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Is Subgram the New Subtweet?

Beyonce's Instagram

If you're an Internet user, you know about Jay Z and Solange's elevator fight. While none of the involved parties have released a statement, Beyoncé and Solange's curious actions on Instagram were all the world needed to draw their own conclusions about the drama.

In case you missed it, two days after the Met Gala, Beyoncé posted a prayer including the lines, “I lift up every one of my relationships to You and ask You to bless them,” and, “Help me to choose my friends wisely so I won’t be led astray.” It was then reported that Solange subsequently deleted a handful of Instagram pictures with her big sis. Earlier today, Bey posted four blissful pictures in a row of the two.

This type of unspoken communication on social media isn’t new. After all, the subtweet (a tweet that subtly, or not-so-subtly, calls out another person without the explicit use of their Twitter handle) has been around almost as long as Twitter itself. Passive aggressive? Petty? Ruining Twitter? The Twittersphere is still weighing in on this 'subtle art of Twitter gossip.'

Now that Instagram is a dominant social media tool for celebs and middle schoolers alike, thinly veiled messages are surfacing there as well.

The subgram, similar to the subtweet, seems to be a way to indirectly send a statement to the world by way of a strategically composed or timed photo. One particularly juvenile example of this happened last month when a high schooler from Georgia reportedly broke up with his girlfriend via a carefully cropped photo with the caption #TransformationTuesday. The hashtag #subgram has already been used in 6,249 posts on Instagram and in a slew of other variations including #subgramtuesday.

This brings up the question: Is it really a subgram if you’re calling out that it’s subliminal? ('Yes. This is a #subgram' the user below writes). How sly.


In the case of celebs, it also signals a new way of communicating to the media.

Why talk to a news outlet when your every move on Instagram will be dissected anyway? Just pull a Selena Gomez and un-follow your BFF and you won’t have to say a word.

What do you think? Have you ever subgrammed? Follow us on Instagram to decode our secret messages (just kidding, we don't do that), or tell us what you think on Twitter @Shape_Magazine.


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