Essays

What’s the modern way to welcome the new year?

How has social media changed the way we celebrate New Year’s Eve? Rather profoundly, it seems. Old acquaintance may actually be forgot and never brought to mind; old-school auld lang syne may be left in the dust – ignominiously swept up with the other detritus of the New Year’s Eve bash, and tossed away like used confetti. There’s a whole new way to ring in the new year, enabled by youthful energy and social media. Forget about a boring analog list of hand-written or spoken New Year’s resolutions, counting backwards from 10 and singing that song that no one knows the lyrics to anyway. At Dandelion Chandelier, our Head of Research investigated how our far-flung correspondents and their friends closed out 2017 and welcomed the New Year (thanks, girl!) Turns out there are at least 10 modern ways to clear the air before the start of a new year, honor the highlights of the passing year, and give a shout-out to the people who made a difference in our lives in the past 12 months.

Some of them are not for the faint of heart, but they’ll all get the job done in a fresh and interesting way. Happy New Year, circa 2018:

1. I made it to 2018! A simple and noncontroversial post that will alert your posse that yep, you’re still standing.

2. Posting a photo of yourself from each month of the year, often with friends and family. We think this is a splendid way to reflect on the past 12 months, and to declare to those in your life who really made a difference that you notice and appreciate who they are and what they’ve done. Love it.

3. The 9-box Instagram Greatest Hits. Share your top 9 posts of the year on Instagram, and without saying a word, you’ve encapsulated everything that was important to you and what you stand for. Good, bad or ugly, a picture speaks a thousand words.

4. The message post. One of our correspondents shared a SnapChat post that felt totally on-point given all the bad alpha-male behavior that has come to light in recent weeks. It read: All the girls put this on your story if you don’t need a guy to tell you that you’re beautiful to have confidence and put a blue heart if you got other people to do it too. We’re in.

5. Tell it like it is without saying a word. Also thanks to our friends at SnapChat, we discovered a template with three lines of emojis designed to make it crystal-clear to the recipient what you think of them – our correspondents report that this is about clearing the air before the stroke of midnight. It feels like a risky endeavor to us, but what do we know? Line one: “My opinion of you,” with 5 emojis from vomiting to smiling hearts-for-eyes. Line two: “My opinion if you died,” with 5 options ranging from a broken heart to a shrug. Line three: “My reaction if you asked me out,” with an emotional range from green distress to huge heart-eyed excitement. The sender circles the relevant responses, and asks the recipient to send them a number if they want to communicate further. Modern love. Not for the faint of heart.

6. Quantify your love. In a similar spirit, you can send a message with an excruciatingly precise numerical representation of how you feel about the recipient. Your choices range from a scale starting at a low of “10%” – I don’t like you, progressing through 40% — Not important to me, and culminating at a high of 200% WHOLE LIFE (in case you’re wondering, 190% is My everything; 110% is close friend, and there’s no explanation of why the scale isn’t just 0-100%). All you do is circle the appropriate rating and hit send. And you thought your performance review at work was tough? No word on what it would take to increase your ranking and what your development needs are.

7. Ask for feedback. Those with thick skins or tons of sycophants surrounding them can actively solicit feedback rather than just waiting for it to roll in during the last week of the year. For example, one post says simply: 2017 is nearly over. So post this on your story and anyone can ask you or tell you something they’ve always wanted to tell you. It may be good, it may be bad. (It stays between us). We are SO not doing that.

8. Join an endless chain of memory. In a notion similar to a chain letter, but with much more personal meaning, on SnapChat you can “drop a date you won’t forget” from the year soon to be past that connects to hundreds of others that have been dropped before yours. Visually, it appears on the screen like an infinite series of one-line dates in 2017, paired with emojis expressing whether the day brought joy or pain. We found this incredibly poignant and startlingly beautiful.

9. Find your meme. There’s a cottage industry of memes about the folly of New Year’s resolutions that will either make you feel better about the ones you’re making, or perhaps inspire you to skip the exercise altogether this year. Our favorite? A photo of Lady Gaga giving talk show host James Corden the side-eye during Car Pool Karaoke with the caption: me looking at my old decisions. Yes, we’ve all been there.

10. #TurnthePage. What more need be said? What’s done is done, and it’s time to write a new story. We love the spirit of something as simple as a hashtag that commands us to move forward. There’s work to be done, and it’s time to get started.

There you have it: a modern approach to the timeless need to close out one year and launch into the next. It’s a brave new world – are you ready?

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