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Tuesday, 16 April 2013

Facebook paparazzi

People should exercise a little consideration and common sense when uploading photos of others. 

I RECENTLY saw some extremely unflattering photos of a friend on Facebook.

One photo shows her at a party with a drink in one hand and a cocktail sausage on a stick in the other. Her mouth is half open as she guides the sausage towards it, and her eyes have a wild, glazed look about them. The caption reads, “Come to Mama!” In another photo, she’s drinking her wine with one eye closed and the other rolling upwards, as she hovers around the half empty platter of sausages. In yet another photo, she’s sitting on a sofa with her blouse unflatteringly bunched up over her stomach, giving the impression that she’s just about to give birth – possibly to a giant sausage.

If you didn’t know this woman, you’d probably mistake her for a humongous wine-glugging sausage scoffer.


In reality, she’s a moderate drinker of average weight who only ate one sausage that night. But the damage has already been done. The Facebook friends of the woman who posted the photos, many of whom probably don’t know my friend all that well, will have already formed an opinion of my friend just by looking at those photos.

Like who cares what strangers might think about us? Some of you might be saying just about now. And you do have a point, to a certain extent. But what if you’re going for a job interview and the person responsible for hiring you doesn’t know you but remembers seeing you in a Facebook photo stuffing your face and looking as if you like to lubricate yourself way too much? And what if the job you’re after entails operating heavy, dangerous machinery; or dispensing potent medication; or anything to do with air traffic control? Jobs that require a clear head at all times.

All I can say is that you’re screwed. You might as well burn your interview clothes, delete the carefully worded résumé and drown your sorrows in a bottle of chardonnay.

In the same way that celebrities are wary of the paparazzi, who take great pleasure in snapping them falling out of bars and nightclubs in the wee hours of the morning in a dishevelled state, or going to the grocery store for a loaf of bread without any make-up, regular, everyday people now need to be extra careful when someone whips out a camera or an iPhone at a social function.

I have nothing against my photo being taken and subsequently being posted on Facebook, but I wish that people would exercise some consideration and common sense when uploading photos of others.

We all know Facebook is full of narcissistic, egocentric, self-absorbed photographers. We see evidence of their activities in newsfeeds every day. For example, I’ve seen photos of a certain young woman (who shall remain nameless) buying a pair of shoes, photos of her feet in the new shoes, photos of her wearing a dress with her new shoes, photos of her dancing at a party with her new shoes, and photos of her delicately eating sausages and consuming alcohol with her new shoes.

What she doesn’t show you are the photos of her wincing in her bunion-forming shoes after two minutes dancing, photos of her in her new shoes throwing up in the toilet bowl, and photos of her with just one new shoe on, passed out on her bedroom floor …

Such people are usually very careful when it comes to selecting photos that show them in a good light, but when it comes to others, they don’t always accord them the same respect.

Offending photo

Whenever I want to upload a photo that includes other people onto Facebook, I ask myself if those people would be happy seeing themselves as they are depicted. And if the answer is no, I simply delete it. I know it’s easy to remove your tag from a Facebook photo, but the photo still remains online for all to see.

Of course, you could write to your Facebook friend and ask him or her to remove an offending photo. But that would make you sound a bit like a narcissistic, egocentric, self-absorbed twat. And makes you a possible future target for such photographers, who might claim that they’re only having a bit of harmless fun. And besides, where’s your sense of humour?

It would be enough to make you choke on your sausage.


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