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Please Stop Sending Me Reels

For the love of God-

By Steven Christopher McKnightPublished 25 days ago Updated 25 days ago 3 min read
Top Story - February 2024
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Please Stop Sending Me Reels
Photo by Andre Hunter on Unsplash

You know, back in my day—I was born in 1998, so we’ll say 2018 was my peak—memes were simple. Funny image, text, done. Maybe a screenshot of a Tweet or a Tumblr post. Sharing was easy; just right click, copy, and paste into the chat, or on your page, or whatever. Consuming was easy as well. Just look, read, blow a little bit of air out of your nose, continue on. Your homie sends you a dank meme, you respond with a trite “lol,” and you move on with your life. They cared. You adore that. That’s your homie.

Now if you will permit me to put on my curmudgeon hat for just a little bit, I want to express just how much TikTok and short-form video content has ruined the meme-sharing experience. It started largely with people sending me links to TikToks. Okay, thought I, they’re like really short YouTube videos. I can watch them when I have the chance. They were so rare, too. I think people only ever started sending me links to TikToks in 2021.

But then came the Instagram Reels. Friends, I don’t think you need me to tell you how annoying Instagram Reels are. Instagram seems to love Reels so much that often it will prompt you to make a stationary meme into a Reel by adding some swanky music or whatever. Why? What’s the point of this? Do you want me to burn through more mobile data? Is that the goal here, Instagram?

But it’s more than that. Instagram borrows a lot from the TikTok experience, in that Reels play one after the other after the other after the other. This triggers what I call the Brainrot Protocol. It’s easy to doomscroll; it’s even easier when every piece of content comes with fun music and movement. As a result, it’s also easy to share with your friends every piece of content that tickles your fancy.

And now comes my conundrum. I understand the desire to show your friends something that made you laugh. I welcome it. I love spamming friends with dank memes. But, I don’t know, when I wake up and I see 13 Reels were shared with me by some dude I talked to maybe three times in college, I just lose all desire to accept your gift. You have given me a more effort-intensive meme. Not only do I have to read it to gain the full experience; I have to watch it. I have to listen to it. In order to appreciate this gift you have thrust upon me, I have to drop everything I was doing, and focus intensely on this dead mouse you have placed at my feet. And, my dude, you have given me so many dead mice.

Maybe I’m in the minority, and I’m just not suited for forging modern connections, because my brain isn’t hardwired to accept shortform video content as a sign of affection. I’ve been a curmudgeon since I was 12, after all. But can’t we all agree that the social contract we’ve forged, to drop everything and look at the unimportant nonsense we send each other because we love each other is just distracting? Can’t we, just this once, reject modernity and embrace tradition?

If you’re reading this, and you think, Wait, I usually send Steven a ton of reels, is he talking about me?, no I’m not, darling, I love you, please keep spamming me with unimportant nonsense, it doesn’t break up the flow of my day at all. The rest of you? Cut it out.

The kind of dank meme I'm talking about.

If you want to support my desire to never have to work again, read this article to find out how:

If you want to support one of my favorite authors on here, who doesn't have nearly as many reads as she deserves, check out her page here:

To spam me with reels, click here:

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About the Creator

Steven Christopher McKnight

Disillusioned twenty-something, future ghost of a drowned hobo, cryptid prowling abandoned operahouses, theatre scholar, prosewright, playwright, aiming to never work again.

Venmo me @MickTheKnight

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Comments (11)

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  • Anna 8 days ago

    Congrats on Top Story!🥳

  • Naveed 23 days ago

    Top-notch effort! Keep the extraordinary work—congratulations!

  • Kodah23 days ago

    I love Instagram reels😅

  • Back to say congratulations on your Top Story! 🎉💖🎊🎉💖🎊

  • L.C. Schäfer24 days ago

    This line was genius, because you narrated what I was actually doing as i was doing it. "Just look, read, blow a little bit of air out of your nose, continue on."

  • Yeah, I don't have TikTok, and it's annoying when people send me excessive reels or videos, so I'm with you, man.

  • Terilyn Jo24 days ago

    I thought the image was boxman

  • KJ Aartila24 days ago

    I'm with you !

  • I've followed you on Instagram but don't worry, I won't send you any reels. Like you said, it's definitely a more effort intensive meme. I don't mind reels from people I'm very close with. Otherwise, no. I ain't gonna watch it, lol

  • Mackenzie Davis24 days ago

    Well now. I'm not on instagram because it seems like hell. But I do miss those dank memes. Everything these days has to be visual, even if it's the difference between a little paragraph or a fifteen second tik tok. Kinda miraculous that Vocal gets traction at all, with the all the brainrot!

  • Brin J.25 days ago

    Brainrot. I'm going to adopt that term and use it in my arguments for why I don't have my nose in my phone 24/7 like people expect me to do. I support you in this.

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