Sure, you might think your Instagram of your smashed avocado toast and soy latte is totally hip. But in the world of teens, you’re basically a massive loser. Sorry.
Being cool is an art form and few of us know how to truly master it. But teens today seem to inherently know what is and isn’t cool, especially when it comes to posting on Instagram and Snapchat. Teens abide by some pretty strict rules when it comes to social media, lest they be deemed uncool, or heaven forfend a loser.
Here’s the definitive rulebook on how to be cool, according to teenagers. Prepare yourself for some extreme blushing because, yes, you’ve definitely done all these things.
Literally never Instagram your Snapchat filters
Ellen McArthur, 19, from Devon, UK, says a “really loserish” thing to do is Instagramming photos with a Snapchat filter. “ESPECIALLY when you try and hide the flower crown filter at the top. WE CAN STILL TELL THAT’S NOT WHAT YOU NATURALLY LOOK LIKE,” says McArthur.
OMG please, never sing
According to New York-based Joey Ann, 19, this rule which applies to Instagram and Snapchat Stories is “the most important.” And, if you deign to break it, you “probably have no friends.” Ouch.
“If someone has a super, super long story of them just singing in their car and being obnoxiously loud wherever they go I’ll probably never look at their story or Snaps again,” says Joey Ann. “They will get made fun of trust me.”
“People only use hashtags ironically now.”
Check your Instagram ratio
Simran R., from Mumbai, India, says your ratio of following to followers on Instagram is a key factor. “Never have more following than followers,” says 16-year-old Simran. “Your ratio should be 2:1 at worst. If you have 1,000 followers, you cannot follow more than 500 people.”
Don’t just lie in bed with a Snapchat filter
Lily Hamblin, 19 from New Hampshire, U.S., says people who post things they are doing like “hiking and “travelling” are cool.
But, the “people who post videos of them laying in bed with the puppy dog filter” are absolutely not cool. “That is so annoying and I think weird,” says Hamblin.
Only use hashtags ironically
“Don’t say throwback Thursday,” says Dylan Smith, 16, from Maryland, U.S.. “People only use hashtags ironically now.”
Exercise restraint on your night out
This particular Snapchat habit seems to be particularly egregious in the eyes of teens. Rachel Luo, 18, from Texas, U.S., takes exception to people who post a ton of Snap Stories from the same concert. “There’s only so many you can post before people get annoyed. (It’s like five),” says Luo. “A bunch of people I know will edit their stories as the day goes on so there’s not too many snaps.”
Duration of individual Snaps is also crucial. Anything beyond 50 seconds is “beyond annoying,” says Dylan Smith.
Space out your selfies
Ellen McArthur says having a page that’s “literally only selfies basically shows that you have no friends.” Joey Ann agrees, adding that posting a selfie everyday on Instagram “gets old really quick.”
“People should space out their pics with events and cool things they like besides their face, show us who they are in their own way. Whether it be fashion, food, cars, etc,” says Joey Ann.
Ask yourself: Is this ‘Insta-worthy’?
Stephen Hladik, 19, from New Jersey, says that on Instagram there’s more pressure to post stuff that’s interesting. “There’s lots people of asking friends ‘is this Insta worthy?’ and endless retaking of photos until the best one is found,” says Hladik.
Keep your mom out of it
Connie Hunter, 16, from Sussex, UK, says you should only post photos of your mom “if it’s her birthday or if she dies.” Brutal.
Strictly no double-posting
Never, ever post multiple photos to Instagram in one day, says Hayley Smith, 19. “Definitely do not post two Instagrams a day or even two days in a row unless you’re doing something cool,” says Hayley.
Keep emoji to a minimum
Rachel Luo says that some teens live by the “no more than 3 emoji rule.” And, while we’re at it, she says using loads of hashtags is “just tacky.”
Don’t send your Snapchat Story to people
Never, ever send your Snapchat Story to an individual person. Chances are they’ll view your Story at some point, so why bother doubling up?
“If you send me a picture on Snapchat and you post it on your story it makes me feel really stupid because I thought that person was only talking to me,” says Joey Ann.
Don’t just post food pics
You might think that your #foodstagram is worthy of the ‘gram. But, teens really couldn’t care less. “Don’t always post food pics; if we wanted to look at food we’d follow a food page,” says Simran R. Connie Hunter abides by a strictly “no food photos” Instagram rule.
Think about the quality
“You would never post a picture on Instagram that was not good quality, or had bad lighting,” says 18-year-old Maria del Pilar Ferreira Loray, from Manchester, UK.
Don’t send Snaps of your abs
Teens have absolutely no time for photos of abs.
“Snapchat has a lot of thirsty guys that send you random pics of their abs,” says Joey Ann. “#1 it’s annoying #2 it gets old REAALLY fast #3 usually they end up blocked.”
Lily Hamblin says anything “mean or targeted at someone in a negative way” is absolutely not cool. “People who Snap embarrassing things of other people or use Snapchat or Instagram as a platform for their own personal drama with someone is usually viewed as annoying and immature,” adds Hamblin.
Though you might not have realised it, what you post on Instagram and Snapchat has a bearing on your coolness (so say teenagers, at least). That said, rules were made to be broken. You do you and you’ll be just fine.