Thursday, September 8, 2016
The In-Between, Social Sharing, and Nasty Snapchats
This post title kinda reminds me of "the upside-down," and made me smile. Then feel creeped out. (Please tell me you've watched Stranger Things!) Anyway, I wanted to write a little bit about where I'm at recently with social media, because I've gotten some questions about why I've made my Snapchat private. In the big picture who really cares, but I explained AFTER I made my Snapchat private, so all of you who follow me over there didn't see what was behind it. It's private for now and my thoughts about this are always changing, but for now I'm just feeling like this is the right thing. So here's what's been going on- D I C K PICS (I feel like I need to space that out so I don't get website hits from that search term). So nasty you guys. I remember before I got Snapchat, I was out to dinner with friends. One of the girls was showing us how Snapchat worked, and she posted a random video of our group with "girls' night!" as the caption. Within moments she had an inbox of weird guys sending strange, inappropriate photos. And I remember just being in disbelief that one, these weird guys followed her and two, people ACTUALLY send stuff like this.
Fast forward to my own Snapchat experience. I love it, because it shows such a real side of social media. I mean, I guess it can also be used in a curated way but for the most part I feel like people just share what they want, their weird personalities shine through, and it's overall just a fun little corner of the internet. I really loved it, right from the get-go (even though it honestly took me over a month to really "get" it). I liked how I didn't overthink it, I just shared and talked to the camera and felt like I was able to convey more of myself . But most of all I enjoyed having a way to connect with you guys on a different level and receive quick questions and snaps. As time went on my following grew there and then one day, I got a snap from a name I didn't recognize. It was a blacked out screen with the words "do you wanna chat?" in the text bar. I felt like this couldn't be anything good so I went to block them, but before I did so they sent another snap. I opened it and lo and behold, it was a disgusting picture of a dude holding his erect junk in a bright room. SO GROSS. Since then I would say I get random photos like that about 2-3x a month from different user names. It's equal parts really disgusting and oddly humorous. Like, what the heck is wrong with this person? The only reason I find it funny is that it'll be like 2pm and there that weirdo is, sitting at home sending out these kinds of photos to strangers. Get a life, sicko. There are just so many things wrong with it and it's just the craziest thing to me. And I've talked to other blogger friends and apparently, occasionally receiving this crap is the norm. Isn't that insane?
For me, the issue is actually not the inappropriate photos. It's thinking that the sick f*cks that send photos like that are watching videos of my family and me. That's the problem. I could easily just not receive snaps from strangers (there's a setting for that), but that's not the point- it's that these people are following me. And *I* created this problem, you know? It makes me take pause- I share there, post to IG, I created this space here because *I* enjoy sharing and writing and connecting....and by default that makes my kids a part of that too. But am I protecting them enough? I think about this balance of social sharing constantly. I ask myself all of the time- why am I putting this on the internet? If I'm being very honest there definitely was a time I enjoyed receiving comments and praise, I loved the feeling I would get when I knew something was well-received. And that's a big motivator for sharing right? We get to construct this glimpse into our lives and be seen as we wish, and then receive validation for that. That was also the time I was very into reading the opposite about myself! haha! But we're talking years ago. We've all been there in some form right? I think maybe that's hard or weird to admit but we're humans and at the root of it we want to be loved and accepted. But-- I'm 34 now. I look back with a big eye roll, a little cringing, and a huge dose of love for that girl. Of course we grow up and change, and now, all of that is just not where I'm at. I've been doing it for so long that in the beginning, I didn't think too much about it, but then as I matured and had kids, and they grew, it of course became a major issue. How much is too much? And that big question, WHY am I sharing? My love for connection with others does not ever outweigh my desire to keep my kids safe, of course. So that's why I made my Snapchat private. And it's not like that's some grand gesture because let's be real- we're talking almost 15+ years (!) of sharing online in some way for me- but making that account private was something I could do now, and feel good about it. No more gross photos, and more importantly, no more weirdos seeing more of an intimate glimpse into our lives. I'm very aware that god knows who is following me on Instagram but that's why I've always tried to be very mindful of what I share over there. As time has gone on I feel like I've shared less and less about the children and focus more about what we're doing as a family. But again- is that enough?
And I don't know, is this the end for me? No. But I'm just at this place where I've been thinking so much about the root of THIS. The whys, the reasons, lots of thoughts. It's so fun to connect with you guys and I LOVE you all, but as far as social media, I just have all of these feelings. I want to share my experience, our story, but I just have to continue to explore how I can do that while feeling like I'm protecting my kids and more so, protecting their own individual stories, which are certainly not mine to tell. And I do feel like I'm doing a good job on Instagram, I don't feel uncomfortable there sharing, but if I ever do, I simply won't share there publicly anymore either. But for now, I feel okay.
This was such a brain dump, but it's been on my mind so I had to share. There are SO MANY MORE important issues going on in the world, and I am aware what a privilege it is that today this is the major thing on my mind. I've regularly shared posts like this over the years, and it's always interesting for me to go back and see where I was at with it, at that particular point in time. The internet is always changing, social media is always changing, and of course, so are we. It's only natural that our thoughts and feelings about being a part of it would ebb and flow too, but even when I read back five, six years, it's all kind of the same. Me, questioning and wondering what the point is. Maybe it's a sign. ;) Anyway, I would love, love to know what you're thinking about this. Feel free to share below or over on IG!
Love you all, always.