Instagram’s New Away Message Feature Got Me in My Middle-Aged Feels

Earlier this week, Meta rolled out some new features (that absolutely no one asked for) on Instagram. Group Profiles allow users to create a collaborative profile with others in their circle while the new Candid feature (in beta) reflects Meta’s efforts to compete with BeReal. In this feature, users will be invited to post a photo of what they’re doing in the moment and be able to view the same from others (but only after posting).

The most ridiculous feature, however, is Meta’s introduction of Notes to Instagram messaging. When describing the feature on their website, Meta says the Notes “are short posts of up to 60 characters using just text and emojis.” This roll-out of concise blurbs is interestingly timed given Twitter’s recent announcement that tweet limits will soon move from 240 characters to 4000 words. On Instagram, Notes show up at the top of our Direct Messages screen as speech bubbles next to users’ profile pictures. Instagram users have two options when sharing their notes — either let everyone they follow back see them or just their close friends. When I first noticed the feature, I probably had the same reaction as most other users:

What the hell is this?
Why is this here?
This is annoying.
NO ONE ASKED FOR THIS. PLEASE STOP ADDING MORE TO MY FEEDS!

But then I scrolled across the Notes from my mutuals and cackled. My former student posted, “Keep it earnest on here, y’all.” A friend from back home wrote, “Oh my goodness. This is a mess.” One mutual posted her Venmo for fun pics. Another mutual posted song lyrics and I instantly felt a huge pang of nostalgia — Meta has brought back the away message in the most annoying way possible. 

I don’t want to like it, but damn — these notes got me in my middle-aged feels. I’ve spent the past two days longing to lock myself in my bedroom, turn on my old Gateway desktop, and patiently wait for the AOL to load while praying my mom doesn’t need to use the phone. I know we’re supposed to be too old for away messages, but growing up is overrated. In case you need some help dusty off those away message chops, here are 10 “Notes” (Read: Away Messages in 2022) I’ve crafted for all of us to use in the coming weeks.

For those who are feeling frisky, free, and in the holiday spirit:
Seasons Greetings, B*tches! I’m just ho-ho-ho-ing!!!

For those of us who hate our jobs: 

Cuffing season is here and I need a change. Let’s link up…on LinkedIn.

For those of us with parents as mutuals:

Yo mama is not as cool as mine. Xoxo mom!

For those of us trying to holla at mutuals but be (not-so) discreet:

Just here to doom-scroll, watch dog videos, and chat with cute girls/boys/enbys.

For those of us who miss the chat rooms and like to be weird:

ASLLP? Age, Sign, Location of Last Poop

For the music/movie nerds:

Now Playing: [Insert Song]

For the emo kids all grown up:

FMLINAD [F*CK MY LIFE. I NEED A DRINK.]. Student loans and grocery bills are killing me slowly.

For us with no shame and bills to pay:

[Insert Venmo/CashApp] for the best present this season

For the corny olds:

My mom’s gotta make a call. I’ll be right back.

For the shady AstroQueers who love a good horoscope:

The universe told me to tell you that outfit is not working, boo.

For the old school L Word fans out there: 

Actually, I killed Jenny Schechter.

For us just trying to get our sh*t together:

My life is a mess. BRB cleaning it up.


I could go on for days (and probably will on Instagram) but I’ll leave some space here for you to dream and craft your own. Meanwhile, leave your funniest (or wittiest) “Note” (read: Instagram away message) in the comments — we all could use more joy these days!


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shea wesley martin

shea martin (they/them/theirs) is a brilliant, queer, gender-expansive writer raised at the intersection of gospel and go-go (shout out to the DMV). With southern roots and Black queer magic, shea writes nonfiction, fiction, and poetry that smells like your grandmama’s kitchen and sounds like a deep blues moan. Find them dreaming on Twitter.

shea has written 24 articles for us.

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