By Alaya Ayala
Instagram Profiles to Warm the Cockles of Your Hearts
By ALAYA AYALA
With the weather growing ever colder despite it now being March, most people are likely finding themselves spending an inordinate amount of time inside and bored out of their skulls. There’s always plenty of content to be found on the internet to ease this boredom, but the truth of the matter is that what we find on the internet is often a lot of negativity that we don’t need.
School is stressful enough without the harsh realities of the outside world glaring up at you from your newsfeed, so it only makes sense to occasionally want to take a break from the heartbreaking and seek out some wholesome content to mend your soul. That’s where these Instagram profiles come in.
Personally, when I’m feeling a little angry at the college for whatever reason, be it yet another midterm or some other perceived injustice, I usually like to see my frustration echoed on meme pages dedicated to posting about Harvard or Ivy League institutions in general. It was to my surprise when I realized that wholesome content about Harvard existed outside of it’s official social media profiles, and this content also helped to make me feel better about being here when I wasn’t feeling too great about it.
I had the privilege of speaking to the owners of two Instagram profiles dedicated to appreciating aspects of Harvard that we don’t often think about.
The first was @beautiful_berg_creations which is currently being run by two first-year blockmates who wish to remain anonymous. The profile is headed with the name “HUDS praise” and the bio “anyone who feels the need to spew hate about Harvard grub can step off.”
I had a really enjoyable time learning about their process for running the account and their goals for it in the future. It turns out that one of the first-years has had experience running food-praising accounts like this in high school, when they ran an account dedicated to photographing vegan food. They stated that they “had a lot of fun setting up the posts and gaining a following,” and when they got to Harvard, “a friend said that my food looked like something that HUDS would post.” Thus, @beautiful_berg_creations was born.
The profile is certainly not the first among its kind on Instagram, but it is fair to say that it’s pretty surprising to see an account dedicated to praising HUDS food, which is probably one of the least-well-liked and easiest-to-joke-about things on campus. One of the admins of the account even said, “it’s very common culture to shit on d-halls here, that’s why this is such a different and positive page.”
When asked about the content of the account, the admins laughingly admitted that it has an “accidental theme” of vegetarian and vegan foods, mainly because that’s the food they eat themselves and also because many of their friends are also vegetarians and vegans. They do have photos with meat-based meals though because their goal for the account is to generally post “colorful plates and high-quality photos.”
Sometimes the food pictures that they post are their meals, and other times they are features submitted to them via direct messaging on the app. As far as goals for the account go, the admins have toyed with the idea of adding a “humans of new york” aspect to it and including stories and student bios with food submissions. For now, they plan on sticking with inspirational and witty captions and one day bringing in content from the d-halls in the houses.
The other Instagram profile that I was glad to learn more about was @harvardhumans a.k.a Humans of Harvard College. The bio on this account is simple and poignant, “Everyone has a story – a story worth sharing.” The account was started this past February and features photos of Harvard Students captioned with bios that contain quotes from the students themselves.
Currently, the account is run by around 6 people who are part of a college-recognized organization dedicated to keeping the project going. I spoke to one of them who also wishes to remain anonymous for the sake of sticking to the vision of the account, which is to give voices to all of the people that attend the college.
This particular person has had history with a project similar to this in high school. They began a journalistic “humans of” project dedicated to documenting the students in the graduating class, and since this person has graduated, the project has continued as something of a new tradition.
This admin said that they “got a lot of fulfillment with the project in high school, and Harvard is such a melting pot of unique stories.” Thus, this particular “Humans of Harvard” project was born. The goal of the page is “to provide a service to the community by posting these stories. A lot of students don’t have time to get to know strangers, so this account is trying to pay some kindness and understanding forward.”
The account has a pretty formalized process for each of its posts. Every week the team meets to decide who they want to interview and take photos of. Monday through Wednesday of the following week is then dedicated to reaching out to and interviewing the person. Generally, the interview process is very informal since the goal is to really get to know people in a short amount of time. The latter half of the week is dedicated to having a photo shoot with the person and getting the post ready. Before everything is posted, quotes from the interview and photos are run by the featured student. The profile generally posts every Sunday and Wednesday.
The future goals for the account include making it something that lasts after the original group graduates. There have been other humans of Harvard accounts like this in the past, but they stopped posting after a while. The hope with this account and the purpose of making it into an officially recognized organization is to retain the process of gathering content and posting it. Eventually, the group would like to feature content from faculty and other Harvard Affiliates. They can be reached through Instagram and via email at firstname.lastname@example.org
Alaya Ayala (email@example.com) really likes browsing through Instagram for good memes and even better feel-good content.