(And as it’s mid-year, we’re going for another 7 posts in 7 days. If I manage it again at Christmas it will look like I blogged all year …)
The Urban Dictionary definition of “thirsty” is “too eager to get something/ needy/ attention whore”.
You know where this is going already, don’t you?
Instagram didn’t exist a decade ago so it’s no wonder people are still deciding what’s in it for them. And that we’re still developing a decent Instaquette. Personally, although IG has been a wonderful a place of freedom and development for me, I’ve increasingly felt like I’m at the school gates of some ghastly faux-pawsh establishment full of desperate, competitive parents.
A while ago someone was so blatantly and nakedly ambitious on Instagram in a way they behaved with me that it took my breath away. So I asked people, what were the really trashy behaviours they’d come across online?
Here, for your delectation, are the results.
Yes, that old chestnut. It’s happened to me since the very beginning and I thought I wasn’t bothered by it until a writer for a well-known magazine did it to me recently. I was really hurt because it was someone I’d love to have made a connection with. And it kind of spoiled the magazine for me… If big hitters like Mother Pukka and BBC Woman’s Hour can behave with dignity, why can’t some piss arse mindfulness writer?
Admittedly I used to do follow/unfollow when I first started but only on really big accounts. I figured that Beyonce probably wasn’t going to notice. I would never have done it to small accounts because it’s rude and hurtful. And here we learn the first lesson of Instaquette. If you wouldn’t do it in real life, don’t do it on the gram. (NB. follow/unfollow didn’t work for me, it won’t for you. It never works).
- Hijacking someone’s post
This was the action that certain nameless person did to me a couple of months ago and I was dumbfounded. I posted a picture and caption that caught some peoples’ attention and there was debate going on with a decent number of comments. This woman (for it was indeed a she) hopped on my comments and without even liking my post or having the decency to leave me a comment directly, went down the list of messages and responded (in a fairly creepy fashion) to every single one of them. “Oh, hi! Yes, you’re soooo right. I like totally agree with you. Why don’t you take a look at MY feed?”
Now I understand networking but this is just fucking rude. If I were talking to you at a party and this woman walked up, pushed me out of the way and said “Oh hi! I’m here now so you don’t need to bother with her…” would you think they were a lovely person? Possibly not. I deleted every single one of her comments. If you want to follow her, you’ll have to find her yourself.
Others messaged me to say they hate it when people have a conversation with each other on a post that doesn’t include them. This may be OK when the post in question has 350 comments and the poster is unlikely to answer them all. But when it’s someone with a small feed and 5 comments, it’s rather like being iced out at your own birthday party.
Once again, if you wouldn’t do it in real life, don’t do it on the gram.
- Living on the gram.
This one isn’t rude, just a bit sad. And possibly my own personal prejudice? But clearly spending ALL your time on IG doesn’t seem to me to be the best way to live the only life you’re going to get. Even if you love it, even if you earn your living on it … posting 5 times a day plus 700 stories is a bit much. Liking and commenting like a bot is bit obsessive. (And not good business practice either; diversify people!).
It is personal bête noir of mine, I admit, that probably says more about me than it does about you. Once someone opined ‘You obviously put a lot of work into your feed’ and I almost choked. NOOO! That’s just so uncool.
Having said that, IG posts about a life of IG posts isn’t very exciting and can be rather ‘pop has eaten itself’. We’re very good at sniffing out inauthenticity (see number 5).
So ultimately, IG is fabulous in conjunction with real life. Not instead of it.
- The pointless call to action
Insta-gurus quite rightly tell you that you regularly need to post a ‘call to action’. A what, I hear you clueless amateurs ask? A question that gets people interested and responding to your post. A way of opening up the lines of communication between yourself and your followers to foster communication. Also, the more comments, the higher up the rankings and more favoured by the algorithm you are. So win-win all round? Yes, but …
When done well, the call to action is fantastic. When thoughtful people post provocative, topical or caring questions, which really mean something to their followers then it can become a great space for debate and community.
On the other hand “Gummy bears!!!! Pink or Orange?” does not achieve this. The number of badly written posts with some stupid question attached to the end (“Wisteria, guys, what do you think?”) renders the call to action a cliché of the worst kind.
Again this isn’t rude. It’s boring. Which is far, far worse.
- The Fake Cake Post.
Oh, you didn’t really make that cake? Hmmmm. Stories abound of the Instagrammer spotted setting up a glorious picnic, photographing it, then packing it away and going to McDonald’s. Sure enough, said post appears without even a whiff of the MaccyDs. So it was all a big fat lie…
I try to create beautiful images for Instagram because that’s what I like doing. Acknowledging the creation is part of the fun. Pretending they’re real is a bit naughty. Pretending you spend all your time doing yoga on the beach at dawn, when in fact you went once with 7 different sets of yoga pants, is a bit of a cheat. Pretending you spend your days drifting around the streets of Chelsea when in fact you spend most of them in Lidls and once a month haul yourself to the Kings Road for a 100 pictures is not entirely honest.
And why bother? People love a bit of authenticity. It must be insecurity. “My life is not good enough for Instagram so I’ll create a fake one.” And this does no-one any good, not the people faking it nor the people looking at it.
Just one big round of envy and lies.
There were lots of other behaviours that people hated on IG (from using too many hashtags, to reposting the same photo of fairy lights 1000 times, to showing their feet) but these top five encapsulate much of what’s shitty about it. It might be good if we stuck a bit more to the “Real Life Rule”. Have one, post one, be polite like it is one.
Why people are so thirsty on IG is a whole other post … so we’ll do that later this week in “How to be a massive success on Instagram (but not in the way you think)”.
In the meantime, keep posting (but have that drink of water first.)