Dos and don’ts of social media tagging » Manila Bulletin Lifestyle

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By Mark Isaiah David

Recently, US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin’s wife, Scottish actress Louise Linton, was crucified on social media for posting a picture of herself leaving a government plane, wearing designer clothes. It would have been the usual la vie en rose photo except for Linton’s reaction when somebody called her out, saying that it was deplorable that taxpayers had to pay for her getaway. Linton lashed out, mocking the woman in a disproportionately long response. The Internet, of course, had a field day on Linton’s expense.

The spectacle would have ended there, but Linton tagged the designer brands she was wearing in her scandalous post, inadvertently dragging them into the drama. Among other things, the incident proved an often ignored social media truth: even the ‘soshals’ among us don’t know the DOs and DON’Ts of tagging.

Put simply, tagging is identifying someone in a post, photo, or status update that you shared. It lets the people that you tagged know about your post and helps them remain in the conversation. Knowing the proper circumstance when to tag and not to tag is something we hope we can help you with by following these simple tips:

1. Nothing to do here

One of the most annoying things in social media is when somebody tags you in a post when you have nothing to do with that post at all. You’re not in the picture, you’re not supporting whatever’s on the photo; you’re not even the least bit interested. And yet, you’re tagged in this party post where this chump tagged half his directory, annoying everyone in the process.

Don’t be that guy. If a person isn’t in the photo, don’t tag them. If you think they’re interested in what you post, believe me, they’d be following you closely if that were the case. Unless you’re 110% sure that the people you want to tag would like to be informed of what you just posted, hold off on the trigger button.

2. Look beyond yourself

You’ve snapped a hundred selfies with your barkada. Finally, you got that one perfect shot where you flawlessly captured your angle. There’s no stopping you from posting this pic and tagging all your friends, right?

Before you push that tag button, look beyond yourself. If you’ve gone through a hundred photos to find the perfect shot, don’t you think your friends deserve the same? If your selected photo features your friends in an unflattering light, do them the courtesy of not tagging them. Even better, go the extra mile and don’t post the photo at all – unless your friend is into that. Remember, it’s not just you who’s trying to maintain a positive digital print.

3. Be sensitive

Everyone has a right to their own opinions and we have the freedom to do what we want (provided it’s not a crime), but no one wants to be dragged in someone else’s cause – no matter how noble it may appear to you. So if you’re doing something controversial (like declaring that you’re on a holiday while leaving a government plane), political, or highly divisive, do the right thing and don’t drag along the names of other people and entities with you. In the same way that you don’t want to be in the middle of your two friends fighting, don’t tag your friends, your school, your company, or the brands that you like while you’re doing something that might raise some issues.

4. Sure it’s safe?

If we’re honest, we’d admit that from time to time, we do things that we know we shouldn’t. We lie to our professors that our computer got a virus to ask for an extended deadline. You tell your boss you’re sick while you’re hitting the beach. You play hide-and-seek with the MMDA troops while your car is on coding. Normally, we get away with these things – if we’re wise enough not to broadcast our indiscretions on social media and if our friends don’t inadvertently rat us out by tagging us in their posts.

If your friend is doing something he shouldn’t, do him a solid and don’t tag him on your posts. I know your beach pic is definitely lit, but don’t be a d-bag and let him hide his activities. If you’re not sure, ask. Make certain that everyone you’re tagging is ok being identified.

5. Don’t exclude

We said that you shouldn’t tag people who wouldn’t want to be identified in your photo. On the other side, people can also get hurt if you purposely exclude them from your tags. Common to teens and their cliques, a person could post a photo of a group, tag almost everyone but single out people they don’t like by not tagging them. Not only is this mean adolescent behavior, it’s also deviously divisive and exclusionary.

Tagging is simple and easy – but like all things in the Internet, it could also be used for ill. While tagging a person might seem harmless, it could lead to disastrous results (like a lost job, or a suspension) when done inappropriately. The next time you’re about to go trigger-happy in tagging your photos, take a minute to make sure that everyone’s on the same page as you are.

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