As Election Day progresses, voting selfies are dominating Instagram. Almost every user has likely encountered at least one from a celebrity or friend, urging other users to perform their civic duty. But as the now tried-and-true format has proliferated, a new one has emerged behind it: the voting thirst trap.
A “thirst trap” can be an attractive person or an attractive photo of an attractive person, posted to social media, aimed at garnering maximum attention. Most thirst traps take the form of bikini pics, shirtless selfies, or perfectly staged poses. An effective thirst trap makes your thumb pause in the feed and gaze for just a second more.
Posting a thirst trap is a great way to rake in a lot of likes on a photo. But as many Instagrammers have found, it’s also a great way to try and get out the vote. “Go swing to your nearest poll today and #vote,” the hair stylist and Instagrammer Joseph Randall posted below a selfie of him nearly naked, in a thong, straddling a wrecking-ball swing above the water in Thailand. “I VOTED,” posted Daniel Henson, a fashion designer with nearly 30,000 followers. The photo above featured a shirtless selfie displaying a set of chiseled abs with an I voted sticker plastered to his skin above his right nipple.
“I wanted to post something that was going to get my followers’ attention,” Randall said. “I knew it was a thirsty photo, but I also wanted it to be different than other posts we see out there encouraging [people] to vote with just the sticker. You come across that in your timeline like 15 million times.” Randall and others who have participated in the trend say that the highly engaging nature of thirst traps actually makes them the perfect vehicle for getting the message out.