Where are your sparkles? Your selfies? Your crystalline wine flutes artfully refracting colored lights?! We are all familiar, by this point, with what The New York Times once dubbed “the agony of Instagram”: the conviction, confirmed each and every time we log online, that everyone else’s lives are vastly more picturesque and interesting than our own. And we understand, in 2015, that if a thing is not Instagrammed or tweeted than it does not exist — an irrefutable tenet of modern life that has everyone skinny-arming and sepia-toning their way through the winter holidays, lest the digital record of our Christmas fail to look every bit as perfect as a gallery on Goop.
Now, at last, you have reached New Year’s Eve: that most glamorous and ostentatious of holidays, the pinnacle of the winter social season and the sole determinant of your fate in the coming year. (“You know what they say,” chirps Summer Roberts, in an iconic episode of “The O.C.” that every American woman between ages 23 and 30 is required to see. “The way you spend New Year’s Eve is the same way you’ll spend the rest of the year…”)
There has, in short, never been as much pressure to make your life look cool on social media as there will be Wednesday night, circa 10 p.m. It matters not if you’re drinking Cristal in the club, eating Bagel Bites in your sweatpants or crying yourself to sleep; whatever the circumstance, your New Year’s Eve social media game must be on fleek.
Tip #1: Photoshop your selfies.
Why would you ever want to remember yourself as you actually are? If selfie-editing is good enough for Kim Kardashian, Miranda Kerr and as many as half of all social media users, it’s good enough for you, too. Start with an app like Selfie Photo Editor, Perfect365, FaceTune or Pixtr, because those are real things that exist.
Once you’ve taken your bare-faced and probably unattractive picture in a nondescript corner of your living room/mother’s house/sad neighborhood dive bar, you can use the app to do everything from whiten your teeth and clear up blemishes to put on makeup and grow your boobs. The pros suggest you leave your hair and abs as they are! #nye #hawt
Tip #2: Craft the perfectly understated humblebrag for midnight Facebook-posting.
Humblebragging, the delicate art of boasting while pretending not to, is generally considered bad form — until the holidays, of course, when it’s normal, even appropriate, to enclose 3,000-word paeans to your family’s accomplishments in otherwise cordial Christmas cards.
On New Year’s, you have two options: effect either an air of faux-embarrassment or effusive, schmaltzy gratitude. Gratitude is easy: Just brag about all the cool stuff you did in 2014 and tack some kind of “thank you” on the end to make it look less gross. (Bonus points: Drag the whole thing out into several hundred words and BCC it to everyone in your e-mail contacts list.) Faux-embarrassment is a little trickier, but since you’re home alone with your cat on New Year’s Eve, you have time to master it; the key here is to mix some self-deprecation in with your bluster. Observe:
- “This is srsly the worst I’ve ever looked on New Year’s, and guys still hit on me. UGH what is wrong with you guys??”
- “Awkward: running into your high school math teacher while you’re buying $500 champagne.”
- “Stuck inside for New Year’s Eve, gotta wake up at 5 for a marathon tomorrow.”
- “New Year’s Resolution: put on some weight. Seriously, I am sooooo thin right now.”
Alternately, should no inspiration strike you — or should the humblebrag feel too disingenuous, even for emergency NYE use — consider vaguebooking: the posting of an intentionally vague Facebook status, usually because the details are not worth posting. Please, keep it upbeat: “best night” or “so happy” or even the understated “<3” (2014’s word of the year!) should do the trick.
Tip #3: Stage-manage your Instagrams.
Instagram is your friend in all matters of social media posturing — but you have to do it strategically. There is no shame in composing a festive tableau solely to take its picture, even when no guests are coming. Arrange your champagne glasses artfully; style your dog or cat; X Pro II the hell out of absolutely everything.
Remember that context is your enemy, here: You want to leave the exact circumstances of your New Year’s Eve mysterious and vague. You could be dragging four whiny, sick kids through the mud on an uphill hike, as The Telegraph’s Harry Wallop did this Christmas. But if you snap just one scenic landscape from the peak, everyone will assume you had a glorious, picturesque time.
There are some disadvantages to these methods, of course: chief among them all the pandering and striving and dissembling, and the horrific insecurity those things represent. The lies have their costs, of course. For one thing, you may never tell anyone, not even in passing, how many episodes of “Black Mirrors” you watched on Dec. 31. For another, some psychologists suspect that when we embellish our lives on social media, we risk changing our perception of how our lives actually went. (Maybe, in some cases, that’s not such a bad thing!)
In either case, cheers and good luck — you’ll need it. Here’s to a happy, or at least apparently happy, 2015.