It's Etiquette Week at SFist, in which SFist's editors dole out some prescriptive advice for how to behave in this city we all share in order not to overly annoy, offend, or otherwise piss off your fellow citizens. Please read carefully.
Instagram, which Facebook bought for a billy in 2012, is refreshing for a social network. While there have been changes afoot recently — an algorithmically reordered timeline and a brand new redesign — it's not like the point of the platform has shifted. Instagram is great because it's so much simpler and more delightful than its parent company. Facebook is a disorganized jumble of political rants and baby photos and news articles, but Instagram cuts right to the core. What do you see, it seems to ask. Of course, you'll notice plenty of Instagram posturing — the question might really be "what do you see that you want someone else to see you seeing?" Still, the project of self presentation in pictures is kinda *artsy* and *fun,* and it's fun to see other people trying it, too. Anyway, here are a few best practices to keep it that way.
Public or Private
It's all or nothing on Instagram. Anyone who stumbles across your feed can see all your photos if you're public. If you're private, they need your approval. I think being public is better. First, without any barriers, you'll get more followers, which is how you win. Kidding sorta. Second is that you probably shouldn't post, like, photos of drug use or illegal activity anyway, even if you're private, because it isn't really so private after all. Perhaps you don't want people to know exactly what you look like, but Snapchat, in my humble opinion, is for selfies, while Instagram is not.
What to Post
Post good pictures. They're better if they're of something interesting, but they don't have to be. Conversely, don't post bad photos. I don't want to see a blurry, unfocused photo of an interesting thing, because that's just frustrating. We get it, you were near a cool thing. You have a photo (with your thumb in it) to prove it. Post photos of weird stuff. An average photo of the Statue of Liberty says "I went to New York." A striking image of a rat eating garbage says "I get New York now."
How Much To Post
Did you know that if you post five pictures in quick succession that are of a similar thing I will unfollow you? I will! I think you should post once, maybe twice a day. A lot of people keep their feeds curated, and pictures are bigger than tweets and such, so you're occupying space. The task of posting less is also a fun artistic constraint, because it forces you to think about what you want to say.
Instagram is kind of for showing off, but this can be super gross sometimes you guys. If what you're showing off is that you have a bunch of money to blow on shit and you take bad pictures of it, what are you really saying that the Rich Kids of Instagram haven't said already? Did you work hard and now you're taking a vacation? People are proud of you and want to see your photo of it! Did you go out for another fucking dinner? Are you planning to add that to your carefully curated Instagram feed of expensive things signifying nothing? Less cool.
That all said, I don't mean to sound too proscriptive. If you got it, flaunt it. We see you lookin confident, and we like it. Tell a cool story.
Use them. They're still kinda useful and funny on Instagram, and can provide good context. Were you #winning today? If so, #bless.
Filters on Instagram are fun and you should use them, but don't distract from your image. They're really there, at least they were in the first place, to make phone pictures look not quite so bad. Now phone pictures are good, so I find them less necessary. #nofilter #2016 #wokeuplikedis #yasss