Communication Rules of 2014–#Instagram

instapicReaders, Welcome back!

Last week’s hiatus by design was originally reserved for the new e-mailing rules.  The committee (me) made the call to leave e-mail out of this, because it is not the center of our interactions like it was pre-facebook, instagram and all the other 2014 means of communication. I hereby predict the near death of email within 10 years.  It will all but be replaced and mostly reserved for paying bills and business related stuff.  Mark my word.  You heard it here.  First?  We left e-mail rules out, so this here post is to give you my take on Instagram etiquette. Here they are:

1.  One or two at a time–A lot of people get to experience life’s precious moments and display them on the internet.  Instagram can capture these moments with one or two pictures or a short video, but eight pictures in a row are bound to include at least two duplicates and flood our feeds.  I’m sure your two (2) pictures or a video at a time will procure as many likes as you can handle.  Less is almost always more in life and on Instagram.

2.  Baby photos–You know your baby is the cutest thing to ever grace social media or planet Earth.  I know your baby is the cutest thing to ever grace social media or planet Earth.  And you know that I know your baby is the cutest thing to ever grace social media or planet Earth.  This being said, discretion can be useful when posting pictures of your baby.  This rule is the first cousin of Rule #1.  Your baby’s first steps are important and should be viewable to your closest friends, but steps 4-49 being left out of Insta is not a travesty.  Take your time posting those pictures.  He or she will walk again.

3.  Food–People take overhead pictures of their uneaten food and put it on Instagram.  I don’t but love and respect some people who do.  Some meals at great restaurants deserve publicity.  Some meals with old friends do too, but the every plate of sustenance is often better left out.  We can see it, but you are the only one who can taste it.  Post accordingly.

4.  Conversation within comments–Comments under pictures about the pictures are necessary and usually clever.  Some pictures call for the acknowledgement of a comment.  Some people (parents mostly) make their months plans with other Instagrammers via picture comments. This is fine if you don’t mind people knowing even more than they already do about you in this day and age.  Texting or calling for Friday night plans or long vacation tales is better 99% of the time.  Actually its better 100% of the time.

5.  Hashtag length–Hashtags may just replace our sentences in 50 years.  Until then, feel free to write it out.  Saying #holycraplookathowdrunkwegotthenhadlatenightatjeffspoolhouse can just as easily be separated in regular English.

6.  Selfies say a lot–Contrary to what you may think, I don’t mind the occasional selfie.  The everyday selfie gets repetitive and should be reserved for special occasions.  Unless you are a Supermodel or at the Oscars, the scene behind is far more enthralling than your face from six inches.insta 2 7.  Use filters a lot–God invented Instagram to enhance pictures taken by amateur photographers.  Use the filters.  They never get old and are awesome.  They make great pictures better.

8.  Videos are great–Use this function as much as it makes sense.  You can reduce your Instagram footprint by recording a video instead of 9 still shots in a row.

9.  Take Cool pics–Its ok to lay on the ground at a concert to capture the show from the best vantage point.  In fact, we would all rather see your attempt at Quentin Taratino-esque cinematography.  Give different creative angles a shot.  A+ for effort and your result will usually be cooler than the eye level photo.

10 Have a sense of humor–I read an article featuring an interview with Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson a long time ago.  I don’t recall every part of it, but one nugget of sage wisdom took stuck with me.  You can be tough, or funny, but its rare to be both.  The wise choice is being funny.  Instagram is no exception.  Have a sense of humor about your posts, other people’s comments and everything else.  You are cool and tough enough no matter what. So now we covered Instagram.  Please leave your own rules below.  Would love for you to be my first:-)

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Communicating Rules of 2014–Part 1

Now I begin the series.  Communicating in 2014.

The title leaves room for interpretation, but here is what I am doing.  Since the beginning of the technology revolution (since about 2000), our ways of communicating have increased exponentially.

The rules used to be as easy as, if someone calls you, call them back day of.  Now with text messages, emails, Facebook, G-chat, vine, faxes, Instagram and just about anything else imaginable, we need guidelines to tell us how to use these properly.

To give you all the rules in one article would take all night to read and all week to write.  I will start with texts:

Here are some rules I came up through my intentional and unintentional research:

1.  You dont always have to respond.  Its true.  If someone texts you something funny and your best possible response is, “ha!”  Maybe just leave it alone.  Unless they are paying you, then maybe a brief few letters is necessary.  Receiving “man, I was so wasted last night bro!” does not deserve a response if you are about to perform brain surgery.

2.  You dont always/ever have to respond right away.  This is often overlooked and mistreated.  If something is important, it can be communicated about via phone call. So, on the other side of the coin, dont get mad if someone doesnt respond to your text right away.  Next day is fine in most cases.

3.  “Haha” beats “ha” every day of the week.  As it applies to the previous rule.  If you are going to respond with “ha,” go ahead and add “haha.”  “Ha” seems obligatory, patronizing, and insincere.  If you think the text you received is funny, go with at least, “haha.”

4. “k” is just another nice way of saying, “[eff] you.”  It’s the digital middle finger and loosely translates to “you and your text are insignificant.  “Ok” is soooooooooooo much better, dignifying, and useful than “k.”

5.  Work texts–Now that we are texting at work and sometimes our work texts carry as much weight as any phone call, spell out all of the words.  Simply stated, if its a work text, say “You,” not “u,” “are” not “r,” “for” not “4.”  There are other examples, but you get it.

6.  Less is More–I love when people are open, secure and tell me all I need to know.  Seriously, being open about one’s life is usually a sign of a trusting and probably trustworthy person.  With this, text messages are generally reserved for shorter conversations when you cannot talk on the phone.  If you author a text which requires the reader to scroll down when your text starts at the top of their screen, call them and tell them about the paragraph or short novel you want to send.  Ironically, this is the longest rule so far:-)

7.  Count to 600/10 minutes–if you receive a text that “sets you off” or angers you, or just puts you in a less desirable state, wait a few minutes or ten.  A text lives as long as the receiver wants it to.  You cannot take it back.  Either take your time to respond or wait and call them later before putting something in writing you might regret.

8.  Emojis are the icing on the cake–One of the best inventions since WordPress are the addition of emojis to text characters.  They are humorous, useful, and a lot of other things.  Use when appropriate as much as possible.

9.  Snapchat=wonderful–the reason for its inception is quite humorous, but even the guys who started it (too lazy to look up their names) could not have predicted the infatuation people over 25 would have with it.  It can be useful in non-R or X-rated ways including just not wanting extra messages on your phone.  It only takes up space for less than a minute at a time.  Consider using it for one of those, “Bro, I was so wasted last night” texts.  This will be covered at greater length later, but who knew Snapchat could actually be useful for something other than would be Brett Favre’s legacy tarnishing picture messages.

10.  Use chain texts sparingly.  We have all willingly and unwillingly been a part of these.  Sometimes they are funny and appropriate when someone has a baby, but everyday witticisms can be delivered another way.  These create an unnecessary amount of vibrations or message alerts resulting from people weighing in to send things like, “That’s so funny.”  Dont do this a lot.

In conclusion, your readership is the wind beneath my wings.  Please weigh in with your own comments/new rules.  I welcome any interaction here.

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