From my side, it might seem hard to believe what I’m writing about here. My business exploded on social media, and the work I currently do is sustained in a large part by my social platforms. I share a great deal of my life and knowledge with my following, and am in pretty consistent contact with my audience.
However, my relationship with social media is far from what many might assume.My beliefs on it are even more unconventional, especially considering aspects of my work.
I’ll be the first to tell you, the more precious and amazing something is in my life, pretty much guarantees it will not be posted about on social media. I keep my travels to myself. I protect my family and everyone around me who did not choose to be on social media or in anyway connected to me, and I consider my romantic relationships sacred. Though I do not have children yet, you can pretty much assume, the world at large will not see them at all. I will not have a page for an unborn child, or write captions and branded content around my some-day offspring. For as much as I post on socials for my business, is as much as I do not post about my private life. It is also why I disappear so often, and with no explantion. Privacy is priority, and it’s a mantra I have not given up, even with the space I occupy on socials.
On any given day, with any given scroll on social media, there is an onslaught of people’s lives. Vacations, breakfasts, family members, friends, outfits, festivities, calls for body confidence, and the list goes on of all the things we deem worthy and necessary to share with people we know, and far more we don’t know. Being someone who did not deal with socials before I decided to have a very specific theme and scope of work for mine, I do not understand why we think it is so important to post seemingly every aspect of our lives. I also do not know why we care so heavily about other people’s filtered and edited lives either.
I often think it’s not what we post, but 'why' we post it. Are we sharing or competing? Did it not happen if we don’t tell others about it publicly? Are we seeking reassurance in ourselves, our relationships, our choices? Where is the line between appropriate view into a life as a means of solidarity through transparency, and compromising one’s actual safety?
I’ve started to think we have lost the value of privacy. We overshare, we alter our behavior to align with how those around us (or those we follow) carry on, and call it all normal. I question this greatly in those trying to ‘build a career’ on social media, as many crave the importance and assumed ‘fame’ that comes with a social media presence. Part of me wants to cite studies on why we are so attached to social media, but I’m going to go with my own instincts instead. I think we all want to feel important, like we matter. I think many of us confuse mattering (an intrinsic value) with outward validation and notoriety. Social media can feed our innate need to be heard, contribute to a community, and feel valued.
It reminds me of the same needs that pulled many towards reality TV roles. Fame without having to have a skill set, talent, or even work on a craft. A means of mattering with no barrier to entry. Much like social media. Anyone can post. Anyone can one up their friends. Anyone can build a life that isn’t what they are actually living and write it off as real. I recall a study once that cited couples that post more on social media do so to mask relationship insecurities and happy couples post far less. Consider that the next time you start to feel bad about #relationshipgoals or those vacation pictures.
Yet, in being discerning in what I post, am I less honest? Am I less relatable as a human because I choose to keep many personal details of life off the internet? Or am I more human, as I try to figure out the delicate balance of sharing enough to be vulnerable and helpful in my work, but not so much as to risk my privacy and safety?
I think honoring your life by keeping many aspects of it off the internet is not only admirable, but responsible. So often I think we forget how much others can find our about our lives and whereabouts because of social media geotagging, posting time stamps, and friends and family tagged photos. Even without the following I have, I think everyone could benefit from really considering what they are posting and factor in their own safety.
Another reason why constantly posting doesn’t serve me? It cheapens the most special moments. If my only focus is 'content,' I am no longer present. Most want to post 'instagram gold' as I call it, those exceptional very clip bait type images that drive status, envy, or anything else that says look-at-me; tell me I matter. But it’s usually those very times, spaces and places that are ruined if you stop to get a photo, or take that obnoxious and wildly contrived jumping boomerang. Being present is paramount to me. When so concerned with documenting life via socials, it is easy to miss out on actually experiencing all those moments that make up a life.
Social media can be a wonderful place for community, shopping, news, knowledge sharing, etc. I just think we could all benefit from showing a little more discretion in what we post. I think we need to ask ourselves ‘why’ about everything we want to post. What does it serve? Does it serve the work we do or does it serve ego, fame, celebrity, insecurities? These questions even more heavily go for those trying to build a platform on social media with oneself as the “brand.”
There will always be pressure to do more, share more, and think we have to broadcast more to be worthy. I’m here to tell you validation comes from within, and there’s beauty in mystery. There is brilliance in honoring parts of your life as too precious to put on socials, and protecting what you love. There is power in discretion and privacy.
I hope thee values are a kewy part of what my audience gathers from my work, and presence on social media. I also hope my own methodology on handling socials empowers others to live more and post less.