We’ve all been spending a lot more time on social media lately. Whether Instagram, Facebook, TikTok, or something else (that as a mid-thirty-something I’m not even aware of yet) is your preferred poison, I would like to respectfully submit that it’s time for us all to make some behavioral changes in how we socialize online.
In my abundant surplus of free time (thank you, Coronavirus and the practical shutdown of the arts industry), I’ve lost countless hours to Instagram and Facebook scrolling. Well, actually, I’m a few sentences in, and it’s already time to correct myself. I say “countless hours”, but in actuality, I’ve counted thanks to my phone’s “Screen Time” analysis settings. So, here are the saddest of statistics of my life thus far:
In the past week, I opened Instagram 231 times, with a total of 5 hours of use, for an average of about 45 minutes of Instagram perusal a day.
In that same week, I disturbingly opened Facebook 409 times, with a total of 15.75 hours of use, with an average of about 2.25 hours per day (this data might be skewed by viewing links out of Facebook, as I’m not sure if those count toward the accrued time).
My phone doesn’t offer longitudinal data on Screen Time use. I can only judge myself for the past couple of weeks, but judge, I will, and extrapolate, I must. My collective social media time of about three hours a day means that in the past six months of quarantine, I’ve probably clocked over 500 hours on Instagram and Facebook. I would say a social media detox is in my future.
I tell you all of this because I want you to realize that for many of you, these statistics will be similar or potentially worse and I invite you to check up on yourself, and I want to firmly establish myself as a frequent user and therefore, a scrolling expert capable of pointing out what I view to be some of the worst offenders of social media behavior.
Ready? Here we go:
1) The Abbreviator of Words That Need Not Be Abbreviated
Examples: collab, gorg, fowsh, tog, preesh, etc.
This is the abbreviation I see the most and am therefore most irritated by. The English language is wide-ranging and nuanced. We have beautiful rolling words at our disposal like “mellifluous,” “serendipitous,” and “ineffable,” and yet, we end up with “collab,” “gorg,” “fowsh,” and "preesh." Must we really shorten every word to oblivion? I vote no.
2) The Incessant Re-share Bandit
Example: A photographer takes a gorgeous (not gorg, thank you) photo and shares it to their Instagram feed. They then re-share that post in their Instagram story, their Facebook personal page, their Facebook photography page, and every single photography group to which they belong.
I don’t know about you, but when I see a photo come across my Facebook feed for the third time because a photographer’s marketing strategy is “more is more,” I get a little annoyed. That’s an immediate unfollow for sure. There are enough actual spam accounts out there; it's sad to see talented photographers spamming each other because they’re a little too click-happy with the re-share button. Keep in mind that many of the same people belong to multiple photography groups on Facebook (especially location-based groups), so you’re likely spamming the same folks with that eighth post of your photo.
3) The Meme Pirate
Example: Person A posts a funny photo with a caption that is relevant to them. Person B eventually sees it and recreates it as if it is their own. Persons C through Z never see the original post, only the plagiarized version. The Meme Pirate gets all of the laughs and re-shares. Person A, who had the original funny thought, is forgotten.
Who actually thinks this is a good idea? Some accounts were made an example of when they re-shared and profited off content without tagging the original creator. Many accounts seemingly solved the attribution problem by remaking the memes themselves. Don’t pretend like it’s yours because you changed the font and background color. Create your own funny meme. Boromir is waiting for you.
4) The Unsolicited Advisor
Example: Person A shares a photo to a photography group and does not ask for critique. Person B offers critique, or even worse, downloads the photo and re-edits it to show what they would have done differently.
I have legitimately seen this happen. Multiple times. I know that we are all experts in our own minds and we have certain techniques that we love and styles that we strive for in our own work, but please, don’t re-edit someone else's photo without them asking you to. It’s just a dick move and seems like a no-brainer, and yet...
5) The Trojan Compliment Giver
Example: Instagram comments like “this is such a cool shot, you should really follow my friend @waycoolerthanyou76,” or “OMG LOVE THIS, can I get a follow? I know you’ll like my pics too,” or my personal favorite, “I would have cropped this differently but I see what you’re going for. Check out my photography tips on my feed @ilearnedphotographyoninstagramyesterday.”
The world is crashing and burning. We all need some positivity in our lives. If you like a photo and feel the need to comment, please make it valid and helpful. Don’t use comments as a means of self-promotion. If you really want more followers, you’ll get farther with genuine conversation and relationship-building than with veiled compliments.
What about you? Do any of these things get on your nerves? According to psychologists, we’re all at risk of being a little more irritable these days, so what’s been driving you up a wall? Get it off your chest in the comments! Thanks, togs! I fowsh can't wait to hear what you have to add. Preesh!