November 9 2018

#Funeral is the realest hashtag on Instagram

Too much time spent on social media makes the world seem like a tempestuously strange place that exists somewhere between Weird Twitter and the blurry Facebook memes your aunt posts. Instagram in particular is a branded purgatory, with a smattering of your friends’ FOMO-bait photos amid accounts you followed and don’t care enough to unfollow.

But when you search beyond that, there’s a warm, human side to Instagram—perhaps the best archive we’ve got of the human experience in 2015.

Hashtags provide an actual function, and are a basic Internet thing I mostly forget about and never use. Luckily, a lot of folks do, and what’s resulted is an accidentally beautiful, endless grid of the more candid, genuine side of society. We’ll seek to explore these unappreciated nooks and crannies with a series we’re calling “The Realest Hashtag On Instagram”—starting with the seasonally-appropriate #funeral.

At face value, #funeral really isn’t that different from #LasVegas. Less debauchery, but similar vibe, you know? Searching #funeral brings up a lot of threatening quote overlays (“I wear all black to remind you not to mess with me, because I’m already dressed for your funeral.”) In cases like these, #funeral is taken as a metaphorical hashtag.

Most of the photos under this hashtag are, surprisingly, actually taken at funerals. I won’t front with this one: Taking a photo at or around the time of a funeral is something that would never occur to me. Fortunately, there are people who go harder than I do on Instagram (and, also, in life). Logistically speaking, it makes sense to take a photo at a funeral. Life offers far too few occasions to dress up; then someone dies, and you miss 100 percent of the shots you don’t take in life.

See what I mean? No matter which way you come at this, #funeral remains unflinchingly raw. That is why #funeral is the realest hashtag on Instagram.

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