July 15, 2012

Instagram Etiquette for Newbies …

Instagram, Instagram, how fun are thee? Let me count the ways … !

beach overdose 1

Back in July I finally joined the social media phenomenon, Instagram. And I didn’t want to be that newbie dummy who broke all the rules of conduct right out of the gate. So I googled all the Instagram etiquette rules I could find. Here is some of what I discovered in my research.

The big “rules”, the dos and don’ts, the “etiquette”, if you will:
· Don’t overpost – don’t flood the feed (that’s what Flickr or Facebook albums are for). A good post rate is 1-2 pictures per day.

· Do make each picture profound in some way – be creative.

· Post phone pics only. If you must post dslr pics, make sure to label them as such (#dslr, #notphonepic). If you don’t label them as such, I promise you’ll get a barrage of “Is this a phone pic?” queries.

· Keep it classy – save the cleavage shots for Myspace.

· Be friendly, “like” pictures, join the conversation.

· Go easy on the food pics.

· Avoid the iPhone vs. Android bashing.

· Instagram is not for status updates (that’s what twitter & facebook are for).

· Don’t post nearly-the-same-picture of your pet every day.

· Or your baby.

· When you begin following someone new, comment or like one of their photos; don’t be Creepy-McCreeperson.

· Endless self-portraits get … old.

· Don’t drown your post with oodles of hashtags, because #too_many is #too_much and it’s #annoying and #unsightly.

· Don’t beg for followers – it’s considered tacky. And desperate.

· This should go without saying, but … don’t steal pictures and repost them as your own – super bad form. And illegal.

· Following someone doesn’t mean that they have to follow you back – don’t overthink it, don’t stress about it.

· Leave words, tweegrams, notes & pins off Instagram. Instagram is for *pictures*.

· Somebody had the audacity to suggest only limited use of tilt-shift. As if. (That’s almost my whole driving factor for wanting to begin Instagram – grin!)

· It’s ok to break the “rules”. (see tilt shift nonsense above!)

Breaking the “Rules”:

I decided the embrace that last “rule”. Grin. And I think I’m in pretty good company. My IG friends all seem to break the rules, too. (yikes, I’m hearing my mom’s voice in my head: “well, if all your friends decide to jump off the bridge, will you jump also?”)
I admit. I freely use my IG stream as a visual “status update”. And I do it all the time. Like when my dudes and I tie-dyed earlier this summer:

tie dye status update

And when we went to the beach:

beach overdose 2

And when we went to the art exhibit:

art exhibit

All of which brings me to the second biggie “rule” I break. I flood the stream sometimes. I am completely incapable of picking just one photo to represent an event/outing/activity. I am a storytelling photographer. It’s rare for me to capture the “whole story” in just one image. Exhibit: our biking adventure on the Hiawatha Trail. I took (and posted) a boatload of pictures:

hiawatha 1hiawatha 2

Endless self-portraits may get old, but I *love* to see my friends post pictures of themselves. It’s almost like being able to walk out my front door and wave at a neighbor. It fills my heart to “see” my friends, see what they’re doing, and feel connected across the miles. So I try to post occasional pictures of myself, y’know, to return the favor, and welcome the return waves.


I do promise not to drown you in pictures of my dog (just a few, now & then), food, my cleavage (which doesn’t exist!!) or my baby (who isn’t a baby anymore!). But I can’t promise not to immerse you regularly in pictures of the beach. We go there all the time. It’s beautiful ALL THE TIME. And I can’t resist posting regular doses of all that immense beauty.

dog dude
beach overdose 3

So, I guess what I’m really trying to communicate through this little post on Instagram “etiquette” is: go forth and have fun with it. Don’t worry about the “rules”. Be respectful and practice moderation in all things. Know your audience. Be ok with your own decisions and don’t be overly concerned by what everyone else is saying ;-). Oh, and if you want to follow me (I promise, I’m not begging. Or desperate!), you can find me as @susankeller_shortonwords

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