I had an interesting talk with a friend over coffee the other day regarding the ever changing features of Instagram. The changes in the privacy settings, who can view your videos and pictures, who can like stuff and who sees your likes… its exhausting to keep up with.
I’ve had an open account since the beginning of Instagram and don’t quite understand why people make it private, I mean, if you want to post private images for your friends, you can do this on Facebook where the security settings are just as easy to control. Instagram, for me, is a photo SHARING platform where you share with the world your #amazing coffee art capuccino, yoga poses, #feelingblessed vacations and other humble brags. Where on Facebook people tend to announce the birth of new babies (sometimes even delivery room live streams! sorry but… legitimate reason to unfriend since I had no choice in the matter and now I can’t unsee that) Instagram is the place where you say ‘my new baby!’ and take a staged photo of your Chanel bag, poised on a lambskin rug, thrown over a chair with a couple of peonies thrown in for… for nothing really! I’ve done this too so I’m not judging!
My friend and I talked about this at length. We both agreed that by making our profiles private, to have some sort of privacy from people who we know just snoop our profiles to judge us, would be countering everything that instagram is. Again, this is a personal opinion because we both use our accounts for work. I actually have three accounts and 2 are work. The other one is a private account which I share with my boyfriend to share our special memories. It’s a way for us both to connect to it and add things we like along the way. We are the only people who can see it and this way I don’t feel that need to make our love so public. I occasionally post about him when I feel like sharing something but in general I keep it to a minumum.
So in summary, we both went home and I did some thinking on what social media means to me. I use it for work of course so I’m constantly on it. I share my travel plans, my achievements, my wardrobe of course and sometimes my feelings.. but also with that my patterns are exposed. I had a scary incident where I had a bit of a stalker at my spinning class. I had to start going sporadically because I didn’t want to create a pattern of going each class at the same time. He had started hanging out outside the gym and I felt rather unsafe in knowing he was waiting for me so he could walk down with me and that was incredibly creepy. That’s when I realized that Instagram does much the same thing, it tracks your patterns. I now only post my location like a cool restaurant or a shop, a couple of days after or at least hours after I’ve left the area. It sounds extreme, I’m not famous at all or anything but anyone can fall prey to a stalker and many bloggers I know have gone through this.
But delving a little deeper, what is it that we really want to share here and how much is too much?
So here’s some social media guidelines to stay safe and also avoid oversaturating your feed with unecessary info.
1. Limit your personal info in your bio: This includes phone number and personal email. It’s always better to have your blog email, so people know its only for business enquiries or your agency email so you don’t even get marriage proposals from guys in foreign countries! I once got one with pictures of his house inlcuded and it freaked me the F out! Changed my email the next day.
2. Never tag your actual location: post your food pic hours after you left the place, you can still tag it and you’re safe no one knows where you’re going next. Also never ever reveal your location of your home. I’ve seen some people tag home sweet home, and it actually reveals their exact address. Also I try not to take pictures near my home…
3. Block unecessary people: When you really don’t need someones energy or you know that it would be just for snooping, trolling or leaving nasty comments, block that person for good. There’s no need to share your life with people who don’t share theirs with you and don’t support what you’re doing. I fully appreciate that not all of my followers love all of my looks because you can’t please everyone but it doesn’t give them the right to make unecessary, mean spirited comments. And also… I retain the right to have my privacy respected in some way and I don’t need to invite that energy into my life. Haters be gone!
4. Avoid the humble brag: This is more of a tip to keep your followers from hating you! It’s fine to share your latest luxe purchases or your ever growing shoe closet, but instead of saying ‘so many shoes I don’t know what to do with them!’ Maybe try donating some of them! Or be honest and proclaim yourself a show hoarder, there’s no shame in being honest!
5. Share what you care about: if there’s a charitable cause, a political statement, a store that you discovered or a an underrated restaurant that you would love to drive business to, these are all things you should share! Your account is also your social media voice and while its fine to post outfits and shopping tips and makeup selfies, its nice when bloggers also show that their passions range beyond fashion. This new year I vow to get better at this!
6. Sometimes its just a pretty picture: Don’t feel the need to always say something. A picture is worth a thousand words and there’s no need to feel pressure to always be clever, witty and use all relevant hashtags! Feel free to say ‘I got nothing to say and I’m saying it!’
7. Keep it classy: I’m all for free the nipple for artistic shots, photo shoots, swimwear models, etc. I don’t know if I need my entire following which includes some friends and relatives to see me in compromising provocative positions. I have a lot of young followers too and I feel a responsability to keep most of my clothes on! This of course does not include swimwear, which in my opinion, if everyone can see me on the beach, its fine to post on instagram. Class trumps trash anyday and while there might be skin baring trends here and there, some girls take it one step too far for their dinner outfits for example. Nipple tassles are not a trend! I love the female body and I think it should be celebrated in all its forms, but I’ll leave my opinions on that for another post!
8. Last but not least: be yourself! Nothing worse than seeing copycat posts just because its something that works for other bloggers/instagrammers. Its great to try new things but don’t forget to be yourself along the way!