How to Speak Instagram

Uncover the minefield that is Instagram with the help of maven46 insider Joolie


Words by Joolie Collier
October 5th, 2016

In order to speak Instagram fluently, one must also know how to read and write “Instagram”. This millennial language has been passed down from iOS update to iOS update since 2010 and comes not in the form of scripture or hieroglyphics but of captions.

Warning! Today’s batch of tunnel-visioned “insight” was clacked out by an Insta lovin’ looney who shamelessly and relentlessly shares tidbits from her life in fully loaded (and way too long) Instagram captions.

I would also like to stipulate that I am NO social media expert. Nor am I advocating airing ones chocolate biscuit addiction under an effortless* snap of smelly candles and uncapped lippies strewn across an open magazine with a little marble thrown in for posterity! It’s just how I do what I try to do and so I’m going to write about it.

*effortless = crouching over the contents of your makeup bag, arranging and rearranging items for up to and often over 45 minutes all the while trying to ignore the crick in your neck from tilting out of your own shadow. #Instastruggles


On any given day composing an Instagram caption can leave even the wordiest of us with a severe case of “caption block”. Someone who could happily natter the hind legs off a taxi driver sober may find themselves lost for puns after snapping a pic of their morning coffee or holiday sunset.

This is totally normal, people. Do not let caption block stop you from posting that venti, non-fat, vanilla soy, double shot, no foam, extra hot, peppermint latte you like to treat-yo-self to on a rainy Tuesday. Power through and consider my four golden caption rules:

1.) Comedy is king and sarcasm is queen. A LOL goes a long way in Instaland.

2.) You can NEVER have too many emojis. When in doubt let the emojis do the talking.

3.) Size is irrelevant. Possibly the only place left in life where size does not matter. Use one word or twenty because…

4.) Yo’ Insta, yo’ rules, honey.

If you have ever come across my Instagram you will know I take these rules very, very seriously. The oversharing is real although captions often have little or nothing to do with the pictures I’m posting. This is not the norm though, folks – just one messy girl’s routine. It’s my Insta-accent if you will.


My habit of composing captions rife with non-sensical drivel and full of useless information are catalysts for nothing greater than eye rolls from the species known to me as “the helicopter Instagram user”**, but they do get a chuckle from me Mammy and isn’t that all that really matters? (Also, see rule 4 again.)

** The helicopter Instagram user is a person or persons who do not interact physically with anything on Instagram but pass comment and judgement both internally and via screenshots in WhatsApp groups with their friends.

The final component of speaking fluent Instagram is the hashtag colloquialism. My belief in the power of the hashtag was cemented when it became possible to hashtag an emoji. This was a defining moment for me and took the tool from siesta to fiesta! Hashtags can be – when used lightly – a further form of Insta self-expression. When employed in jest or very, very literally a strategic hashtag can cure many things – caption block being one of them e.g. #idonotknowwhattocaptionthispic #butilikeit #soimgonnapostitanyways #rebel.

If anything I’m sure I have now raised more Instagram language questions than I have answered but there is always my next column. 🙂

‘Til then lovely readers, merry Instagramming #byebye x

Joolie Collier is a maven46 insider, keeping you up to date on all the latest happenings in London. You can learn more about her and what she does here. You can also follow her beautifully curated Instagram @joooooliee