Instagram – A Digital Generation’s Sanctuary

By Priscilla Olaya Yeverino


The age-old adage “a picture’s worth a thousand words” proves to be true in the world of social media.

2016 has been a trying year. Half of our cultural icons have passed and political upsets have reigned. Sometimes, the easiest way to say what one feels at the moment is not a rambling Facebook post or an unattached Tweet, but a picture with a well-thought out caption.

Instagram is not a network, it is a globe, where anyone who wants to be connected needs to simply type or search a hashtag to find comfort. Older generations may not comprehend this, and perhaps even find it odd, but to the digital generation an Instagram post is a quick tribute and an easy way to let people all over the globe know, “I hear you, I acknowledge your pain, I feel your pain, and I am your sister, I am your brother. We are together, if only just on this picture and only for now.”

Here is the worst of 2016 and Instagram’s reactions to all (in no particular order):

David Bowie dies

10 days into the New Year, the world got a bad omen. 70’s pop music giant David Bowie died of liver cancer. He was 69 years old. His death was felt around the globe.



Prince dies 

One of the most influential rock artists of all time, Prince Nelson Rogers, died on April 21st, 2016 of a drug overdose. He was 57 years old. Everyone from companies to celebrities and the common people shared their condolences.



Muhammad Ali dies 

On June 3rd, 2016, the “Greatest of All Time” left us. He dies of Parkinson’s disease. He was 74 years old.




After what the government thought was “throwing a bone” to the people, the U.K. voted “yes” in favor of withdrawing from the European Union, essentially cutting themselves out of the entire system. Many saw this as a symptom of racism and anti-immigrant feelings that had been growing in Britain’s right. It was the first political upset of 2016 – soon to be outdone by the U.S.



Trump is elected President 

Nothing really needs to be said about this. The handful of pictures speak for themselves.



Police Shootings in the U.S.

A phenomenon that definitely did not begin in 2016, but reached a pinnacle in the public eye and media.

Tyre King, a black 6th grader, was murdered by police in Ohio on September 14, 2016. For “more likely than not” running from police.

In an isolated incident, a man shot several cops in Dallas sniper-style while they were on-duty after a Black Lives Matter protest.


Turkey Coup attempt 

On September 15 and 16 of 2016,  a faction within the Turkish Armed Forces attempted and failed a coup d’état against it’s government and President. Over 300 people were killed. It was not televised for a long time, and the media didn’t do much to cover it, but it was rampant news on Instagram as civilians shared their photos.



Famine in Nigeria

The ongoing famine in Nigeria is yet another story that has never made it onto major media outlets. However, activists and empathizers of the tragic circumstances made it a point to share unpleasant pictures and create a voice that has been hard to hear in developed countries.

Islamic State affiliate Boko Haram is an islamic extremist group that has been at the root of Nigeria’s political and societal unrest.




Terrorist Attacks in Nice, France

on July 14th, 2016, a truck deliberately ran into crowds celebrating Bastille Day, killing 86 people. The attack was premeditated, and the driver, Mohamed Lahouaiej-Bouhlel, was mentally ill and had expressed support for the Islamic State.

People around the world sent their condolences to Nice and the rest of France, a state with a large refugee population.




Orlando Nightclub Shooting


On June 12th, 2016, Omar Mateen, another Islamic State ally, terrorized a gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida.

He killed 49 people and wounded 53.

The entire gay community and gay community allies were in mourning and felt that the community as a whole had been targeted and attacked.



Goodbye, 2016. 


Published by

UNT Eagle Strategies

Class members of the social media class in the Mayborn School of Journalism