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November 19, 2012

Eat It, Don't Tweet It!

The days between Thanksgiving and New Year's are filled with social-media obstacles. Kate Schweitzer offers advice for managing your musings so that you and your followers have a happy holiday.

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Photo Credit: Babara Singer/Getty Images

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Tis the season of lame status updates. There's something about the holidays — a mix of booze, downtime, and festive one-upmanship — that creates a perfect storm for social-media indulgence. So before you annoy your friends and followers, stick to these tips and use Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram responsibly.

Pick up the fork, not the camera. Avoid what Taylor Swift did last Christmas when she Instagrammed an exhaustive still life of steaming hot chocolate, peppermint creams, and ginger snap cookies. It just looks a little, well, sad. A Valencia filter does not a food photographer make. And your handiwork just might get dissected by anyone armed with the Normalize iPhone app, which removes such filters, contrasts, and other enhancements to reveal what that "vintage" turkey shot actually looks like.

Set limits on baby and pet photos. A wise rule all year long, it's especially important when it involves manger scenes and menorah lightings. You don't want to force your followers to pay a visit to unbaby.me, which replaces a feed's baby photos with, say, National Geographic landscapes.

Don't show off. There's no need to make everyone jealous of what you scored off your gift list, like one young woman featured on the Tumblr "Rich Kids of Instagram" did when she snapped a pic of herself with six handbags: "Can't really decide which Birkin to use today." If you must, opt for the #humblebrag. Example: "After eating all those latkes, I'll never fit into my new Proenza Schouler dress!"

Stop reporting your whereabouts. Bloomingdale's. Tree farm. Grandma's house. Don't be an offender like Kim Kardashian, who keeps her 16 million followers too up to date with such tweets as, "Gym time then packing for Paris!" Save the play-by-play for live-tweeting bad reality TV.

Use your table manners. Just as you wouldn't discuss politics or religion over dinner, steer clear of incendiary topics online, at least while the holiday decorations are still up. There's little worse than the Debbie and Donald Downers who remind us that while we're all enjoying ourselves, there's a pine-beetle crisis in Colorado. Let everyone get through the holidays in peace, and go back to your causes.com campaigns after the New Year.


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