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I held an Instagram lockdown confessional and it turned me into a real life ‘Gossip Girl’

IMAGE VIA WILDFLOWER CASES
WORDS BY CAT SPANTI

You know you love me, xoxo.

Unless you’re lucky enough to be reading this from somewhere other than Australia, you’ll be fully aware just how tedious the last few months have been with each state coming in and out of lockdowns

We’re on a rollercoaster of apprehension, hopefulness, boredom, followed by hitting that ever-familiar pandemic wall, having been here far too many times before (Victorians, I’m looking at you). Much has been said (a lot of it specious and politically inflammatory) about how we’re all in the same boat, but if we’ve all been united in anything, it’s been looking for ways to cope. 


Interested to hear how others navigate the world? Head to our Life section.


Lockdown is a shared human experience we’re all going through together, and we’re quick to share our home workouts, recipes and purchases online, but what about the stuff that we really want to see and hear about? The shit we all go through in some way, shape or form? The juicy secrets that barely even make it to the ears or phones of our most trusted inner circle? 

In a desperate attempt to cure both my boredom and rid my feed of yet another freshly baked good, I decided to take to the masses and produce a series of Instagram polls on topics of conversation that are often neglected and, I believed, needed a little more attention.

I put up different scenarios and questions; Do you still stalk your ex? Do you care if your partner likes thirst traps that aren’t yours? Have you savagely muted someone you’re ‘close to’ but secretly can’t stand? When is it socially acceptable to unfollow someone? Have you ever cheated on a partner? I needed to know how my fellow friends (and foes) dealt with these IRL problems that correlated to our online lives as well. 

The reaction to these stories was not what I expected. Out of the 8000 followers that I have (which, disclaimer, are mainly my mates and people who enjoy my one too many narcissistic outfit posts), over 4000 people, men and women, took part in these polls. I could see people had shared the stories as well, obviously taking the hard-hitting Monday night questionnaire I was throwing the people in lockdown to the group chat.

There seemed to be an invested interest in the topic of infidelity, so I decided to add an anonymous confessional into the mix. This is where things got particularly spicy. I had friends, people I hadn’t spoken to for years, and even strangers submitting cheating scandals of all sorts. 

I couldn’t believe the submissions I was reading. From people finding out their partners were cheating via graphic social posts, to wives discovering husbands were cheating on them while they were pregnant, it was all laid out in lurid detail. Duplicity of the highest order was exposed, as people discovered their significant others had lived double lives for years. Some, and I lived for such revelations, resorted to unorthodox surveillance techniques to confirm their suspicions.

There were questions coming through directly to me too. “Can you do a poll on the overall sentiment of strippers? I.e. is going cheating?!” It’s almost as if people identified this as a chance to have their burning questions anonymously answered. Some users, with stories too convoluted to even type out, opted for sequential voice notes to spill the tea instead. I appreciated the personalised touch – it made for a much better story. 

So, the verdict on my locky-d confessional? While there’s no question that social media is a double-edged sword, the ways in which it helps us stay connected to each other makes it a very helpful tool – especially now. In a time where many of us are apart from friends and family, whether due to lockdowns, border closures or an inability to travel overseas, we’ve had more time to ruminate, and less time to unload.

But sometimes a good, hearty vent is just what you need. These unfortunate occurrences – whether it’s someone smashing your heart into smithereens or sleeping with your best friend – don’t do us any good when we keep them inside. They fester away, seeping into our everyday lives and slowly chipping away at our sense of selves. 

So perhaps we should start giving the people what they really want? I’m not saying to bare all your deepest darkest secrets online to strangers, but maybe we can all start showing a more unfiltered and candid version of ourselves on these platforms, and to each other in our everyday lives. I think we’d all be better off for it. 

If you feel inclined, you can follow Cat on Instagram here where she might just bring back her confessionals sometime soon.

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