National Girlfriend Day. National Boyfriend Day. National Ex-Spouse Day. The list goes on and on. It seems to me that in recent times these “holidays” have grown in popularity thanks to the online societies unasked for and organic decision to use them as a reason to post. These are days when your feed is full of people posting about their significant others, whom they love and appreciate, but it has become an excuse to post a picture that you have had saved in your camera roll.
Undoubtedly existing for some time, these “Instagram holidays” reveal that people will find any good reason to post a decent picture. And I argue social media companies and brands are smart enough to know that. These holidays aren’t universally known, but they are an excuse to run a campaign ad or start a hashtag. Nearly every year, Dunkin’ Donuts gives out a free doughnut on National Doughnut Day with, of course, a purchase of any beverage. Likely every Snapchat story will be those cute pictures with a doughnut sitting on a cup of iced coffee. It’s a cute picture and a good deal, but it’s also marketing.
It used to be that the Hallmark holidays, like Valentine’s Day or Mother’s Day, were the way to get people to spend money on dumb trinkets they don’t need. But now, the value in screen time, clicks and piqued interest may mean more than whatever plastic space-taker-upper you could have bought. Clicks and screen time are a hot commodity. The more people post, the more people stay on their social media outlets. If I had to guess where all the “Instagram holidays” are coming from, it would be none other than the Illuminati itself: Google, Facebook, Walmart or whatever other company that implants the latest internet trend into our brain. They are geniuses, after all, and know how to use fake holidays to their advantage.
National Coffee Day? An excuse for you to buy that latte and post about it. National Pet Day (which is not to be confused with National Puppy Day or National Dog Day) is an excuse for you to buy, wait for it...a pet. All jokes aside, although these days create a nuisance to those who, frankly, don’t really care about whatever mundane day it is, they reveal something about us. Some people celebrate the little things in life using these recently created national holidays. Even if it may just be a farce to get us to post, if it makes it easier for some portion of the population to get through the day, it might not matter if it’s all a ploy.
Yes, these holidays existed before social media. But thanks to social platforms and brands pushing certain days that bring attention to their products, they have increased in prominence. Before, no one cared about National Bagel Day, or let alone knew which day of the year it took place. It’s not really about the coffee, pizza or ice cream that is commemorated on those days, but rather hooking you into a giant, glorified ad. There is no need to cast blame for taking advantage of a fake holiday to post a cute picture of your dog or a trendy Instagram story of your siblings and you. The days were created to be celebrated and, in part, to be exploited, so you might as well take the “Instagram holidays” for what they’re worth and just know they are not real holidays.
Jackie DeFreitas is a UF journalism junior. Her column appears on Wednesdays.