My mom, dad, and even my grandparents all have Instagram. According to my grandma, it’s the new email. I don’t know how true that is necessarily, but Instagram’s reach is growing exponentially across the entire world. This photo and video sharing social network was created less than a decade ago, but has since impacted the everyday lives and the communication streams of people worldwide. With our world becoming increasingly reliant on social media and facades behind screens, we often forget that every action on this social network has a deeper meaning. I know you’re all wondering what this so-called deeper meaning is, and it’s the comments section of any post – no matter who it is, the comments section of any Instagram photo shows the depth of relationships between people via social networks. Every Instagram comment has some sort of backstory or more profound meaning, and reading into what these meanings are is quite the process. Here, I begin to analyze the different insta comments and the true meaning behind them. Through looking at four different categories of comments, I hope to instill a greater understanding of the use of comments and the meaning behind a variety of comments. 

Basic Emoji: I love when someone comments a lone fire emoji or just a bunch of hearts, it’s really putting a ton of thought and effort into what someone’s saying. Oh wait, it isn’t, at all. When someone comments a lone emoji or a bunch of different emojis, it is usually because they have nothing better to say. No endearing phrase or witty retort – so they resort to the most basic thing ever. An emoji highlights the fact that this person commenting on your post wants to comment to be supportive, but they may not have a connection to the picture. I find this often to be my camp friends who don’t know my school friends pictured in the post and vice versa. I suppose the overarching theme between an emoji comment is that the person commenting with the emoji may not understand the caption but wants to be supportive and show their love for you and doesn’t know how. Hence, the emoji comment is the perfect option. Don’t get me wrong, I am a massive fan of the emoji comment. I love emojis. But I understand that this comment has no meaning at all and is just a placeholder. I’m not saying to disregard or think less of these comments by any means, rather the emoji comment is simply a way to show support and love more indirectly. 

When someone comments a lone emoji or a bunch of different emojis, it is usually because they have nothing better to say. No endearing phrase or witty retort – so they resort to the most basic thing ever.

Basic Comment: The classic, ‘so cute,’ ‘best friends,’ ‘I love you’, ‘miss you,’ and anything along these lines. This is often coming from your group of friends who may not know the context of the caption. Except you see them regularly enough that they feel inclined to comment on your picture, and you comment back on theirs. There really isn’t a lot to read into this type of comment because it’s pretty mundane like an emoji. However, this comment is special because someone is taking a few extra seconds to express themselves with words. Nothing against a classic comment because I use these all the time, but the meaning behind them is minimal and truly represents a good friendship  – with no relationship or context of the photo. This person is blindly commenting without even acknowledging what the picture is, or its relevance. This comment is purely for the comment and recognition of friendship. Again, don’t think less of this comment! The person commenting does care about you and is connecting with you on social media to represent that. 

Witty or Funny Comment: I love a witty or funny Instagram comment, I think it’s so fun, and a great way to engage with people on social media. Getting a witty comment usually comes from your close friends or people who understand the context of the caption. Sometimes from an inside joke or something relevant to the post, or even an applicable comment to the relationship between the people in the picture. These comments are often things that not everyone will understand and tie in the caption to the comment. The examples of this are endless, and from my personal experience cannot be compiled into a generalization; but there are often themes amongst people. Amongst my friends, I often find that they will comment regarding my personality traits that they find amusing or annoying, and I do the same to them. These types of comments represent a close relationship and a connection between people. The types of people commenting funny things are your close friends, people who really care about you, and the best kind of people because they know how to have a good laugh. So, if you’re getting some witty comments on your pictures, consider yourself close to those people.  

Meaningful Comment: A meaningful comment is usually associated with a meaningful post or post from your grandparent or an older distant family friend. There are two types of meaningful comments: the first is a comment on a post from someone who is discussing a personal or serious topic, which requires a lot of strength. This is one of those times when a simple emoji goes a long way, or even something along the lines of ‘proud of you,’ ‘so strong,’ or ‘you amaze me.’ A comment such as this may not appear very thoughtful, but on a post, which is meaningful, this truly does mean something and shows support and respect. Comments on serious posts are so important to validate someone through their vulnerability, and the context of the comment is dictated by the post.

Comments on serious posts are so important to validate someone through their vulnerability, and the context of the comment is dictated by the post.

The second type of meaningful comment is from an older person commenting some long message, which really should have been communicated to you privately. This comment usually goes along the lines of ‘Miss you _____! I hope you’re doing well, spoke to your family recently, and they miss you, can’t wait to see you over the holidays. Xoxo _____.’ Trust me, it feels lovely to get these comments because it makes me feel loved by this family member or family friend. But it also highlights maybe the lack of understanding of the comments section and its use. Nonetheless, it is adorable and a fun thing to see older people starting to engage in social media. Meaningful comments are ones that make your heart feel full because the person commenting truly cares about you and wants you to know that you’re supported, validated, and loved. Whether it’s your friends or family, a meaningful comment is always recognizable and makes someone’s day. 

The meaning behind Instagram comments vary widely based on the photo, caption, connection, and context. But the one thing that ties them all together is friendship and care for one another. Instagram and social media are such a great way, in general, to connect with people and create connections with people in a virtual world. There are definitely a ton more variations of comments, but amongst Queen’s students, these are the most common and basic ones I’ve seen. I mean, what else can we expect? As young people in today’s society, our interactions on social media are generally considered disconnected. It would be so fun if we all engaged with one another in a meaningful and funny way, but sometimes it’s easier to comment blindly on photos. Using social media is a gift, so let’s all continue to connect and meaningfully engage with everyone. 



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