of Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter notifications.
In 2017, writing for The Atlantic, Jean M. Twenge detailed the troubling aspects of modern-day teenagers' relationship to technology, which she encountered in her work as a psychologist.
"Have Smartphones Destroyed a Generation?" Twenge queried in the headline. In the piece, she appeared to lean toward, "yes."
But Twenge made clear that the most pressing technology-related problems don't lie with older generations such as Boomers, or even the Millennial generation, which Bower belongs to:
These teens "have an Instagram account before they start high school, and do not remember a time before the internet."
And while these teens are physically safer than any others in history, there are other problems. "
So while many might find Bower's method of dealing with her son's Instagram popularity problem ridiculous or misguided, there is a kernel of truth lying somewhere inside those fears.
Juan Leon is a Pluralist founding editor. He can be reached @juanemel
Cover image: Lifestyle blogger Katie Bower poses with her husband for a photo shared to Instagram November 1, 2018. (Screenshot from Instagram)