Have you asked permission?

Sep 18, 2019

Have you ever had an “Oh No!” Photo experience? When you’re out and about, partying or catching up with friends, do you think about what your selfies and snap-shots will look like? Some more than others… Sure, we all want photos to capture the moment but where do those photos actually end up being used? Taking that thought one step further; do you ever wonder who else was snapping photos at the same event as you and whether or not you were in the shot?

Social Progress at MYnetworkHUD 2019

I personally know a few Facebook friends who love to capture many, many, many moments in their life and share them on their personal social media accounts (most commonly Facebook and Instagram). However, I also know quite a few of the people who are featured in the photos I’ve seen and that they most-likely won’t have been asked permission to post them online. And I also know that quite a number of those people are not even on social media themselves, therefore they will have no idea that their photo may even be on there unless they’ve been told!

You may be thinking, “it’s just a photo!” But think about it. Is it not courteous and respectful to ask if they are happy for it to go on social media before it’s posted? What if they aren’t on social media for a reason and they don’t want people to see them (or their children) for personal reasons? You never know.

Another perspective to look at is; is the picture flattering? I’ve seen MANY drunk, fuzzy and random photos lazily uploaded to Facebook. You know the type I mean! Those people who bulk upload a whole nights-worth of rubbish shots, instead of selecting an appropriate selection.

Don’t get burned!

Personally, I always ask permission before I post photos onto social media (mainly Facebook or Instagram). Not only because have I been ‘burned’ by disgruntled friends and family for failing to ask permission to upload photos of them, but I’ve also been absolutely scalded by someone who’s not on social media for taking photos of a family event and putting them on social media. They heard about my photos from a Facebook friend. To the person who wasn’t on social media, it was outrageous to have put the photos up in the first place! (Even though my photos were of the room and I’d specifically asked permission to post any photos with faces showing).

Questions to ask yourself BEFORE you upload those photos to social media:

So, whether it’s to avoid unflattering photos of friends and family or just to ensure a level of respect, these are 5 questions to consider BEFORE you upload those photos to your social accounts:

  1. Is the photo flattering? If you’re a real friend you’ll make sure it is!
  2. Does it compromise the individual(s)? For example, if it’s a holiday shot do they want to reveal that their house might be empty right now? Or does it compromise that person’s character? Again, they might not want to showcase their personal lives as freely as you do. You never know who’s watching on the public domain!
  3. Have you asked permission from the individual(s) involved to post it? This is basic respect and netiquette – especially if they’re not on the social media platform themselves. It seems like a faff at first but once you get to asking when you’ve taken (and checked) the photo, it becomes second-nature. You might find that some people are grateful that you ask and even say “it’s OK to post my photo in future too, thanks for asking me though”.
  4. Have you asked the parents permission to post the photo if it involves a child? There’s a lot of warnings going around at the moment about kids photos on social media and again, different people have different views on social media usage. Apart from it being about respect for the parent, this point is mainly pin-pointing the importance of safe-guarding children and teenagers.
  5. Do you know who can see it? Social media is part of the “public domain” which means that your content is subject to the terms and conditions of the social media platforms themselves. Unless you specify that you want your account (or parts of your account) to be PRIVATE, your account and content can be seen by anyone and everyone who finds you online. Facebook allows you to set your whole Profile to Private but also allows you to specify which posts and photo albums you want to be public or private. Instagram and Twitter are examples of social media platforms where your account is either set to Private or Public. There’s no in between.

Social Progress Selfies 2019

Weddings are THE prime example of people taking photos and uploading them to social media without asking permission from the Bride and Groom. I was a guest at a wedding in 2014, it was an absolutely beautiful day, totally crammed-full of photos (obviously). When the couple went on honeymoon they spotted loads of photos from their wedding on guests Facebook accounts and they’d not even seen their own professional photos. They wanted to post the first look of their wedding when they returned and it was spoilt for them.

I have also been to a wedding where the Bride and Groom specifically asked guests not to share photos of the ceremony on social media for personal reasons. They even printed it on their Order of Services to reiterate the point. So this, to me, shows that we should respect people by asking permission to post photos on social media.

What would your boss say?

On a slightly different note; I ask “what would your boss say?” This question highlights many examples of social media fails where people have lost their jobs over a thoughtless comment, tweet or photo. We often remind Social Progress readers, followers and fellow tweeters to always “think before you post!” This is because social media is such a powerful tool and one comment, tweet or photo can be shared/retweeted and spread around the globe like wild-fire!

So how does this relate to the boss? Well I have 2 points to leave you with:

  1. Did you know that a potential employer is most likely going to look for you on social media as well as check out your CV?
  • How does your profile look? Whether it’s Facebook, Instagram or even Snapchat, would you be inclined to interview, hire or continue to employ yourself if you were to look at your accounts from a potential employer (or your boss’) perspective?
  • Do you have a social media presence at all? If not, have you heard about LinkedIn?
  1. Your boss can easily find you online and see what you’re up to (no I’m not talking about them stalking you!) – but whether you like it or not, you are representing their company. If you are mis-behaving and acting reckless how does that reflect them and the company itself? You represent the business you work for whether that’s in person or online.

So by now [I’m guessing] you’re either thinking:

  1. “Esther is talking rubbish and is being totally over the top!”
  2. “It’s a bit extreme but I can see your point – I’ll think about it”
  3. Or “I totally get it”

Personally I think that this should be a mind-set rather than an inconvenience. Surely if people were more mindful about what, when and where they post their photos, being respectful of others and thinking about the consequences of said post, social media wouldn’t have as much of a negative label on it.

Have you ever been tagged in an unflattering photo or has someone put a photo of you on social media without your permission?


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