by Laura Feng and Ira Singh, Features Reporters
Filled with pictures of students and teachers at South in unintentionally matching outfits, the Instagram account @nshs_matching has amassed over 400 followers since it was created by an anonymous South student last school year.
Ariel Thomas*, the creator of @nshs_matching, said that in addition to its amusing posts, part of the account’s appeal is in its simplicity and the escapism that it offers from the monotony of the average school day.
“There’s just something so fun and funny about people matching,” they said. “It’s just so simple and stupid, but it’s something that pretty much everybody can find funny.”
Senior Dylan Shanahan said that the depiction of spontaneous moments of joy in an otherwise monotonous school day has boosted the account’s popularity.
“It’s a quirky fun thing that we can all get a little fun out of during our day,” he said. “That’s probably why people like submitting [photos] too.”
Freshman Hana Futai said that even though there are many funny school Instagram accounts, @nshs_matching is unique because all photo submissions are voluntary, and people are excited to be included.
“A lot of the other ones will take them when you’re not paying attention. A lot of the time, you’re getting humiliated,” she said. “For @nshs_matching, you can see what picture you upload, and you know that you’re not going to be embarrassed, and you get to choose whether you want to be put on it or not.”
Teachers are featured on the page as well, including Wellness teacher Patrick Jordan-Quern. He said the account was introduced to him after coincidentally matching with a student.
“It’s nice that they follow the rules and ask for permission, and it’s a good way to start a conversation with other people who you otherwise might not speak to,” he said.
In addition to connecting South students online, Jordan-Quern said it has also created great opportunities to meet new people in person.
“I’ve talked to a few people that I’ve never spoken to before just because we were wearing the same shirt and similar pants,” he said.
As anyone with an Instagram account can submit photos, senior Rose Plottel said she feels that the page has become an inclusive and positive environment for all students.
“It’s something everyone has in common, and they kind of post people from all these different friend groups, so it’s not just for a specific group of people,” she said.
To maintain the suspense, Thomas said they intend to keep their identity anonymous.
“I think it adds to the fun of the account when there’s some intrigue and mystery around who runs the show. It makes me feel so famous when my friends tell me that they overheard somebody speculating about who runs the show,” they said. “I feel like a micro-influencer, and I’m living a double life.”
Thomas said that they are excited the account has grown to the point where it is able to bring together students across South.
“At the beginning, it was just two followers. And then eventually, other people started paying more attention to the account and following and submitting stuff. Now, I feel like people from all four grades are engaged with the account, which is cool. It’s definitely the most engagement I’ve ever had.”
Shanahan said that while he doesn’t have an Instagram account, he feels the impact the account spreads beyond just social media and into hallways. Despite not being able to see the account himself, he said that he sees and hears about the page through students who can and that it is a positive step towards school connectivity.
“I definitely think it’s good for connecting people,” he said. “And I think that’s good because the Student Leadership Council was talking about how South needs more spirit, so we need to connect more with each other in the school. So, this maybe isn’t the biggest thing ever, but I do think it’s a good step in the right direction.”
After running it for a year, Thomas said they are proud of what the account has achieved and hope that it has had significance in others’ lives.
“The account has been one of the most consistent things and one of the most successful things that I’ve done in the last year,” they said. “It’s made me very happy, and I hope it’s also made other people happy.”
*name changed to protect student’s identity