How not to be a knob on social media this summer

No one’s allowed on Instagram ‘til they’ve read this

There’s something about hot weather. You begin the summer a sensible, functioning adult, then the mercury hits the high twenties and suddenly you’re sitting in a child-sized paddling pool in the middle of your living room, watching a sport you’ve barely heard of and licking melted Twister off your inner elbow.

The same goes for our social networking habits – one minute you’re a pillar of the digital community, the next you’re a pillock of the digital community and you’ve had your selfie stick confiscated. It’s OK, it happens to the best of us. It’s not you. It’s the heat.

But should you want to minimise your social dickery this summer, here are some common pitfalls to avoid…

The hot dog legs

There is a rule in life, and it goes like this: being aware that something is annoying doesn’t magically make it not annoying. In the same way that shouting ‘I APPEAR TO BE ON FIRE’ out of a window won’t do much to actually put out the flames, so taking a picture of your thighs looking like brined frankfurters on a sun lounger and captioning it “obligatory #hotdoglegs!” doesn’t make anyone less likely to want to smother you.

Instead, let’s shake up the smug limb buffet. I’m officially declaring 2015 the summer of the boiled egg knees, and you are all welcome to join me. #boiledeggknees*

*Or more deliciously, Crème Egg/Lindor knees. Hot dogs don’t leave much room for ethnic diversity.

The not-so-secret garden

This is a charity appeal. This summer, please spare a thought for the urbanites. The high-rise dwellers, whose only regular glimpse of vegetation is a withered pot of living basil from Tesco and whatever might be growing on the shower curtain.

Before you post your thrice-weekly “relaxing in the garden after a long hard day at work!! So glad we got the decking done and put the hot tub in, life is bliss” update, stop to think about those less fortunate. Those of us forced to have our summer barbecues on bits of scrubland outside Chicken Cottage, or on what a mate promisingly called a ‘roof terrace’ but which later turns out to be a fire escape.

We don’t need your pity, but we also don’t need your endless crowing about having half an acre of rolling lawn and a water feature to call your own. Just change your cover photo to read ‘CROWN PRINCESS OF THE PROPERTY LADDER’ and leave it at that.

The ‘holiday date night!’ shot

These are basically as irksome as you are tanned. Not so much because we don’t want to see what Morph would have looked like in a bandeau maxi dress or a pair of linen trews from River Island (we do, we really do), but because we immediately think about the poor waiter or hotel receptionist who had to take the photo.

Then we think about the eleventy-thousand identical photos of other couples they’ve probably had to take this month, and how little they’re tipped for the pleasure. Then we notice it looks pretty much exactly like all the ‘date night!’ shots you take the rest of the year in your own living room, except with golden filter on it.

Then we think, ‘I wish I was on a date night in Menorca instead of here, bleaching the mould off my bathroom grouting,’ and then we hate you.

The belated onslaught

It is one of the cruellest truths of the modern world that all the most amazing experiences and the most spectacular, Instagrammable locations also tend to be the ones without any wi-fi.

While this is great for our summer mindset, forcing us to enjoy all those lovely views free from digital distractions and filtering decisions, it’s less great for the friends and followers who wake up to 27 consecutive Instagrams of us having a totally awesome time being really present and in the moment, like, 12 hours ago.

Instead, the civil thing to do is to share minimal highlights when we finally stumble across wi-fi, then dump the rest in a Facebook album so our Auntie Sue can go through and like them all at her leisure.

This is what Facebook was made for. Facebook doesn’t mind.

The ‘unawares’ bikini shot

Guys, I am not here to pour scorn on the bikini shot. If there are approx. 3.75 days a year in which you can cheerfully strip off 90% of your clothes and leap about feeling the warmth of the sun on your nethers, then who am I to rain on the flesh parade?

Hell, if more of us were merrily posting swimwear shots then maybe the internet would be a more representative place and I might not feel as compelled to climb under my bed with a Viennetta and stay there until October every time I see one hashtagged ‘#barrecore’. Maybe.

But this I WILL say: don’t try to kid us that a bikini photo just happened by magic. We’re not daft. We know you weren’t just casually strolling along a distant shore, lost in a daydream with all the right muscles perfectly tensed when a companion happened upon you with a camera and felt compelled to capture the moment.

We know there are 24 slightly less flattering versions languishing on your camera roll. We know you made your beloved or mate or mum or whoever put down their John Grisham and shoot you for 15 long minutes. Let’s put an end to this charade. Just look at the camera and smile.

The incredibly blurry gig photo

OK, it’s a stage. Yup, definitely a stage! That’s unequivocally how a stage looks from 300 metres away, slightly out of focus with a stranger’s elbow in your face. And on it, there’s a… man? Woman? Hatstand? No, you’re going to have to help us out here. Ah ok, and they’re playing a… guitar? Lute? Um. Game of lacrosse?

Oh RIGHT, it’s that thing you love! Of course, we knew that.

Wow, it looks awesome.

The person who is inexplicably still watching Big Brother

So few people now have any interest in Big Brother that when the rest of us see the hashtag #bbuk, we assume it is either a baby beauty pageant or something to do with toy guns. Both of which seem more progressive and entertaining than the truth.

The person who really doesn’t like it when you whinge about the heat

You might think that the biggest tools on Twitter during a heatwave are the ones who hate heatwaves, sharing lurid anecdotes about their sweaty crevices and mistily reminiscing about woolly jumpers and stew. But you are WRONG.

No, the biggest tools on Twitter during a heatwave are the ones who hate people who hate heatwaves. Because they are so much more miserable than everyone else. They sit, poised and clammy, just waiting for the first person to mention the merest hint of discomfort – and then BOOM, on it like a fried egg on a car bonnet. “WILL EVERYONE SHUT UP WE’RE SO LUCKY TO HAVE THIS WEATHER,” they hammer out with one hand, using the other to hold a battery fan up to their crotch. “THIS IS WHY I’M MOVING TO THE NEVADA DESERT.”

They never do though, do they? They never do.

The person who pops up and calls everyone a knob

Actually now I come to think of it, the biggest knobs of all on social media in the summer are probably the ones who write about all the many and various ways that everyone else is a knob.

So, as you were. Happy summer, everyone!


Main image: iStock/Photolyric