Alongside the cheesy class photos, faculty listings, and special, "in this year" news sections, one of the classic ingredients of the 80s and 90s middle school yearbook was the fill-in-the-blank section. Packed with queries about the most benign of preferences — favorite food, favorite movie, favorite song — the section was used as an easy way to take the pulse of what your pre-teen self considered cool (and your adult self would later cringe at reading).
Now, this format is experiencing a rebirth of sorts on Instagram Stories, where a number of brands, influencers, and standalone accounts have hopped on the trend, supplying Gen Z Instagrammers with various themed, fill-in-the-blank templates. These templates, which users are encouraged to screenshot, upload to their Story, and add text to, vary in style, though many adopt familiar game formats. There are "this or thats" and "would you rathers", as well as "truth or dare" scenarios (i.e. say the name of the person you like or post an embarrassing screenshot).
It's the onscreen equivalent of a ten year old's sleepover.
Some of the accounts creating the games, such as @igstoryquestions, which boasts over 34,000 followers, popped up before Instagram rolled out its own poll and question stickers. Others, such as the popular @igstorytemplate, which has 417,000 followers and @storytemps, which has 110,000 followers, appeared pre-question sticker, but post-poll sticker. However, neither sticker threatens to eclipse the accounts, which offer specific questions rather than letting users write their own.
Many of the template accounts have very few posts to their actual feed — @storytemps, for example, has only nine — choosing instead to save dozens of Story templates to categorized highlights that range from pop culture-related themes to personal ones. For this reason, many of the accounts look like bots at first glance. (To be fair, searching on Instagram for "story templates" does pull up many bot accounts or, at least, very poorly maintained accounts with few actual templates, so you do need to weed through to find the good ones.)
The highlight approach is also one taken by influencers, such as 22-year-old Jaci Marie Smith, whose options range from the yearbook-style "Favorite Things" template to others such as "YouTube Favs" that encourage her over 370,000 followers to tag individuals in their responses. The same is true for Angela Giakas, an Australian-based influencer who runs the @thesundaychapter account, which has a templates highlight full of over 50 pre-set options that range from "have you evers" to diary-style fill-in-the-blanks.
While most people could probably do without reliving the less-than-glorious parts of middle school, the templates do add a playful, if slightly kitschy, element to Stories. Chances are, if you were to fill one out today, your favorite movie would look a little different than it did back then.