It’s a cliche by now:
We go to the beach and then we Instagram a picture of our feet, with the ocean waves in the background.
The token “Feet at the Beach” picture is actually a selfie, though we don’t necessarily immediately think of it that way. The camera is pointed at the feet instead of the face, but ultimately it serves the same purpose.
An efficient selfie of any form communicates the message, “Look at me right now and please positively validate my existence.”
And people do. A few dozen “likes” easily follow.
People enjoy helping each other celebrate life. People like to see their friends and family being happy.
But specifically, the token “feet at the beach” selfie communicates a certain message to its audience.
Here is how I translate the implied message behind it, from a psychological and analytical perspective:
“I am wishing to share with you that I currently am relaxing in a surreal state of mind. As you can see from my physical point of view, I am literally looking at the edge of the world, into the seemingly endless ocean; which serves as a metaphor for my life. The future is still unwritten; my life is still ahead of me. In this moment, I am able to escape from real life and share my perspective with you. (Now, please click “like” to show that you are celebrating this escape from reality with me; in hopes that you too will soon be able to enjoy such a view.)”
The next time you see a “feet at the beach” selfie, consider the paragraph above. Test my theory.
But I believe the reason it collectively resonates with so many people is that there is some familiar and universal psychology behind it.
And I believe I have officially put those abstract thoughts into black-and-white words today.