The Rudest Thing You Can Do on Instagram
06.07.17
H&M trench coat, Pascal Millet dress, Frame Denim sweater, Maryam Nassir Zadeh shoes, KALEOS sunglasses, Alex Monroe earrings
Collage by Maria Jia Ling Pitt; photo by Edith Young. 

I knew I was someone’s kooky aunt the first time I leaned over to a stranger in a restaurant and asked what he was eating. I didn’t end up ordering the meal; I just wanted to know what it was. When I stopped feeling embarrassed over these kinds of interactions (asking strangers what they’re reading on their Kindles, asking anyone with a good-looking iced coffee where they got it) I feared a bit for what other filters might drop. Would I take to singing loudly in public? Chime in on conversations happening in public bathroom stalls adjacent to mine? Develop a strong craving for red reading glasses with polka dots?

Perhaps. Once the self-diagnosis of kooky aunt begins, the symptoms reveal themselves slowly, steadily and one-by-one. But where it manifested the strongest was in my urgent, impatient need to know what absolutely everyone is wearing at all times on Instagram.

I was spoiled by bloggers. I don’t follow many, but the ones I do tag their photos with diligence. Crease-free hair tie down to toenail polish, they show their cards, palms open. I also appreciate that they tag locations — plus other important things that I might need to know in the case of an emergency. I began to count on the fact that I could tap a photo (lightly, so that the tags appeared, but not so intentionally as to like it, god forbid) and be provided with a dossier of information. Information that I could use, or not use. Like the diner’s meal I inquired about, I just wanted to know what the deal was.

Habit fully formed, I found myself pressing photos of my friends, colleagues, adversaries and non-friends whose pictures appeared on my discover feed, in search of answers their lack of accompanying copy failed to reveal. Everyone was too sly with their captions: too vague, too pun-y, too reliant on emojis. Their words told me nothing and their tags didn’t tell me shit. Great selfie and clever line, but who makes your earrings? Where did you wear them to? Who makes your lipstick? Who designs that couch? Who’s in that photo with you? It’s rude! True, in theory, I may have few qualms about asking you but in reality, I have even less time; I’m scrolling! This is my lunch break. To be a civilian eating a meal without a sign on your forehead that reads “chicken marsala” is one thing. To post an intriguing style photo with titillating content and zero context is quite another.

“But I am not a blogger, Amelia. It would be weird if I did that.” You are a human, human! Have some decency. What if I want to buy the shoes you’re wearing? I don’t want to twin any more than you do, but shopping sucks for everyone. Together we could make this easy. To not tag is unhelpful, not to mention borderline stingy. It is the equivalent of withholding a pie recipe because you don’t want anyone else to have it. Save us both the trouble of a DM-slide and just tell me!

Now, do I follow my own rules?

…Not always. But like I said, I haven’t yet lost all my filters.

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  • Holly Laine Mascaro

    I appreciate this POV! I often want to tag what I’m wearing/where I am/furniture but feel silly because it assumes I have an interested audience. But I guess the very fact that anyone follows me at all shows that I do! Even if only a few people. Just hope it would come across as genuine and not obnoxious.

    • Lol, I agree with all of this

    • fab.y.mellow

      Don’t need to feel silly and don’t need to tag either. If they want to know, they will ask you. Tagging for Instagramers (who are making money out of this new marketing tool) is just another way NOT to engage directly with their followers when they keep asking desperately for information of a shoe as if this information was going to save someone’s life or end the Syrian conflict! Sadly, followers think that they have an ‘affinity’, a ‘special relation’ with the Instagramer (a bit like a teenager puts their favourite band in a pedestal… devoted)… some above even called them “Sisters” another one said “GTFO” when Instagramers don’t give them info (feeling betrayed somehow)… These are fake relationships. The whole Instagram thing, time filler/waster, was at first creative but now it is not unique, because everybody is doing it, inspired by others… so it ends up all looking very similar. It is a marketing tool to sell stuff. Feels subtle now… but watch… people will continue to buy stuff they don’t need and all those ethical/green/sustainable posts, well, are just like a Press Release on a website under “Mission” who nobody cares… not even the shareholders.

  • Andrea Miranda

    Hi, have you heard of Geenee app? It let’s you shop right from Instagram. All the info you need. :0)

  • MG

    This is great because I always feel like doing this would be really obnoxious.

  • Leslie Hitchcock

    Who makes these shoes in the featured image? Or would I find out if I went to IG?

    • Elizabeth Tamkin

      they’re credited! Maryam Nassir Zadeh

  • Charlotte

    Yes! I have discovered almost all of my favourite brands through Instagram tags! I always appreciate it – Eva Chen for example. I feel like people sometimes don’t want to share their discoveries. Same goes for a lot of documentary photographers who don’t want to share what camera and lenses they use. I won’t end up making the exact same photos… but cameras and lenses are crazy expensive and it sucks to buy the wrong kit that just doesn’t really get the result.

