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The 10 Commandments of Concert Social-Media Etiquette

January 31, 2014  |  3:33pm

We’ve all had to deal with it: Just when you’ve worked your way to the perfect spot at a crowded show, you find yourself stuck beside a social-media fiend, snapping and gramming and vining so hard you can barely hear the music. Hey, some of us have been this person, and it’s hard to lay blame in our #picsoritdidnthappen society. There should still be rules though, some kind of etiquette guide that justifies the icy glares given to bystanders, friends and acquaintances when they cross the line into obnoxiousness. Whether it’s your first show in ages or your fifth show this week, here are a few guidelines on avoiding common social media pet peeves.

1. Turn off your flash.
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For anyone who shoots live music, there’s an unspoken rule: you get in the photo pit for the first three songs, no flash. Then, it’s time to put your camera away (or be really sneaky about using it). Flash photography doesn’t do anybody any good: it’s distracting for the artist, and it’s not going to get you that likable Instagram shot either. Unless you’re 3 feet from the lead singer, it’s more likely that your feeble smartphone will focus that blinding light on the back of someone’s head than on the stage. So unless you’re trying to document someone’s bald spot or shine a light on that overly-gropey old couple in front of you, best to do without.

2. Analyze your filter somewhere else.
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So you’ve got it—you’ve achieved the perfect shot. It’s not too grainy, you cropped out that weird girl’s head in front of you, and you’re ready to remind your followers how much cooler you are than them. But while the rest of us are trying to enjoy the show, you’re burying your head into VSCO, picking filters and adjusting exposure and generally looking boring and rude. Look up! There’s like, a concert going on.

3. Don’t take a video… particularly while you’re dancing.

There’s this new dance craze I’ve noticed: eyes closed, hips moving, perhaps one hand fist-pumping (I see you, EDM kids) and one hand up, isolated and remaining as still as possible. With a phone. Taking a shaky, terrible two-minute video of the show while simultaneously pretending to move with the music. These people look like tools, and they come away with the shaky, poorly-soundtracked video to prove it. Unless something profound is taking place, the internet and your surrounding concert-goers are much better off without your vertically-shot iPhone video (and, for that matter, your half-assed dance moves).

4. Save the SnapChats for your ugly selfies.
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Concert SnapChats: Poor manners and obnoxiousness for a photo/video that will quite literally be deleted (and likely forgotten) in 10 seconds or less. Ugh, 2014.

5. Get your picture and then relax already.
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This goes back to the first-three-songs part of the universal concert photography rule. Audience members shouldn’t be subjected to a non-stop distraction of photographers prowling around in the photo pit to get the right shot, and the same could be said for your phones. Even if you’re being a little bit rude, getting a quick pic and then returning to casually enjoying the music will be quickly forgotten. Spending the entire show throwing elbows and looking for that perfect ‘gram? Well, that’s just embarrassing.

6. Leave your iPad at home.
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Look at that jerk, holding up his exorbitantly expensive piece of technology at a grimy rock club. Oh, the photo quality is better? You get a better photo? How wonderful for you. I’m sure all of the people behind you whose view is now blocked by a large screen of douchebaggery are really happy to make the sacrifice so that your handful of followers have higher resolution when they scroll past your Instagram pic on their iPhones. Definitely worth it.

7. Don’t be selfie-absorbed.
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You’d think shows that enforce an 18+ age policy would be exempt from the arms-length front-camera duck face shots, but they’re still all around us. The biggest downside (aside from clearing the way for that camera-arm to extend)? It’s not fun for bystanders to make the awkward choice between photo-bombing you, ducking behind you, or hiding their face until you’re done with the personal photo shoot. Save it for the after party.

8. Respect the artist’s wishes.
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When bands like the Yeah Yeah Yeahs post very specific signs asking that concert-goers not take photos or The Lumineers take a moment before breaking out their ubiquitous Ho’s and Hey’s to ask that the audience put away their phones, you’re not the exception. Be cool, y’all! Think about the kind of listening atmosphere they’re looking to create, and accept that it might not be the kind of thing that needs to be shared via social media. Maybe it’s the kind of thing you’ll tell people about. In person. Can you even imagine?

9. Pick one good shot, and stick with it.
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Now that we’ve covered how to minimize frustrating your neighbors at the show, it’s time to think about your followers: spare them the 15 almost identical concert photos you took, and decide on one that’s the best. They probably still don’t really care, but at least you’re not clogging anybody’s feed with a bunch of the same photos of a band they’ve either already died of jealousy over or haven’t heard of.

10. #ChillOut with the #Hashtags

Speaking of #sparing your #followers, #coolit on the #hashtags #please and #thankyou. #Keepingmind, though, like all of this #advice, your #socialmedia #etiquette (and, well, actual #etiquette) is your own, so #choose what #rules #work for you. #yolo.

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