HM Influencers: Affirmations and Caught Sleeping hits Instagram

Erica Jiang, Staff Writer

“It seems to be a common trend that Mr. Epstein’s A-period physics class has a severe case of the morning sleeps. Get it together!” says the caption of a recent post on @hmcaughtsleeping, an Instagram account dedicated to photographing students asleep on campus. The private account, created on December 2, has more than 400 followers and almost 100 posts.

The account was inspired by trends on platforms such as TikTok, where people took pictures of others doing funny activities at school, account owner Dave* (11) said. “The idea to start [an account] for HM really started when one of my friends that goes to a nearby school sent me a photo of her getting ‘caught’ sleeping,” they said. “I thought it was hilarious and wanted to replicate that.” 

Dave first started the account independently but now runs it with a friend. Together, they post submissions to the account’s profile and post engaging polls and pictures to their story.

The account is purposefully private so that only students at the school can see posts. A follow request will only be accepted if there are indications that the account belongs to a UD student, Dave said. “If someone wants their photo removed, they simply send us a direct message (DM) and we’ll remove that post immediately,” they said. “While the whole point of the account is to ‘catch’ innocent people sleeping, students are wise enough to know that some of their friends are not comfortable having their pictures online, so they will choose not to send us pictures of certain people. Either way, we value people’s privacy and try to post everything with clear consent.” 

Anyone who follows the account can submit photos through a DM. Although most of the submissions are of people genuinely asleep, some are creatively staged. “Either way, it’s fun seeing people get creative, so I’ve done some ‘Hall of Shames’ where I’ll compile staged posts and post them together in a story so those photos still get recognized, but in a different way,” Dave said. 

At the peak of the account’s popularity in early December, they received almost 15 submissions a day, Dave said. While they typically post most submissions, they sometimes save staged photos to compile later. 

Many students enjoy seeing all the pictures of others sleeping. “I love seeing [the posts] every day because it reminds me that everyone at HM is constantly tired which kind of unites us in a way,” Ariela Shuchman (11) said. “It’s also a great way to check in throughout the day, almost like breaking news updates with a new person caught sleeping.” 

Similarly, Ellie Romero (9) enjoys following the account because it makes her happy to see crazy sleeping positions, Romero said. “It makes me laugh, and it’s a nice break,” she said. “It makes me feel better that I know I’m not the only one who needs more sleep.” 

Despite the continued hype around the account from many students, others are beginning to lose interest. Eliza Becker (12) believes the account posts too much and loses credibility because a lot of the posts are staged, she said. “You’ve got to kind of be clever with those accounts and limit your posts to only really good ones,” she said.

Dave hopes that in the future, the account will shift ownership and continue as the years go by, they said. “I don’t expect the account to have as much hype as it did when it first started, but I hope it continues as a fun HM trend that continues for years to come that new members of our community can enjoy.”  

HORACE MANN AFFIRMATIONS 

“I am worthy of 8 hours. Sleep is more important than my grades. I deserve 8 hours. I will get my 8 hours,” reads one of the most popular posts on the Instagram account @horacemann_affirmations. 

Tayler*, who asked to remain anonymous to make sure the account remains open to the entire school community, has been posting on the account since January 7 after being inspired by similar accounts from other schools. They are the sole owner of the account, creating everything from the profile picture to the posts, with submissions, Tayler said.

For the near future, Tayler hopes to remain anonymous. However, they would consider handing off the account to another owner and revealing their identity later, they said. 

The account has gained over 300 followers since its creation and currently has over 20 posts that humorously detail topics that the school community either lacks or strives to create, Tayler said. 

In under two weeks, the account has gained over 300 followers. “I feel [the account] brings together our community, and it feels like a big inside joke between all of us in the school,” Isabel Mavrides-Calderon (11) said. Seeing everyone comment and interact with each post connects the community together through shared experiences, she said. 

“Seeing how everybody at the school has very similar experiences and struggles about school life is so entertaining and relieving,” Max Feng (10) said. “It makes me feel like I’m not alone at all.” 

Eliza Becker (12), on the other hand, feels the account is valuing quantity over quality and fading away. “I appreciate it to a point, but it’s also starting to post too often with not good enough content,” Becker said.

Students often talk about the account’s posts with their friends as well, Feng said. “Some of their posts remind me of my friends so I love sharing it to them,” Feng said. 

Gillian Ho (9) also usually discusses new posts with friends, she said. 

Tayler bases the posts off of submissions sent in by students. Then, Tayler creates the visuals and slightly edits the text to make sure the post is appropriate, they said. “Some submissions bewilder me, but as long as they don’t mention names, I am willing to assist students in speaking their hopes, desires, and dreams.” On average, the account will receive one or two submissions a day, and each post takes around two minutes to create, Tayler said.

One of Ho’s favorite posts is about the former Lutnick fish tank, she said. The post, with over 200 likes, reads, “The fish are okay. I have moved on. They are on vacation. The fish will be coming back soon.” Students have shared this post across social media, leaving over 20 comments. Jacob Shaw (12) was one of the students who commented on the post. “I choose to believe the fish are still in the tank, they just got stage fright,” he wrote.

Mavrides-Calderon relates to the posts and hopes the account will continue over the years, she said. “I think it’s a fun, harmless way to joke about our experience.” 

Feng also hopes the account will keep running, he said. “It’ll be a place full of core memories of school-related experiences. I’m sure the future students will come to love it as well.”