Facebook Photos: Stop, Already!

Readers, I am posting for the first time on my iPad and cannot figure out how to add photos.  After struggling mightily with this problem (my mediocre writing is often made adequate by funny memes) I arrived at the conclusion that given the subject of today’s blog, going without photos isn’t a bad idea.  I hope you can muster through…

Dear AskDesCamp:

I am on Facebook for the sole purpose of keeping up with my friends and family who live 2,000 miles away from me. I truly detest the whole idea of Facebook but recent events have really upset me. I have one friend in particular (“Cara”) who takes photos at every social gathering and then puts them on Facebook and “tags” me.

I want to be able to go to a damn dinner party without having my picture taken and splashed all over the internet, but I am not sure how to make her stop without sounding like a petty party pooper. My husband doesn’t mind at all so I’m on my own. How do you think I should address this issue or am I too sensitive? I don’t want my image all over the internet!


Dear Helen:

I am so very sorry to hear about your recent double hand amputation and the fact you are a mute. I draw those assumptions because you are “keeping up” with friends and family by scrolling their Facebook page, rather than giving them a call every now and again.

As for your other problem: we live in a day and age where many feel they must constantly chronicle every event with photos and videos.

Sometimes I think we are so busy recording the good times in our lives that we are missing the true impact of whatever moment is so exquisite that we feel compelled to capture it and blast it on social media. Back in the Stone Age when I was coming up, we had cameras but they required film and that film required developing. Too many steps, and they cost money!

Worse still, once you developed the pictures there was no way to show them off to others on a large scale unless they were suitable for the yearbook. Most of mine were not, as they involved underage drinking and general debauchery at my house when the folks were out of town (parents: my apologies, for I know you thought I was the perfect child)

It was a very dark time. I’m not sure how I survived without memorializing every drunken singalong on a smartphone.

Of course now I look back and wish I had many more photos of my friends in high school and college. I’d like to be able to look back at the good old days, drink in the nostalgia and take a final tally of how many of these folks don’t speak to me anymore. It’s important to know your numbers.

Whoo hoo, I have gotten myself off on a tangent! Pardon me while I readjust and answer your question.

The “tagging” issue is pretty simple but it’s not your real problem. Go into your Facebook privacy settings.  There you can find the option of blocking people from tagging you in photos or other posts without your approval. Click, save changes, go on with your life.

Of course that doesn’t address the issue of having your photo taken and put on social media sites. I think this is a pretty simple matter of having a conversation with your friend and explaining to her that every time she takes your picture, she takes away from the time you are enjoying with her and she makes you even more uneasy when she publishes your picture on Facebook. Would you like a script?

1. Take her to lunch.
2. When she whips out her iPhone to take a selfie with you, snatch it from her hand and give it to your waiter.
3. Engage in the AskDescamp Photo Nut Conversion Conversation (copyright Robin DesCamp 2014):

“I really enjoy our time together but I have a big problem with being photographed and having those shots put on the internet. Cara, I need you to stop doing this all the time. I can understand a picture every now and again but what you are doing is out of control and pretty annoying. In the future I’d appreciate you asking me if you can take my photo and then making sure you have my permission to post it on Facebook or anywhere else.


4. Tell her “no,” when she asks if she can take a picture to memorialize this wonderful moment between friends.
5. Ask Cara if she is ok. When I spoke with you a few days ago and you showed me her Facebook page I was pretty blown away. This woman spends more time behind a smartphone camera than she does most anywhere else.

Her detailed descriptions of pictures (who was there, what was being celebrated, what wine and food were served) are telling: this is a woman who is addicted to the admiration of others.

One funny thing I noticed: all the pictures she posts of herself are VERY flattering, but all the photos of you are not. You are an extremely attractive lady but she somehow manages to catch you at your worst when she’s playing Annie Leibovitz. Just something for you to be aware of because this woman may be deeply competitive with you.

6. Leave on a good note and issue her a challenge to go a week without taking any photos of her life. I’m not a betting lady but I’d wager a cup of coffee she enjoys that week more than most if she is up to the task.

She would have to be a uniquely hideous person to continue photographing you and posting those pics after this conversation so I suspect your problem will end there and then. If she does not stop, I suggest carrying a large sign with you every time you are set to see this friend which you will whip out and pose with when she starts snapping away. The sign will read thusly:

“My friend Cara is deeply unhappy and insecure but wants people to think she has a perfect life. To achieve the mirage of perfection, she obsessively photographs every social event she attends and puts the pictures on Facebook to prove to the world that she is happy, loved by others, a fabulous cook and has a nice house with pretty things.

“She does this in hopes it will distract people so they don’t discover the truth: she is lonely, her husband is screwing his partner’s wife, the ‘good friends’ are just there for the free food and booze, dinner was secretly cooked by a caterer and everything in her house was picked out by a decorator.”

Then you can post passive-aggressive comments on the photos, like “That was a really fun party. Too bad Cara missed it because she is more interested in creating a slide show than creating a life.”

That should do the trick. Best of luck.


This Post Has 3 Comments

  1. Tamsen

    Go Robin! You hit it on the head, so to speak.

  2. Reg

    Ahhh I swear all those words just came out of my mouth!

  3. echinachea

    Excellent column! I confess to a stone age mentality (or is it a “Stoner Age” mentality), but I am sick to death of all this social media crap. An MIT professor named Sherri Turkle wrote an amazing book called “Alone Together; Why we Expect so much More from Technology and Less from Each Other.”. She is not anti-tech, but points out what has become of our abilities to communicate in this virtual era. Sometimes I think the main thing smartphones are doing is making people stupid, but the horse is totally out of the barn and I am really out of touch in so many ways that it would be better to shut up. Want a picture of me keeping my mouth shut? I know! I will post it on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest, just to start…..

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