    • ArtsDuMal

      Ugh hate that! Or when bloggers are coy and are like, I used a blah blah blah with blah blah blah lens. Tell me your settings or gtfo.

      • Charlotte

        Ooo settings! I feel the pain.

      • ahahaha

      • fab.y.mellow

        wow the ‘gtfo’ says a lot about you and why they may not want to share with ungrateful ppl who think they deserve to know. Go gtfo and make your own discoveries.

  • Alice

    This is funny because I always think if I tag everything it makes me look pretentious. Like who cares where my sandals are from? I’m just a person. I’m not famous. #conflicted

    • Naomi Brearley

      Omg literally my EXACT same thought process! I am feeling v reassured and relieved right now, Amelia you are the true MVP <3

    • Veronika Lipar

      I also had this thoughts. Honestly, I still have them from time to time even though I a full time fashion blogger now and this is supposed to be part of my job.
      Any blogger with the same problem around?

      Veronika
      http://brunettefromwallstreet.com

  • Kay Nguyen

    Hmmm no I think the rudest thing one can do on Instagram is commenting on your photo(s): “Follow me.” Like why would I? Because you left a comment? Not tagging and vague caption or # is mildly annoying sometimes but not all the time.

    https://www.myblackcloset.com/

    • Veronika Lipar

      So true. Hashtagging follow me is so low. Anyway Instagram solve this issue and if the rumour is not a fake news, started penalizing those instagramers.

      Veronika
      http://brunettefromwallstreet.com

  • little fang

    I find this article especially amusing since the preview for it was in the form of drunken shouting from two talent show emcees <3

  • I keep seeing people post the “liketoknowit” links in their Instagram, and because I’m too lazy to find out what that is myself, could someone please tell me how this works? It seems super tacky and spammy, but is it effective? Agree with Alice #conflicted (I am a not famous blogger)

    http://www.shessobright.com

    • It’s a monetization tool that’s mutually beneficial for the poster (the influencer) and the viewers. So if they tag their posts LiketoKnowIt, it means they’ve used an app. If you’ve signed up for the LiketoKnowIt app too (which you can do as a viewer alone, not a content creater), after you like their photo, you will get an email with links to what they’re wearing or whatever they’ve tagged in their photo. So instead of just tagging the brand names, it goes a step further and directly emails you links to what they’re wearing or showing. That makes it easier for you to find it, access it, and buy it if you want. If you buy something after you’ve clicked a Like To Know It link in your email, they will receive a small commission for having influenced the sale. The commission is at no cost to you, and it’s usually just a few dollars.

      • Thanks for letting me know! Does it actually work though? I have seen it so many times but simply prefer to find the item directly. Knowing the brand is usually enough for me! I know it’s not exactly beneficial to the influencer or Instagrammer, but I almost never buy something directly from a suggestion – mostly because I look for a better price or want a different color, etc. I guess if it isn’t right for me, I shouldn’t use it, but I really appreciate your answer!

        • Hey! You’re welcome. Great question… So it won’t work if you’re just DIY finding the clothes you want. It works if you’ve signed up for the LikeToKnowIt app too, so they know where to send you the links. Shortcomings include — 1. sometimes the influencer doesn’t tag the exact item if it’s unavailable, they’ll tag a similar item. It’s up to their discretion to locate and find the products they want to tag. 2. They only tag from sources that are in the affiliate network of the LikeToKnowIt app. Should probably mention, the larger company this app is umbrella’d under is Reward Style. You should look them up! But anyway, if a company doesn’t have an affiliation with Reward Style / Like To Know It, they can’t be tagged. Notoriously, Zara doesn’t. So Zara clothes won’t be tagged. 3. That said, yes, you may search for the clothes at a better price. Probably a different color with the same product link will result in a commission for the influencer. I think if they lead you to the site at all, they get a commission on your purchases. 4. They monitor the purchases from cookies on your computer. If you have clear your cookies before you actually purchase, your purchase isn’t traceable and they don’t get a commission. However, any link click from those emails, and even like on the post is a win for the influencer as it is a contributing factor in determining their popularity, ability to influence, and relevance to their audience. 5. Many LikeToKnowIt users will intentionally withhold from tagging the brands because they want you to sign up for the app and use their commissioned links. 6. Just an FYI – It’s a pain in the ass to set up an Instagram post for LikeToKnowIt!! I was an “influencer” for a while, and found it way too cumbersome to tag all my pictures with researched affiliate links, haha. So you got to hand it to the bloggers who make time for it. It’s definitely *work*. Hopefully that answers your question!

