Another week has come and gone but just before the weekend starts we have the pleasure in publishing the wonderful words and wisdom of none other, than our great columnist, Richard Gray. This week Richard muses over comments received and shared on Instagram. Should we be more critical? As long as it’s constructive perhaps? Don’t miss this, over to you Richard. (Foreword by Joanne Carter).
“Who was it who said: of which we cannot speak, we must pass over in silence? Oh yes, Wittgenstein. Well if the great Austrian philosopher had been on Instagram, he might also have said: if you get a narky comment, pass over it in silence too.
If you’re sat opposite someone and they ask you a question and you completely ignore them, they’d think you were being a bit rude. If you don’t reply to an email, the sender might also think you were slightly rude, though there are so many emails flying around these days and if you’re really not interested in what the sender has to say, then fair enough. What about if you get a comment on your photo and you don’t reply?
As a rule, I try to respond to everyone who takes the trouble to comment on my photos on Instagram or whereever. With the two caveats that the comment is in a language I understand (ie not Russian, even if it’s an offer of marriage) and it’s not just an emoticon (even thumbs up with sparkles). But, I’m only human and, as the outgoing Pope recently mentioned (I think it was him, at least it’s the sort of thing he might have said it), humans are fallable. So, please forgive me, but I do miss a few comments.
And within reason, I expect the same in return. Do unto others etc (possibly one of the Pope’s also). But what do you do if someone makes a comment on your photo that is a bit nasty? Like: if I see another picture of your feet I’m going to come round there personally and shove your iphone where, etc.? It’s an unspoken rule on Instagram that no one says anything critical about anyone else’s photos. Which makes it quite a boring place, but it also means you don’t get many of the sort of slanging matches that are quite common on Twitter. But if you do get a critical comment, silence is probably the best response. Written exchanges of criticism about photos between people who don’t know each other are invariably going nowhere, except a black hole of wasted time. So while I’m in the mood for quoting philosophers and popes, as the late great Tremeloes once said, on Instagram and elsewhere, silence really is golden.
© Richard Gray – ‘The Tremeloes: Silence is Golden’