Instagram is positively teeming with new users.
Within weeks of the announcement that the company will be acquired by Facebookand the launch of an app for the Android platform, the number of Instagram users ballooned from 30 million to 50 million.
The influx of novice Insta-fans has caused a bit of a stir among more seasoned users, as newbies run into questions about community etiquette as they figure out how to use the app and its features. What infuriates established users; what should never be posted; how can more followers be acquired?
If you’re new to Instagram and you’re grappling with these questions, we’ve got a list of 11 etiquette tips that every Instagrammer should know. Flip through the gallery (below) to find out more. Then, share your own Instagram tips with us in the comments, on Twitter (@HuffPostTech) or via email (firstname.lastname@example.org). Oh, and you should check out HuffPost Tech on Instagram, too.
Hey! That’s Mine
Avoid The Cliche
There are things you’re going to want to snap a picture of — cats, the shoes on your feet, greasy food, an artsy shot of nothing, etc. — but beware of falling into an Instagram cliche. Followers don’t mind these pictures every once in awhile, but give your fans something new to keep them coming back for more.
We Don’t Want To See That
Some pictures are best left unposted. You would think this would go without saying, but unfortunately it must be mentioned. Drugs, porn, pictures of you on the toilet, pictures of your “friends” on the toilet, a broken toenail: These are all perfect examples of what followers just don’t want to see.
(If we can’t see it, then it’s not real. So please don’t let us see it.)
Beware The Rapid Fire
It’s totally fine to take several photos and upload them to Instagram the same day. You’re crossing a line, however, when you don’t use Instagram for a week and suddenly spam your followers with 14 uploads in a matter of six minutes.
Hashtags help Instagramers categorize pictures, or are used ironically much like on Twitter. For example, if you take a picture of the Statue of Liberty, a proper hashtag might be #nyc. But drowning a photo in irrelevant hashtags will only frustrate viewers. There is such a thing as #toomuch.
Show A Little ‘Selfie’ Control
Pictures you take of yourself might be fine, but too many “selfie” shots annoy followers. Who wants to see three or four Instagrams of a face in different positions? Refrain from taking MySpace pictures and flip that camera around on someone else occasionally.
Be My Friend
It’s okay to want more followers on your social media sites, but isn’t it a little desperate to type “please follow me!” in the comments box of pictures and throughout your “About Me” section? Create great content, regularly participate with other users, and you are guaranteed to earn followers without begging for them.
Your children are adorable, and who wouldn’t love that dog always featured on your Instagram? But similar to selfie shots, these objects of your affection may begin to grow old for your friends… particularly if you upload 16 photos of little Sue daily. Sometimes one picture says it all.
Like, Like, Follow, Unfollow
If you “like” a photo, then it’s assumed you found that picture to be aesthetically pleasing. What is not assumed is that you expected a “like” or a “follow” in return. And don’t even think about unfollowing someone because they didn’t follow you back. This sort of middle school behavior is not appreciated. “Like” worthy pictures for the sake of liking them.
Don’t Draw Something
Your followers want to see your beautiful or surprising photos. What they don’t want to see is something that won’t make sense to them, like an inside joke that you drew about a donkey and a pancake. In this case, it’s best to just keep your doodles to yourself.
The Catch-All Rule
Here are Instagram words to live by: Document life, show off your quirky moments, and tell a vibrant, filter-filled story. Post those pics you’re proud of, and your followers will probably “like” them, too.
By Britney Fitzgerald/ The Huffington Post