One would think, given the way the Internet often functions, that posting a self-esteem booster on your Instagram in the middle of an international social and economic crisis would be enough to get you “canceled,” if only for the extreme narcissism of it. But as this worst-case scenario has become our reality, one thing is certain: if a global pandemic can’t stop us from posting photos of ourselves, nothing can.

Not even a government-enforced lockdown, apparently, can relieve that familiar fear that you’ll disappear into the ether if you don’t post on social media to remind people of your existence. If anything, that dooming feeling seems to be amplified by the current circumstances—like your own family may not know if you’re O.K. unless you post a bikini photo from the other room. The excuses we invent as reasons to post pictures have always fascinated me, and during the pandemic I’ve seen these elaborate justifications reach new creative heights. Sorry, did I say “creative”? I meant redundant.