By Jessie Morgan, Student Writer
In light of the pandemic, social media users have witnessed a new trend circulating through Facebook in honor of the class of 2020. However, this trend may be doing more harm than good for high school and college seniors.
Since the end of March, older generations have been commemorating the class of 2020 by uploading their own senior photos to Facebook with the hashtag #ClassOf2020. The trend began as a fun way to honor seniors who were scheduled to graduate in the spring, but had to say goodbye months early due to the sudden coronavirus outbreak.
However, the seniors themselves did not feel very honored during this social media trend at all. In fact, many social media users began expressing concerns about how this trend may only be accomplishing the exact opposite of its original goal.
“Someone told me it’s like posting a photo of your home to honor the homeless,” said first-year student Maura O’Mahony. “It’s completely useless.”
Brooke LaNasa, a Messiah senior scheduled to graduate in 2020, recently spoke out against the trend in a Facebook post, where she compared seeing the high school photos of older generations to rubbing salt in a wound.
“From the older folks I’ve talked to, they think this is a fun way to support the seniors of 2020. They dig out their old yearbooks and show us how silly, beautiful or young they looked,” added LaNasa, whose sister is also graduating high school this year. “In reality, a lot of us are hurt by the fact we will never get to do so many of the things they did.”
In her post, LaNasa suggested that those who wish to honor seniors should do so by posting pictures of the actual Class of 2020 instead, whether those seniors are their family members, students, friends or themselves.
Maria Miller, an upcoming junior at Messiah, has was inspired to turn LaNasa’s suggestion into her goal. In the past few weeks, Miller has made an effort to post as many of her friends’ senior pictures as possible on her Facebook page.
“I just want current seniors to feel genuinely supported and encouraged and loved during this difficult time,” said Miller. “I decided to post their photos so that they could feel like people are seeing their accomplishments instead of just constant reminders of what they are missing out on. I’m celebrating the victories that they were able to have.”
While the trend has evoked an array of emotions in social media users, some remain impartial to the trend.
Isabel Valasek, a high school senior from Pittsburgh, has been enjoying seeing the photos of older generations.
“Honestly, everyone has different opinions and everything, and I understand both sides, but I’ve been staying out of it because it isn’t really doing anything,” said Valasek. “I know it’s kind of confusing why those pics are being posted, but it’s nice to see their pictures from their senior year!”
Regardless of how everyone may feel about it, this new trend has brought another pressing concern to the table—a concern for online safety.
According to ABC News, the Better Business Bureau issued a warning for anyone considering posting their senior photos, current or older, in support of the class of 2020.
“Watch out, scammers or hackers who surf through social media sites will see these #Classof2020 posts, and will have the name of your high school and graduation year, which are common online security questions,” said the nonprofit organization in a public statement. “All it takes is an internet search to reveal more information about you, such as family members, your real name, birthdate and more.”
Though it seems that this popular trend was intended to shed a positive light on dire circumstances, it doesn’t look like things will last much longer for the hashtag #Classof2020.