Just about every evening my partner and I go for a walk with our kids. We talk about work, family, news. We think out loud to each other. A few nights ago my partner expressed some concerns about posting pictures of our kids on social media. He feels that it invades their privacy because they can’t give consent or even understand what it means to have their pictures posted for others to see. I’ve heard this line of thinking before. I know parents who choose not to post pictures of their children on social media at all for this very reason. I understand it. I was unaware of my partner’s feelings on the subject until he shared with me.
I could write a diatribe on the subverted nature of social media. I would not be writing anything that hasn’t already been written. I would not be writing anything that you don’t already know. It was good to be reminded by my loving partner that social media is a business. It is a platform, not a diary. Not a photo album. Instagram doesn’t care about my kids or my life. It cares about my time and how much of my time I give to it. Either Instagram uses me or I use Instagram. I prefer the latter.
From that perspective I’ve decided a few things:
- I want my Instagram feed to reflect more about me and less about my kids. My kids are a big part of my life, true, but they deserve the chance to tell their own stories in their own way in their own time.
- If I’m giving my time to Instagram I want something in return — and I don’t mean “likes.” I mean exposure. In particular exposure for my writing.
So, where do I go from here? I change. I think more strategically about social media. If you follow me on Instagram you’ll see more posts about this blog. You’ll see more writing. You’ll see more of me. You’ll see less of my kids. I’m not making a judgement on the ethics of sharing images of your children, let me be clear about that. This is a choice that I have made for myself. It is the right one for me. I’m not declaring an all out ban of kid photos on my feed. You’ll still see them from time to time. But less often.
I feel lucky to have a partner that helps me navigate this brave new world. He keeps me honest. He keeps me sharp. Instagram does neither. I have to remember that.