          • So good to know! I already feel like Instagramming is “work” that I’m always behind on, so it would probably take me a few hours to put together one of those anyway. I guess I’ll just keep it simple and leave heavy linking to the pros who are committed. I’m not enough of a consumer to really be a heavy influencer anyway – preferring to spend money on travel! Thanks for all the answers Jenny <3

            http://www.shessobright.com

    • Veronika Lipar

      Or you can go even one step further to the one Jenny just described and download app LIKETOKNOW.IT (iTunes, and of course in the store for android apps). Once you download the app sign in and then whenever you see a photo you like on Instagram (with a LIKEtoKNOW.it link) simply screenshot the photo and open the app. You can buy all the products on the photo that were tagged by the person who posted it. Sometimes we like to surprise our followers and hide some stunning products in the photo one can find out when screenshotting the photo. I like to share my “What to wear today” in the morning in my iwokeuplikethis selfie

      Veronika
      http://brunettefromwallstreet.com
      @veronikalipar

    • Cristina

      I am not gonna lie, as a consumer, this liketoknowit bugs the CRAP out of me. In fact, when I see someone say to like or screenshot for deets and liketoknowit, I keep scrolling and possibly unfollow. I AM CUT THROAT lol.

      • I feel similarly, I’d rather just know the brand and find it on my own time. But I’m conscious that the person wont receive any monetary benefit for making the recommendation, so that’s a shame. I get that people are trying to make it work! I prefer links on blogs, but I wouldn’t download an app so I can buy what other people are wearing so overtly. It’d be so much easier if Insta allowed a few links or something!

        I’m glad there are people like you Christina! Haha!

        http://www.shessobright.com

  • Jackie

    The worse is when the tagged clothes are from last year or older- impossible to get that skirt even though you know 🙁

  • Venu

    Thank you for putting my thoughts into words! This is why I often to go to Polyvore. They have a price tag on each clothing and also a buy option.

  • A Local Honey

    Let me tell you the last time this happened to me. Amelia Diamond was romping through ACK nary a week ago, hair billowing in the wind, donning a baby blue swimsuit with “USA” emblazoned across the front. “This is an emergency. I need this suit,” I hyperventilated as I gently (frantically) tapped through Ms. Diamond’s preppier-than-thou photo stories. Wait a tick…no tag on the suit? No, she knows better. I’m missing something. Perhaps the suit was bespoke by Amelia’s own Instagramless custom swimsuit designer Auntie? An Auntie that sends handmade swimsuits every summer in the same way my own Grammy sends crocheted stocking caps every winter. Can’t tag Auntie as she would surely be bombarded with requests to purchase bespoke baby blue USA one pieces. Or perhaps Amelia has simply had too many g&t’s to remember that it would be fever-inducing to leave that precious suit untagged. A situation with which I can sympathize. Help a sister out, Amilli0naire. Share the wealth. Unless of course your Auntie couldn’t take the pressure of sudden fame and fortune.

    • fab.y.mellow

      “This is an emergency” “I hyperventilated” “No, she knows better.” “I’m missing something.” “Help a sister out” “Share the wealth”…. Honey, be careful, go and treat your anxiety. This is not healthy behaviour, even if you think you are acting out on your instagram account.

      • A Local Honey

        You missed “fever-inducing,” Honey.

    • Elizabeth

      Yes. Amelia, please, give the people what they want.

      • A Local Honey

        HARK THE HERALD ANGELS SIIIING, GLORY TO THE NEWBORN KING!! Ok, confession: I saw that she tagged Chubbies, but unwittingly assumed that Chubbies made the shorts she was wearing (which I believe they do). Amelia, please accept my apology for the oversight. I’ll call off the troops.

    • Cristina

      Alas, I’ve been waiting for two weeks for Amelia to spill the beans where she got the straw handbags in her apartment reno story and nothing. Amelia never spills the beans, she’s her own worst nightmare lol

  • Mary

    But when people put all of the tags on top of each other !!!!! Rude

    • Claudia

      See, this is the moment you know your friend is selfish. The tags are not there to help their loyal followers, but in the hopes that their photo will get reposted by the tagged (and unreadable) brand.

  • Madison Grace

    TBH I almost tagged kmart in a photo the other day – I had a cushion from there – and then I stopped myself and whispered ‘You’re better than this.’ Maybe I should’ve tagged them. Someone might be wondering where that cushion came from.

    Mads xx

    MY BLOG: http://www.bymybedside.com
    Free cupcakes if you check it out! Jks. Got ya.

