As a photographer, I look at a lot of photos: adorable photos, bad photos, memorable photos and sad photos. Most of the time it’s pure voyeurism; other times it’s for creative inspiration. When I see something I like, I often leave a comment. It’s something I really appreciate when others do, so I try my best to reciprocate.
Unfortunately, most comments I receive are trivial or cliché. Terms like “nice” and “cool” are fan favourites. While I’m happy someone has noticed my work, I wish viewers would step up their commenting game. After all, there are so many words in the English language, yet most resort to the same old, tired and played-out vernacular. Flickr even has a group called “Commented with Nice” – presumably a nod to the phenomenon.
They say, it is better to give than to receive. So, over the last few months, I’ve been trying out different terms while commenting on others’ photos. One day, while I was surfing through Instagram images, I saw something really special. I fired off the comment, “This is a truly stupendous photo!” The reply was, “I didn’t know what that word meant, so I had to look it up. Thanks!” Obviously, social media commenting has real room for improvement!
The trick to commenting with style is to recognize the three main categories of comment terminology. Firstly, there are low-level terms. Although some of the words I’ve listed below have dictionary descriptions that contravene their status as unremarkable, I am classifying them as such because they have lost their original meaning due to severe overuse. Secondly, there are mid-level terms. This is a long list, most of which are infrequently used, but are common enough that they pop up now and again. Finally, there are high-level terms. These words are typically reserved for only the most monumental of commenter reactions.
Low-level: These are your standard compliments, props and kudos. A comment consisting of these words demonstrates a mildly impressed viewer or someone lacking vocabulary. Worse yet, the comment was the result of a lazy bot programmer. If you want to comment with style, avoid these boring words, unless of course the post really is just “good.” If you absolutely must use low-level terms, try one of the modifiers listed after the terms.
- Awesome – Really? Does this post fill you with awe? Didn’t think so.
- Brilliant – Fine for everyday use, especially if you’re from across the pond.
- Groovy – Umm, the 70s are over babe.
- Nice – Like your grandma’s toilet paper doily.
- Sick – Are you 14? Then don’t use this word.
- Swell – Lame. Unless you’re using it ironically. Then it’s sick!
- Wicked – If you’re from Boston, disregard. I have no beef with you.
Mid-level: These words rise to the level of commendation and admiration. A comment containing any of these words is a step in the right direction. If you’re getting or giving comments like these, you’re either really impressed or feeling a bit like Stan Lee.
- Delightful – Kind of like a spring breeze. Suitable for pictures of babies.
- Fabulous – Yep, this word is fine for straight folks too.
- Fascinating – Spock would be proud.
- Incredible – Use for anything big, green and hulking.
- Magnificent – Anything in groups of seven.
- Remarkable – at the very least you’re being literal right?
- Wonderful – If you’re German, wunderbar works just as well.
High-level: These words rise to the level of praise and flattery. If you’re getting comments like these, you’ve made it to the big leagues! Congratulations! If you’re using terms like these, you’re a master of social media who’s commenting with style. Well done!
- Astonishing – Pretty much interchangeable with the next term.
- Divine – Divas have known the power of this word for decades.
- Stupendous – Has nothing to do with being stupid.
Modifiers: Now that you’ve got the terms, mix and match these adverbs to add a little zip to any of the words above.
Okay! Now you have all the tools you’ll need to take your social media commenting to the next level. If I’ve missed any novel or mundane words, please leave a comment below… in the comment box. Yep. That’s the one, right down there.
Anyone commenting with emojis gets extra points for being clever.