Convocation Etiquette: The Dilemma of Posting Photos on Social Media

Mohona Chowdbury '17Contributing Writer

Convocation is the best way to celebrate the start of the new school year. You get to see your friends after way too much time apart, meet first-years and get back into Smith life.

My favorite part of Convocation is getting my outfit together for the night. Themes are taken seriously, pasties are considered and outfits are coordinated. While all types of outfits can be Convocation outfits, Convocation tends to mean wearing as little as possible, all while staying true to your house’s theme.

Of course, a night of celebration in pasties, tassels, caution tape and spandex with all of your friends gets well-documented. Waking up to 300 new photos on your phone and a 60-second-long Snapchat story is almost a given by now. There should not be even a glimmer of shame because, when everyone looks that good, six selfies in the same pose are necessary.

However, while your selfie game might be on Kardashian levels — and you realize it would be a crime not to grace your social media platforms with countless pictures of you and your friends — Convocation picture posting is a stressful time. While you may not be Facebook friends with your parents (or the whole extended family), your friends might not want their grandparents to see them blowing a vuvuzela on a table while wearing duct tape pasties. You may want to post a group picture of your class on Instagram — only to realize that your friend’s pasties had fallen off halfway through the night, and she didn’t bother to put them back on.

To help you out and keep you from losing friends, I have gathered a list of tips to help you decide which pictures to post from Convocation. To start, always ask your friends if putting a picture on Facebook (or any other social media platform) is okay. Even if you support the “Free the Nipple” movement, sometimes you don’t want to share that moment with your colleagues from your summer internship — let alone your parents.

You should definitely ask your friends for their permission to upload images that include wardrobe malfunctions, the presence of alcohol or other substances in the picture, “risqué” poses or any pictures documenting dubious decisions your friends may have made throughout the night. It’s important to remember that everyone has a different background, different relationships with family and friends back home and different comfort levels with sharing their lives on social media. Sometimes, even if you don’t tag your friends in the picture, other people can view the image if they are Facebook friends with you or if any of their friends have liked the picture.

If you are worried about a picture showing up on your timeline, you can change your settings on Facebook to control the images you are tagged in and what is shown on your profile. Go on your Facebook account, click the little downward-facing arrow on the top right, scroll down to settings and select “Timeline and Tagging.” Once you are there, the second option down should read, “Review posts friends tag you in before they appear on your timeline.” Turn that option on, and you now will have the ability to control what your friends tag you in and what shows up on your timeline. This way, if a friend tags you in a picture without thinking, you don’t have to worry your whole family seeing you in your Convocation attire.

Convocation is one of the best traditions of Smith College. Just be sure to keep it stress-free by taking care of the pictures posted to social media sites, so there won’t be morning-after panic.