We've all been victims of the distasteful Facebook tag at one point or another, and we've all felt that tiny shiver down our spine when that fateful red "1" tells us [insert casual acquaintance] just tagged a new photo of you. That feeling won't be going away anytime soon—today Instagram's "Photos of You" tagging system goes live and to the public. But there are ways to minimize the pain and embarrassment of this entirely new set of unwanted tags. Here's how you can make navigating this brave new, sepia-toned world as painless as possible.
If someone already has a public Instagram profile, then of course tagging is technically fair game. You should be able to shout your picture's participants freely and without restraint, right? Sure, if you want to be a jerk.
When Facebook photos first appeared and tagging as we know it came to be, there was an initial dark period where we delighted in posting horrible photos of our friends and making sure they were good and tagged for all the world to see. And then we realized that just as easy as it was to publicly shame our peers, retaliation was also just a click away.
We're not animals anymore. We've learned our lesson and moved on to a more civilized form of existence, so there's no need to go back to our cruel, haphazard tagging ways just because we've been given a new outlet. No one wants to be reminded even once much less for the rest of their Instagram lives how terrible, drunk, desperate, and/or naked they looked, even if the black and white does make them a tasteful naked drunk.
By all means, tag the intentional and flattering pictures full of good, clean fun. But if you must take horrible photos, leave them for your subject to find with nothing more than a shoutout in the caption, which they can then immediately forget—lest the same happen to you.
Should your friends insist on tagging photos of you in a delicate condition, Instagram has, fortunately, given you the necessary tools to save yourself from embarrassment and a lack of future career prospects.
The newest version of Instagram carries a "Photos of You" section that gives both you and the world an easy way to track your filtered comings and goings. Now, you have several options when it comes to both saving face and saving the world from seeing you in your most unholy incarnations.
First, you can choose to hide the tag, removing the offending photo from your profile section but keeping the actual tag on the photo for easy identification. Or if you really want to send the message home and remove all traces of any sort of tacit approval on your part, you can choose to delete the tag entirely. Your last resort and one that should only be used in moments of the utmost desperation is to report the photo as inappropriate in hopes that the Instagram powers that be see the abomination and agree.
This is all only an issue if you demand to maintain a public profile, though. If you choose to make your Instagram profile private, any and all tagged pictures on your "Photos of You" page will remain for your pre-approved friends' eyes and their eyes alone.
But if even that is too much for you to handle, there is one final option. Stop doing embarrassing things.