Selfie Etiquette

When it comes to taking selfies, there's a fine line between fun and appropriate and the absolutely absurd.  Modern Manners Guy clears up any misunderstandings about selfie etiquette. 

Richie Frieman,
June 8, 2014
Episode #298

Page 2 of 2

This tends to be popular among teenagers of both genders, and in all situations the slack-jawed, brain-dead look does nothing for a photo.  Earlier this year, while at a family get-together, my cousins and I decided to take a selfie. On the count of three I smiled, and they looked like they were extras from The Walking Dead.

Is it bad manners to take zombie selfies? Technically…no, it is not. But in reality, you look completely foolish - like you're trying way too hard to be cool.  

Selfies are supposed to be fun, so play around, make funny faces, go nuts. But let’s ditch the zombie. Similar to the duck face, it adds nothing. In fact, it takes away.  I don’t want to look back at years of Instagram photos and know that I ruined high points of my life by looking like I just swallowed a bottle of downers.

Tip #3: Selfies in Bad Taste

Last year an article about tasteless selfies made its way around the web, showing people taking selfies in places like funerals, or doing rich-kid gang signs at the Pearl Harbor Memorial.  In these selfies, rather than simply commemorating a sad moment in time, these people posed with duck face, zombie face, and other totally silly gestures. You know because a photo inside a Holocaust gas chamber definitely needs your sarcastic commentary.  

This type of selfie is a serious issue because the insane overuse of selfies has gotten so out of control that people can’t separate themselves from an event they are capturing. I mean, what does adding your duck face and a thumbs up in front of the 9/11 Memorial supposed to be saying?  No, seriously, I want to know. If you can make an argument for why or how that's appropriate, please do, I’m all ears. Until then just know you look like a classless lunatic.

This isn’t me being a parent wagging a finger at the young people. Nor is this a rant from a stuffy etiquette columnist. My point is about common sense. No matter how irreverent you are, at some point it's time to recognize that posting photos of yourself throwing up gangsta-peace signs in front of a monument to remember a tragic event is just not OK. 

When it comes to posting photos of a place with a morbid history, leave yourself out of it. You should share photos of these places because people need to see and remember the horror that others endured and hope we never repeat it. But that does not mean you have to be in it.  After all, it’s your account, we’ll see your name, so you will get the credit for the picture - don't worry about that.

And if you happen to come across some lowbrow “friend” who decides to take this kind of selfie, kindly mention to them that they may have missed the true meaning of where they were.

We all have photos we wish we never took, or photos we wished were never taken of us, but why purposely add more to that list? The next time you get ready to post a selfie, stop and think - is it worth it?

As always, if you have another manners question, I look forward to hearing from you at manners@quickanddirtytips.com. Follow me on Twitter @MannersQDT, and of course, check back next week for more Modern Manners Guy tips for a more polite life.

Do you have any recent graduates in your circle, or perhaps someone who is looking to start a new career, check out my new book, Reply All…And Other Ways to Tank Your Career for great tips and advice on job success. It's available now!

Couple and duck face selfie images courtesy of Shutterstock.


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