Social media's popular "in or out" lists can enhance living in the moment

click to enlarge Social media's popular "in or out" lists can enhance living in the moment
Eli Rallo is TikTok's queen of lists.

A pros and cons list is a great way to make executive decisions on big moments in life such as moving to a new city, taking on a new job, or adding a person or pet to your household. But what if I told you that milestones are overrated, and it's the small moments in life we should be focusing on instead?

Because we're constantly thinking about how to be a better version of ourselves in the future we often take our present selves for granted. I'd argue that we use social media too much to paint this aspirational vision. However, some apps could potentially be the key to living fully in the present.

I have this astrology app on my phone called Co–Star. It's not AI per say, but the app texts out personal phrases it believes each individual should abide by each day. I find the concept utterly fascinating because it helps me to distinguish my wants from my needs every day. The app also creates a specialized list of "dos and don'ts" which pair with the phrase and, apparently, if you follow them you're in line with the truest version of yourself. Something like that.

We're all aware that our TikTok feeds curate content the app believes best suits each person. Personally, I find this to be true because I, too, am guilty of thinking about how to upgrade to my future self. Enter Eli Rallo (TikTok @elirallo), a social media influencer with degrees in journalism from University of Michigan and Columbia University Journalism School. She loves to offer advice about small things she did that led to living it up in New York City as a freelance writer with her first book, I Didn't Know I Needed This, coming out in the fall.

Formerly known as @thejarr on TikTok, Rallo went viral after posting about her spiced-up version of snack mix. Now with a following of more than 727,000, the influencer has branded herself as a "rule inventor" who makes lists of things she believes will create better life experiences for people. Her most popular videos apply to people at different stages of dating, but she also creates rule lists for basically any opportunity, ranging from a beach day, to a lazy Sunday and — my personal favorite — rules to spice up any mundane day.

Though her Instagram (@eli.rallo) audience is smaller, Rallo posts impactful monthly lists of things that are "in" and "out." Ins may be things deemed popular within society at the time or that serve seasonal purposes. For example, in July, Rallo believes that women who grill, Little House on the Prairie dresses, and staycations and going out to breakfast are IN. Outs, on the other hand, are deemed as opposite of the current trend cycle, shunned by the public, or even create a toxic mindset. Rallo thus says, for example, that ukulele apology videos, pitting women against each other, and billionaires are OUT.

Rallo is a popular-culture connoisseur and up-and-coming influencer, which arguably gives her the credentials to make these lists, and she knows her followers listen to her. It's why I believe her debut book is destined to become a New York Times bestseller.

But here's the thing: The way you live life shouldn't be decided by one person or one app with a certain level of power over society. Follow the rules or don't.

As Rallo often says, "I don't know what your prerogative is." Just as a popular book can help someone get back into reading, lists of ins/outs can help someone get back to living life to the fullest each month and can allow for them to holistically be the happiest versions of themselves. They help weed out unhealthy aspects of an individual's life and make room for things that serve comfort, inspiration and, overall... purpose. Life needs spicing up every once in a while. Change is good, it keeps life interesting. And interesting lives make interesting people with purpose. ♦

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