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Practice Instagram etiquette: Do’s and don’t’s of #selfies

This Swedish fitness instructor posted a “hot bod” selfie four days after giving birth, and new moms everywhere uttered a collective, “ugh … show off” (even Kate Middleton and Kim Kardashian, probably). If you’re guilty of this selfie, or any of the following worst offenders, allow me to recommend a few alternatives that will help get you back in the good graces of your Instagram audience.

Don’t: Funeral selfies
Nothing will commemorate the love you have for your deceased grandmother like a black and white filter and a depressed, yet perfectly pout-y, frown. Bonus points for a real teardrop rolling down your cheek. Truly #heartbreaking. #RIP (Yes, people actually do this.)
Do: Memories
Instead, put that PicStitch app to good use and post a collage of a few cute pictures of you and Granny throughout the years. Let’s celebrate someone’s life instead of just cruising for likes.

Don’t: Leg shot
Have you ever been poolside or #chillaxin on the beach and looked down to see a pair of tanned legs just begging to be digitally captured on your iPhone? This overdone trend has been nicknamed “hot dog legs” because, well, they kind of look like hot dogs. Good thing we have at least six months until we have to see these again! Unless, of course, it’s #ThrowbackThursday.
Do: #FunintheSun
I’d rather see you playing a rousing game of pick-up beach volleyball than your sad legs propped up as you and your towel make an imprint in the sand for hours. You have all winter to plan your first activity.

Don’t: #Gymrat
I don’t understand this trend, maybe because I’ve been to the gym twice in my life and my idea of healthy eating is getting extra avocado on my burrito. I think I speak for all of us pudgy slackers when I say take your spandex and #cleaneating somewhere else. I need more room to post my selfie showing how much popcorn I can fit in my mouth.
Do: The “After” photo
After your trial CrossFit membership runs out, put up a picture of you out on the town in a new outfit. Unlike lifting weights and running on a treadmill, getting dressed up and drinking yourself into oblivion is something we can all relate to.

Don’t: Text message screenshots
Not technically a selfie per se, but this is really worth mentioning. Listen closely, kids. No text message conversation, no matter how many emojis, inside jokes, and pop culture references you use, will ever — EVER — be considered funny to anyone else. Maybe the first person to think of this got a few laughs, but the novelty of three heart emojis with the caption “my roommate totally loves me!” has really worn off. Disclaimer: This message does not apply to posts of your parents or grandparents first learning how to text, because those are just adorable.
Do: Headlines
My favorite thing to post is screenshots of funny news stories. In Boston, we have lots of them, like, “Woman assaults sandwich worker for putting too many pickles on meatball sub.” I’m kind of like the Jay Leno of Instagram. (Not really a compliment, huh?)

Don’t: Couple shots
While making other people uncomfortable is one of my favorite things to do ever, I have to say that posting a selfie of kissy kissy with your boyfriend or girlfriend, no matter how many butterflies soar in your stomach, is always in poor taste.
Do: Your favorite couple
You and your significant other of two months playing tonsil hockey doesn’t inspire my romantic tendencies, but we all have that go-to favorite celebrity twosome that makes us believe in love again. How about posting a picture of them instead? My favorite lovebirds of the moment: James Franco and Seth Rogen. #SoCute

Don’t: Me and my car
As someone who bought their first clunker at the ripe age of 15 after working all summer at Staples, I understand taking pride in your “whip” more than anyone. But unless you have come across the funds for something cool like a vintage Cadillac or a DeLorean, no one wants to see your pre-owned Jetta next to your duck face. Also, steer clear (pun intended) of a #drivingselfie. Do we have to say it again? No phones behind the wheel!
Do: Gary Numan
Forget about posting a selfie, just listen to “Cars” and you’ll soon be glowing with love for your car — and 1980’s electronica.

Don’t: Fake candids
I’m onto you, candid selfies of Instagram. You are not candid. You are utterly and completely posed. Here’s how it really went down: You find a trusted friend with an iPhone and whisper, “Hey, can you take a picture of me laughing while I ride down the street on George’s handlebars and then text it to me later?” Then, it shows up on our feeds and no one says anything. We just accept that it’s a candid photo even though that is impossible. Well, I’m breaking the silence. It ends now.
Do: Real candids
Dare I say you post a picture that you aren’t featured in? What is that even called? A non-selfie? Picture this: All your friends having fun, maybe gathered around in a circle singing “Kumbaya,” I don’t know, but from YOUR point of view. #FriendshipNeverEnds

Posting selfies is a privilege, not a right. And although I may or may not be guilty of all of the above (my Instagram is private so you’ll never know, haha!), following my advice could help make our communal social network a better place.