The 21st century is the age of social media obsession, but how to navigate this tricky world of self-promotion? The Resident columnist Henry Conway gives us the low down on social media etiquette
London is in the grip of an epidemic – a social media epidemic. It is way past saving, even I have been irretrievably infected.
Should I be presented with a delicious plate of something, the urge rises from deep within to whip out my iPhone, take a picture, filter it and tell everyone how fabulous my gastronomy is in comparison to theirs. All of my friends check their social media channels morning and night, and tag with abandon. If I see another picture in front of the Chelsea Ivy flower wall I will scream. Yes, it is the modern addiction.
We are all insta-stars among our own groups, but if one breaks through to greater Insta-glory, can a social media star be classed as the new socialite? Only a decade ago, to be an It-girl, you needed to be featured in the glossy pages of Hello, ES mag, or the social pages of this fine magazine.
Now, anyone can be a socialite, within seconds, with three taps and an upload. No longer is a glimpse into a fabulous designer life reserved for the glossies – the pressure to show your life as a continuous photo shoot is omnipresent.
At all times it must appear that one has never had a bad hair day or had to put the bins out (which in my case is obviously true), but like all social phenomena, rules on how to behave spring up naturally. So what makes social media success?
Anyone who has been to a smart wedding will tell you that social media at a formal occasion must be treated with extreme caution. The delicate handling of what should and should not be shared is really down to the discretion of the bride and groom.
Don’t treat someone’s wedding day as if it were a blogger’s press trip
Many weddings I attend have a blanket ban on sharing pictures of the day, clearly stated on the invitation – be it that they don’t want to enrage those who have not been invited, or simply are very private about their lives, and you must respect their wishes. It is acceptable to post a place setting or a picture of your outfit, but don’t treat someone’s big day as if it were a blogger’s press trip. As with everything, less is more.
When it comes to more day to day insta-etiquette, there are a few guidelines that, like all social mores, are obvious but essential. Firstly, always ask before posting – simple, but surprises are vulgar. Be kind with face editing apps and filters – I believe it polite to tidy up the odd line and tired eye, but don’t over do it, or you’ll end up looking like you went to a botox doctor with the shakes.
Angles are everything – keep it high. No one needs low shots – I know and love each of my chins, but I don’t want to share them. Private events should be just that – you don’t have to share everything. Hold something back.
Some of the best accounts I follow are restrained – remember this is public, it is for everyone to see. I love sharing my life everyday, and nosing into others, but get a little editorial about it – try not to pick up bad grammatical habits. ‘On fleek’ is not a thing.
If in doubt, the more ridiculous the hashtag the better – don’t take yourself too seriously, and you’ll win.
Follow @henryconway on Twitter