Sarah Burstein, Staff Writer

A picture of the sunset over Commonwealth Ave. that I took (with the shutter sound on!!!) in mid September./PHOTO BY Sarah Burstein

A picture of the sunset over Commonwealth Ave. that I took (with the shutter sound on!!!) in mid September./PHOTO BY Sarah Burstein

We’ve all felt the familiar itch to reach into our pockets and sneak out our phones to snap a picture or tweet about something absolutely banal. There are common strategies that we’ve perfected over the years. First, we absolutely must make sure our shutter sound is switched off so the people around us don’t judge us (even though, believe me, they’ve all taken pictures of their latte art too). Then we hold our phones in a way that feigns texting or looking for cell service and do a quick sweep of our surroundings before snapping a quick picture.

Chances are, we’ve all also openly complained on Twitter or Facebook about the absolute agony we endure after seeing such posts. Whether it’s multiple Instagrams in a row of autumn sunsets in varying tones or Snapchat stories of food porn, criticizing others on what they choose to post has become increasingly popular.

But why do we judge others for doing this? According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, the definition of social media is “forms of electronic communication (as Web sites for social networking and microblogging) through which users create online communities to share information, ideas, personal messages, and other content (as videos).” Basically, the official definition of social media states that if you’re using it to post absolutely anything you want, you’re using it correctly.

Recently, Rapper Prince Ea posted a video entitled, “Can We Auto-Correct Humanity?” in which he raps about the negative influences of over using social media, including the practice of posting pictures when we could be living in the moment. As of Oct. 12, the video has over 26 million views.

While Prince Ea’s message has good intentions, I personally do not understand why certain types of social media posts are more acceptable than others.

Is it true that we should learn to distinguish when to use our phones and when not to? Absolutely. But I don’t believe that someone’s picture of the sunset is preventing him or her from living a fulfilling life. If someone posts a picture of something, doesn’t that mean they’re happy and excited enough to share it with however many people follow them? Aren’t happiness and content and pride all goals we all hope to achieve, even if it is just over an especially golden sunset?

All things considered, it’s just downright unproductive to gripe about what other people post about on social media. So, dear reader, I urge you to discard your negativity and snap that picture of the sunset without shame (and without a silent shutter sound).