3 Types of Social Media Posts Your Friends Secretly Hate, According to New Survey Results

You may want to think twice before sharing that photo on your timeline

We’ve all been there. You’re relaxing on the couch at the end of a long day, absent-mindedly scrolling through social media on your phone. You see the usual posts: a video tutorial of someone putting on makeup or doing their hair, a friend asking for recommendations for a beach read, or maybe an ad for a new purse or bathing suit. And then you come across a picture an acquaintance posted on vacation, and you scowl. Another person you know is on vacation and sharing pictures? Do they really have to show off all the time?

If this is your reaction to seeing vacation photos, guess what—you’re not alone. According to a recent online survey, it turns out that vacation photos tend to be the types of posts people secretly hate the most. And if you’re the guilty party, don’t worry: We have advice on better ways to share photos from your recent getaway.

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These are the worst types of posts

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The study, conducted by Planetware, surveyed more than 1,000 Americans about their social media habits and reactions to vacation posts online. Of the study respondents, 49% were female, 49% male and 1% nonbinary. Ages ranged from 18 to 77, with 14% Gen Z, 53% millennials, 22% Gen X and 10% baby boomers. With the data they collected, Planetware determined three types of social media posts people despise seeing the most. They include:

  • Vacation “thirst traps.” Sexy or flirty photos, like a bikini shot shared from the beach on Instagram, may seem like they would garner attention from a crowd, but 55% of participants say those images have the opposite effect.
  • Vacation countdowns. Instagram or Facebook stories with countdown stickers or posts with captions counting down the days until your trip aren’t nearly as interesting for the viewer as they are for the poster, say 54% of respondents. Two possible explanations as to why they are so disliked: Planetware’s data shows that one in four Americans don’t plan on taking a vacation this year, and 53% of survey respondents admitted that vacation posts just make them jealous.
  • Throwback posts. While vacation photos from years past are sweet and nostalgic for the poster, they aren’t overly entertaining for anyone else. More than half of the survey respondents (53%) say vacation throwback photos are just as annoying as other vacation photos, garnering the same types of feelings of jealousy.

The frequency of the posts also matters. According to the survey, one in five Americans say they unfollow or mute people who post too many vacation photos, and 49% note they are likely to unfollow someone if they are posting vacation photos daily.

Tips for sharing vacation photos … without being annoying

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If you’re looking to share about your vacation without annoying your friends and followers, Planetware did find a few types of vacation posts that survey participants responded positively to. They are:

  • Recommendations for vacation spots. A majority of survey respondents (70%) say they like to hear about cool spots to visit, must-do activities and destinations that they could consider for their own future vacations.
  • Mistakes to avoid. Nearly half of respondents (44%) appreciate when people share mistakes or things to avoid on vacation so that they can avoid making the same errors. Sharing an experience without showing off goes over well with others online.

If you still want to share your recent vacation photos, a better way to do so is to share them with a smaller group of friends and family who are more likely to enjoy them. You could create a shared photo album on your smartphone or start a group on Facebook. Or you could go completely old-school and print out your photos to share with your friends and family the next time you see them IRL.

Whichever route you choose, it’s important to note that unless your goal is to gain more followers and/or sell a product online, your social media really should be an expression of you. If you want to share photos and don’t care so much about gaining or losing followers, then do it! You can’t please everyone online, and if they don’t like what they see, they can just leave, right?


  • Planetware: “The Vacation Posts Americans Are Tired of Seeing”

Kiersten Hickman
Kiersten Hickman is a journalist and content strategist with a main focus on nutrition, health and wellness coverage. She holds an MA in Journalism from DePaul University and a Nutrition Science certificate from Stanford Medicine. Her work has been featured in publications including Taste of Home, Reader's Digest, Bustle, Buzzfeed, INSIDER, MSN, Eat This, Not That! and more.