    • fab.y.mellow

      ‘You’re better than this.’ Yes, you are! You shouldn’t have tagged. You have listened to your inner voice. It is your intuition.

      • Shånnøn Wåtkins

        So it’s too shameful to tag, but not shameful enough to buy it from the store because you enjoyed the way it looked in the first place?

        Solid logic.

  • Allegra

    idk. i agree but there’s etiquette for sure: tagging designers that you hope will feature you on their page is NOT the same as tagging something you’re actually wearing. also is it necessary to tag every madewell or gap outfit that consists of jeans and a v neck tee?!? i definitely think its an extra step that should be reserved for a particularly inspired outfit or amazing peice

    • Pandora Sykes

      That it, exactly. It’s etiquette. If I don’t tag, I will get kindly ‘prompts’ to do so tagging becomes a way to avoid further conversation/investigation!

  • Tiffany Mouton

    Yikes, I recently asked someone featured in an article on ITG about her boots. She told me the brand & I happily found them on Ebay at a major bargain. Maybe it was rude…I’m not sure. I can tell you that I am an open book on offering my beauty secrets, info on an outfit, etc. Being on the top of our game as a woman is a full time job, so I feel like we’re all in this together. And she didn’t have to respond to my question, but I’m glad that she did!

  • fab.y.mellow

    You should observe your made-up-fashion-anxiety. ‘Oh I must-know, Oh I must-have, Oh new goals, Oh must-tag…’ You may think this is the expected behaviour of someone who works/enjoys fashion but it need not to be. You’re actually feeding unnecessary anxiety into your own being. Some people will become sick behaving like this for a long time. The habit of asking strangers is very sweet though! It is a nice way to show appreciation and to display empathy/curiosity. We do this usually out of spontaneity. But on Instagram the air is mostly filled with envy, unfulfilled desires, jealousy, gossip… you know, the dark side of people.

  • I’m not sure if this is common practice on IG, but I follow one blogger who always has banging outfits on, but she will never, ever tag the brands featured. I always scroll through the comments to see if people have already asked her where she got her clothes from and, of course, someone always asks, and to give her credit she does reply to all of the comments. BUT, instead of just saying, ‘It’s from Zara’, she’ll go, ‘Watch my latest WIWT video on YouTube for outfit details.’ Or, if someone asks her about something like her hair (‘Where do you get your hair done?’), she’ll be like, ‘There’s a video on my YouTube, from about 6 months ago, detailing my hair routine.’
    I get that she wants views on her YouTube channel but I find it a bit cheeky. This, for me, is much more obtuse than the possibly-obnoxious-but-very-helpful practice of tagging the brands.

    http://gracehoward.co.uk

    • fab.y.mellow

      Oh dear… you want something out of nothing? You want to steal her style but doesn’t want to go on youtube where she is probably trying to make a living from adverts. i guess she is not the only cheeky one.

  • JK

    The only items I ever tag on my personal instagram are jewelry brands that I wear, but then jewelry is my business and passion so it seems appropriate. It just never occurred to me that anyone would care where I bought my latest throw pillow – I figure if my audience of 12 people want to know, they’ll ask in the comments.

  • Mediorara

    I hate it because it feeds consumism and classism and steals attention out of the style of the person in question. instead of focusing on the color and shape combos, the general feel of the pic, etc, Im blaffled by the grandiose brand dropping.

  • Sarah

    Man, this is great. Laughed through the whole article. Bless you, Amelia.

  • Michelle

    Yes! This is exactly how I feel. Why don’t people tag that cool location they’re in? Or where they’re eating that amazing food? Or what the dish is called so I Canfield get it too? Or where their shoes are from? I need to know!!

  • Sabah Malik

    This. All of this. TELL ME WHERE YOUR CLOTHES ARE FROM SELFISH PERSON

  • Moisés Sosa

    I don’t know… maybe brands do not deserve it… I mean, they should pay you to do that.

  • I totally agree on this!

    Liz
    http://www.liznroad.com

  • Shånnøn Wåtkins

    I think it should be considered less favorable to withhold a “like” on photos that you actually like. Agreeing that you found something intriguing enough to need know all the details of a captured moment, right down to brands and locations, and then refusing to acknowledge publicly that you do is weird and corny. If you want people to share their secrets with you, share your acknowledgement and approval with them first. They deserve it if they caught your eye.

  • J

    Amelia–can you post a link to the Birkenstocks you’re wearing in the camp MR photo?? Or style name? Thx!!

  • So true!! OMG I get frustrated by this all the time.. haha! Love the article and Man Repeller as a whole for always being so relatable.

  • YES! This is so true

  • Lawren Williams

    This is my frustration with Like to Know It.. I hate it. I just want to tap to see… all the other steps… nope. It used to be much easier.