The One Unforgivable Social Media Rule Emily In Paris Breaks

It's a cardinal sin many of us are guilty of...

Lily Collins Emily In Paris

by grazia |
Updated on

I confess, I absolutely adore Emily In Paris. The new Netflix series from Darren Star follows a young woman from Chicago who is catapulted to France, where she is tasked with bringing her wide-eyed perspective to a marketing agency stunted by its rigidity and excessive sophistication. Emily, played by Lily Collins, is immediately disliked by her new colleagues - they call her 'the hick', they mock her clothes, they gleefully enjoy her failures. But as the series progresses, they have no choice but to be won over by her fresh ideas, her implacable work ethic and her creative approach to her clients' social media presence. I watched all ten episodes as quickly as I could. I had a blast. Emily is contagious, and her solutions to problems are imaginative and clever. But she is also guilty of breaking one major rule of social media success, and it's one I have no time for.

When she first lands in Paris, Emily has a cluster of social media followers. In an attempt to integrate and exploit her new location, she changes her Instagram name to EmilyInParis and begins showing off her new life. I say 'showing off', but she is not overly smug. Yes, she offers her followers envy-inducing images of couture, roses and walks along the Seine, but she also shares her stumbles - 'Oh crepe!', she captions her snap of her clumsily dropped pancake. Get it? Plenty do. She soon has thousands of followers and circles what some see as something of an Instagram Mecca: influencer status.

Emily loves a pun and a well-written caption. She has an eye for a photogenic moment. She appreciates her following. But there's a problem: she is also guilty of social media voyeurism. On at least two occasions, she photographs strangers without their knowledge or permission, and posts them - unobscured - on her grid. One of these images is a picture of two children playing unaware. Another is of a small group of Parisian women smoking cigarettes outside a gym on a break from their fitness classes. In the first instance, she is exploiting the picturesque quality of two blonde youths playing in a classically European square for her own social media ends. In the second, she is explicitly mocking - or at the very least inviting her followers to mock - the curious contradictions of French culture. Breaching the privacy of others is not acceptable just because it's satire.

Photographing strangers without their consent is always unacceptable. Posting them online is equally so. Emily means no harm, of course. She is charming and pretty and sweet, the human embodiment of candy floss on a stick. But she's participating in a murky practice. Beneath the smile and the perfect, bushy eyebrows, she is nevertheless an unchecked social media voyeur. In real life, she would be called out on her behaviour.

Her crimes are minor in the grand scheme, of course. There are plenty of people whose tweets or Instagram posts of this nature are undeniably cruel, mocking women for daring to eat on public transport, making fun of people with 'bad' haircuts or outfits. Such images are mean and alienating to their subjects, especially if they go viral. But they are all based in the same foundation, the same no-no: do not photograph people without their permission. Do not post those photographs for the world to see. If you are too embarrassed to ask to take someone's picture, then you already know that you shouldn't be doing so.

Emily is a dream. A new TV heroine for the Insta generation. May her followers grow, her influence increase exponentially. But I do hope that next time she spots an unmissable moment to share with the world, she'll check with her subject first...

Emily In Paris is streaming now on Netflix

READ MORE::a[Maisie Williams And Her Boyfriend Matched Again At Paris Fashion Week, And We Have Decided To Stan]{href='' target='_blank' rel='noopener noreferrer'}

READ MORE: All Of The Most Unlikely A-List Friends On Instagram

Just so you know, whilst we may receive a commission or other compensation from the links on this website, we never allow this to influence product selections - read why you should trust us