Shaking is the new photo dump
How to manipulate your followers into thinking you’re not thinking about social media.
I’m shook. —Kate
Last week, I went to the Brooklyn Botanic Garden to, among many things, take some updated pictures of my friend for her dating app profiles (she had just dyed her hair, you see). Posing in front of the cherry blossoms and along the path through the Japanese garden, we did the usual awkward dance, wanting to take a good photo but absolutely hating ourselves for posing. Do you smile? Laugh? Stare?
According to TikTok, you should shake. I picked up on this new trend after seeing a behind-the-scenes video of a group of friends at dinner, shaking their drinks and fake-cutting their food so that the resulting pictures captured the blurry, in-motion quality of a moment in which people are too busy enjoying each other’s company to think about social media.
More commonly, I have seen videos of boyfriends shaking their girlfriends to achieve a similar effect. While the videos look ridiculous, the photos have that caught-in-the-act-of-romance quality familiar from Pinterest.
I had unknowingly participated in this trend myself, choosing a blurry picture to show off a new sweater earlier this month. A camera? That I set up? Taking a picture of me? I had no idea!
The shaky photo trend is the inevitable next step—after the dump—in Instagram’s drift away from the purposeful, polished, millennial-pink style that it pioneered. When was the last time you saw an honest-to-god selfie? Recently, it’s been much more in vogue to have someone else take a picture of you, thus communicating to you followers that you have friends, and that also you look so good that those friends can't help but document it.
Now it has to look like you had no idea anyone was taking your photo at all—as if social media documentation has become so omnipresent that it’s somehow surpassed your own awareness of it.
Of course, true candids are hard to come by. Another new trend on TikTok? Lamenting the disappointing photos you friends and boyfriends take of you. Here, for example, is one my boyfriend took of me. Thanks!
Which is how we got here, shaking our cups and forks and girlfriends to manipulate our followers into thinking we’re not thinking about social media at all.