24 July 2014

To Hashtag Or Not To Hashtag? Here's Our Definitive Guide To Insta-Etiquette

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[Instagram]

We all love posting pictures on Instagram. But should you really put up that one of your friend’s wedding day/ new baby before she does? Hmm… here’s our definitive guide to Instagram etiquette

Welcome to summer, a time of barbecues, Tinder and 14-hour wedding parties. It’s at this time that photo-sharing app Instagram comes into its own as we compete to share and publicise our every waking hour. Why? Who knows. But the truth is: if it isn’t on Instagram, expertly cropped and filtered through Hudson, did it actually happen?

Enough! Or so say one in seven brides (among them Kim Kardashian) who, according to new research, think mobiles should be banned from weddings for fear of spoiling the Big Reveal. Steven
Petrow, author of new book Mind Your Digital Manners, thinks it’s Gen Y who need to think before they click.

There is a wedding hashtag backlash. A survey on The Knot reveals that 55 percent of couples are now hashtagging their weddings. But EJ Dickson from The Daily Dot says we need to all stop hashtagging before it's too late.

From posting pictures of a first date to shaming fellow gym-goers, the social quandaries of Insta-quette are boundless. Here’s a guide to help you with all that…


1. A friend’s wedding

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THE INST A-QUETTE

It’s polite to ask the bride or family member before posting a photo. And, as a rule, avoid Instagramming any ‘firsts’: dance, kiss and big reveals.

BUT WHY?

There’s a reason wedding photographers exist – to ensure every moment is perfectly documented. Also, are you a BFF or a plus one? Because that alters your ‘say’. As Steven Petrow
says, publicising an intimate event ‘only makes it clear to others that they weren’t invited’.

IF YOU MUST

‘It’s appropriate to wait at least 24 hours before sharing anything. Alternatively, you could suggest starting a hashtag for wedding pictures to turn it into an event,’ says modern manners and etiquette expert Diane Gottsman.


2. WHAT Your cousin’s newborn baby

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THE INST A-QUETTE

Quite literally the mother of big reveals, the Insta-quette is pretty rigid. Don’t. Ever.

BUT WHY?

Really? OK. Well, anonymity, for a start – you’re removing the baby’s chance of controlling its presence on social media because, historically, most of us can’t consent to anything until we’re at primary school. Plus, a recent survey suggests one in four mothers-to-be wouldn’t post their own pictures online, so what gives you the right. Right?

IF YOU MUST

Wait until the parents post pictures, then ask their permission. If they don’t, then don’t even think about posting or reposting.

3. WHAT A first date

THE INST A-QUETTE

This is entirely your call, just use your common sense – ie, imagine how you’d feel having your already nervous, redcheeked mug hashtagged, filtered and liked by 16 strangers on Instagram. Exactly.

BUT WHY?

Well, firstly, it’s kind of creepy. Plus, who among you has Instamaniac on their ideal trait list? But mainly, as Diane points out, they may not want their picture online for many reasons, most of which begin with E and end with X.

IF YOU MUST 

Because you’re the excitable sort and, let’s face it, this is your first date since 2011, Instagram the build-up instead. You know, the getting ready, the pint of Dutch courage you’re holding because you’ve arrived 45 minutes early…

4. WHAT Fellow gym bunnies

THE INST A-QUETTE

Quite simply, no. They may well be kissing their guns by the kettlebells, but that doesn’t give you the right to mock them on social media.

BUT WHY?

This is tantamount to Stranger Shaming. In fact, it is stranger shaming, even if it’s thought that 79 per cent of people go to the gym to be looked at (we made this up but think it’s pretty accurate).

IF YOU MUST

Then turn the camera on yourself, like Alessandra Ambrosio. Provided you’re aware that capturing the moment you finish a 90-second one-arm plank makes you click-bait to trolls – go nuts! Personally, though, we think: keep your smartphone in your locker. As Diane says, it is the definition of boorish.

5. WHAT Dining out

THE INST A-QUETTE

Some restaurants ban it, but otherwise go mad. As they actually say in China, ‘the camera eats first’.

BUT WHY?

Aside from the fact that you aren’t legally required to get a salad’s consent before photographing it, foodstagramming is pretty harmless. Provided you don’t spend all your time scrolling
through filters and (this happened) stop the waiter carrying someone else’s dinner on the stairs because you simply had to document their linguine. I know.

IF YOU MUST

Keep it to a three-dish Insta-minimum, unless you want to lose followers because, well, yawn.


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