Instagram etiquette worth a double-tap

Sofia Galiano / Staff Writer

Earlier this month I revamped my Instagram account. I updated my profile picture to a photo that didn’t include my ex, added a nonsensical “About Me” and started following people I actually know (not just alternative hip-hop artist Tyler, the Creator and YouTuber Connor Franta).

Soon after using the popular picture-sharing application, a brush of nostalgia came over me. I felt similar to how I did when I first joined Facebook. It was like there were a set of unspoken rules for using the social medium that I was unfamiliar with, and no one was going to teach me.

For this reason, I created a list of 5 rules that all IG users should follow:

  1. Don’t be a cliché: Scrolling through the “Explore” tab, which showcases trending photos in your country, pictures your followers liked and suggestions based on images you liked, I see dozens of men and women in revealing outfits, fancy cuisine dishes, and of course, puppies and kittens. Don’t be that guy.Post interesting photos and videos that capture a unique moment of the human experience, like a selfie while riding on a roller coaster or an underwater video of you snorkeling near a coral reef. Doesn’t that sound much more entertaining than an image of what you had for breakfast?


  1.  Avoid an age-revealing “About Me”: Some users put emojis of their favorite foods, sports or animals to describe themselves, others bullet-point their age, astrological sign, ethnic background and city of residence. I suggest refraining from this all together. Why? Not only is it immature, but because describing oneself using stock cartoon images or in a couple fragments is rather insulting.Homo sapiens are capable of rational thought and can transfer those thoughts into complex sentences via a virtual reality. With that being said, write a sentence or two that best captures who you are. It doesn’t even have to be clever. Just avoid putting doughnut emojis or “Live. Laugh. Love.” in your bio and you should be fine.


  1. Be fearless when tapping “Follow”: The main dilemma I’ve come across since using Instagram on a consistent basis is whether you should follow someone you never met before. After debating if I should follow several guys I am crushing on, I made up my mind: go for it.I know several people who have met their current partners on Instagram without knowing them prior, with one couple even living on opposite ends of the country. That’s proof of the opportunities that can come from taking a risk and following the person you fancy. Remember, just because you don’t know someone today doesn’t mean you won’t know them tomorrow.


  1. Be selective in your double-taps: You learn a lot about your friends by the photos they like. One of my followers is into witty and inspirational quotes, another likes every pair of sneakers that appears in their newsfeed. That’s fine, except people can also track the half-naked men and women you were gazing at last night; leading some to awkwardly ask themselves, “Isn’t that person in a relationship?”.Only liking exceptionally artsy or moving photos has two benefits: first, followers will be motivated to put only their best selfie forward to win you over and attain maximum likes. And secondly, this will filter the suggested photos in the “Explore” tab, thus creating more opportunities for you to like more exceptionally good photos – it’s an endless spiral.


  1. Don’t take these rules too seriously: It’s Instagram, not LinkedIn. Let your creative and childish desires run wild by posting photos of adorable stray kitties. Replace words like ‘love’ and ‘Miami’ with a heart and palm tree emoji respectively. Read rule number three, go follow your crush, then unfollow them after reading rule number five because truthfully, you would rather die than have them find out you are in some way attracted to them. Double-tap all the photos of hot models in gym wear and bikinis, regardless if your girlfriend or boyfriend sees it. They trust you, right?


Have fun documenting your life using cell phone photography.


About the Author

Sofia Galiano
: News Director Assistant, former BBC Managing Editor. I'm a senior journalism major and psychology minor. I wrote for the South Florida Times through the Liberty City Link in spring 2014 and have written for The Beacon since fall 2013.

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