The East Hampton Idiot Spotter Facebook page launched just as the Hamptons’ summer madness reached its apex last year, and with it came dozens of photographs aimed at shaming disrespectful tourists—and more than a few locals—and all the punishing parking jobs, absurd acts and stupid situations that are a ubiquitous part of the East End’s seasonal rush. Now, as another season gets underway, the site’s administrators look back at the past 11 months of idiocy and page’s phenomenal popularity.
Though EHIS wasn’t the first page of its kind in the Hamptons—”Douche Spotter,” a closed Facebook group came first—it immediately became the region’s go-to page, connecting with thousands of frustrated locals, East End tourists and anyone who enjoys a few laughs or a daily dose of schadenfreude. It became a place to vent publicly, a place for the many victims of parking abuse to find some justice in an unfair world. Did we mention that it almost always inspires a good chuckle?
The page went live on July 5, 2013, exploding into the Hamptons zeitgeist with 10,000 followers by its third day, on July 8. By August that number had doubled to 20,000 followers, and then climbed to 35,000 by November. EHIS slowed as winter took hold, but it still managed to add another 3,000 followers between December and now.
“We are over 38,000 now,” EHIS administrator “Sue” said this week, adding, ” It’s been a slow climb in the off season, but still in the right direction.”
The page had little to “report” with all the tourists being gone in the offseason, Sue said, but added, “It really picks up with the new beach pictures—people love stuck trucks!”
In lieu of summer’s steady flow of local “idiot” pictures, the page supplemented with funny internet memes and photos from various sources—though they generally remained on theme.
“The biggest response we ever had was for a picture I posted around Halloween,” Sue said, describing a response message, in the form of a public sign, from a mom whose toddler’s pumpkin had been stolen. “It had almost 12,000 likes and 1,700 shares!” Sue explained.
As for summer 2014 and EHIS’s first anniversary, Sue said she and the page’s founder have no plans, other than to “hope for people to send us great stuff.”
The administrator said EHIS is always happy to receive new content, but the process can be slow when fans send images in a private message instead of posting directly to the page. “A lot of people have trouble posting from their phones,” Sue said. “That makes it take longer for us to find the good stuff—but hopefully people will figure out their phones this year and will post more.”
While EHIS is in many ways about shaming and ridiculing people, Sue said the community has remained, for the most part, quite civil. “I want to say the best thing about this [page] is that for almost 40,000 people, we haven’t had to ban many,” she said. “The ‘fans’ know that we won’t tolerate any hate speech or bullying,” Sue added, while admitting that people will occasionally believe a post is inappropriate or insensitive. “If we get a complaint we review the post and make a decision to leave it if we think that person is being ridiculous, or remove it if they have a valid point,” she said. “Luckily, that doesn’t happen too much either.”
Using an example, Sue said she had to take down a particularly divisive photo of a person carrying their dog in a very unique—and some would say idiotic—way. “I still think the picture of the dog in the baby papoose is funny, but it wasn’t worth the outrage of some fans,” she said, noting that she removed the image to spare hurt feelings by those who like to carry their dogs that way.
For more Hamptons idiocy, check out East Hampton Idiot Spotter on Facebook here.