I Am Obsessed With Instagram’s Suggested Video Reels as a Replacement for Facebook and TV Series

Jill Eng


I don’t use that term often, almost never.

But I am indeed laughing out loud when I scroll through the mini-videos (reels) that Instagram posts on my feed.

I am off most social media these days — things I used to be on like Facebook and Twitter.

I play on Medium as a writer and reader there.

And I use Instagram but only for a selection of close friends and family. And I almost never post.

However, when I do look, I am always surprised by the suggested videos they choose to grab my attention.

It is like I am a kid in a candy store for the very first time. It’s ridiculous how giddy it makes me.

I used to be an intense television-a-holic. Well, I call it TV but it was movies and tons of series on Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime.

I also borrowed stuff from the local library since our in-town video store had gone out of business and donated their entire inventory to the Portland Public Library (Maine).

This was a regular thing for me for years post-divorce back in 2008.

Until two years ago, when I gave it up entirely.

Now that I no longer watch anything — which is as bizarre if you knew the old me as the fact that I no longer eat sugar, gluten, or chocolate — I guess it makes me more of a sucker for these surprise mini-viewings on Insta.

Of course there are the animal ones that capture my attention. Kittens on dogs, monkeys on kittens, pigs in dresses, people playing music for dolphins, giraffes giving birth, you name it they got it.

I’m a goner.

And adorable baby videos that are each one of a kind.

A man singing a Spanish song on his guitar with a week-old infant draped over the instrument swooning with primal sounds to the vibrations of the plucked strings.

An Italian two-year-old cooking with her mother while blathering and gesticulating wildly — Italian style — as if she were a seventy-year-old woman.

I hit repeat on that stuff over and over again.

This next one kills me.

A couple in their nineties reunited after years of being separated. The tears come rolling down my cheeks.

A six-year-old dancing to Saturday Night Fever as if he were John Travolta.

And then there are reruns of Schitts Creek, Seinfeld, and Friends.

Can’t resist those.

They are the whipped cream.

Anthony Hopkins giving advice on addiction.

Tom Hanks guiding actors.

Meryl Streep watching Jack Nicholson win an award.

Insta knows exactly what to feed me to keep me hooked.

But the one that got me today — and don’t ask me why — that I could not stop watching and had to forward to a friend, was an old SNL skit.

Christopher Walken is producing the band and Will Ferrell plays the cowbell.

I have seen this before, and I suspect I saw the original when it came out because I was a huge Saturday Night Live fan back in the day.

I still am, but only ever get glimpses of snippets on social media platforms.

Oh right, that would be another one that throws me into joy.

Saturday Night Live remnants that involve Kate McKinnon and/or Molly Shannon.

Being that I never indulge in any screen entertainment outside these Insta rolls, I allow myself the deep pleasure of scrolling through whenever I want some throwbacks and folly.

Kind of like the way I pig out on coconut-covered date balls when needing a sugar fix.

It beats frozen snicker bars and mini chocolate chip cookies.

Or snarf down a half a bag of gluten-free seed crackers as a replacement for a whole bag of ruffles potato chips while still in the supermarket.

I reveled hard in junk food and television and now take on the mild versions when needing a boost.

I hope you will allow yourself the indulgence of clicking on that SNL cowbell video above. (If you’re in a rush start right before two minutes in.)

You won’t regret it.

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I am a mindfulness author and teacher. I blog on healing from emotional trauma, guilt, anxiety, divorce, relationships, women, writing, parenting, and gratitude.

Portland, ME

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