Let us now delve deep into a question that has vexed mankind since the very first naked baby picture was uploaded to Facebook.
While it might not seem to be about an individual’s image, that’s where this debate eventually lands when it comes to how we use the various services to market ourselves, our business, and to promote our brand as we see fit.
The debate takes on new meaning as Instagram has decided they will now be the arbiter, blurring or completely censoring photos as they deem necessary.
Which begs the logical question. What exactly IS an “offensive Instagram post”?
We’ll start by not being naive and agreeing that blatant pictures of death, dismemberment, violence, memes and actions that are overtly racist, anti-religion, hate filled reasons for clowns and trolls to elicit clicks from the mass mind-addled are not even included in this discussion. Let’s call them the “OBVIOUS” offensive that common sense dictates.
Let’s use this picture posted on Instagram by Cleveland Browns RB Isaiah Crowell seeking to protest what he considered to be a case of police brutality. It didn’t get him fired from the NFL team, but the hammering he, the team and the NFL absorbed could have been easily avoided by not seeking to be so graphic with a pictorial statement. Still, he’s a grown man and his right to free speech is Constitutionally protected. He can fashion his image in whatever form he pleases. Positive or negative, it’s his choice.
And as a grown man able to decide for himself what he wants his image to be, he must also be prepared to deal with any consequences of his actions.
From the extreme to what might appear to be harmless. An editor for the magazine “Vogue” posted this picture on Instagram obviously believing it was funny.
And was immediately excoriated by the masses for posting a “tasteless” and “offensive” picture.
Somewhere in the middle of this debate is using social media to make a point about a specific issue. For instance, is a menstruation stain offensive?
As far as Instagram was concerned, it was offensive enough to warrant a warning.
Instagram is, of course, the owner and operator of the business. They can set whatever rules they wish and those who chose to use the service have to abide by them.
But when does setting a standard for what one believes offensive and another views as a social cause or a form of humor turn into unwarranted and perhaps even illegal censorship?
It’s a fine line Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, You Tube and other have to dance around. Consistency would be nice, but then, who sets the level of consistency?
In the end, this comes down to what you as an individual wish to have attached to your name, your reputation, your image.
Start by asking yourself that simple question with no simple answer.
What is your definition of “an offensive post”?