Tuesday, August 6, 2019

Social media minefields

I was not an early adopter of social media, and I was a bit leery about it all at first -- still am, about certain aspects of it -- but I've come to enjoy being in closer touch with far-flung family members & friends, seeing their photos & sharing mine.

Long before Facebook & Instagram, I've always loved taking & looking at family photos, and appreciated the important role they play. I used to get doubles of all my prints & share them with the other people pictured (my mom, my SIL, my coworkers), especially when there were children involved, and people always seemed to appreciate it. When digital photography arrived, and email and photo-sharing sites like Flickr & Photobucket became popular, I shared photos that way. I've long been known as "the family photographer" in both my own family & dh's. BIL, SIL & the nephews have all said they would not have any photos of the boys' childhoods if it wasn't for me & my ever-present camera.

Dh thinks I overshare at times. I tell him he needs to see some of my friends' feeds, lol.  I don't post every day, and I don't post photos of everything I take. (I will admit to going overboard on special occasions -- our nephews' wedding albums on FB, for example, each contain more than 100 photos -- and there are many more on my laptop hard drive!)  If someone (like my sister) asks me not to share their photos on social media, I try to respect that. If they're not on social media themselves, or if I'm not sure they would be OK with me sharing photos of them or their family (especially their children),  I will usually ask.

As an example, I already wrote about the gender reveal party for Older Nephew & his wife's baby, and how I was asked not to post any photos on social media until after the separate reveal party for her family.  I already knew about the separate party & assumed that sharing anything before then would be verboten.

Sunday, we were at BIL's celebrating Younger Nephew's birthday. Before we brought out the cake, SIL asked me if I would mind not posting anything -- at least anything that would indicate we'd had a party. She hadn't invited some members of her family -- she figured they would be away for the long weekend anyway -- but thought they might take offense if they realized we'd been partying without them. I agreed, of course, and I haven't posted anything yet. I didn't get that many photos that were visibly birthday-related anyway (cake, presents, etc.).  I think I'm just going to post a few funny photos I took of the dog, which should be harmless enough. (I hope.)

I did feel a little taken aback, though (especially after I was asked not to post about the gender reveal party too) -- and I wondered if I've posted something that inadvertently hurt or offended someone in the past.  As I said before, I try to be careful & considerate about these things.  I wrote a post a few weeks ago about my trepidation about the coincidence in timing between pregnant Niece-in-Law's first ob-gyn visit & the 21st anniversary of Katie's stillbirth (coming up tomorrow) & whether I should post anything on social media to mark the day. (Still thinking about that...)

As another example, we wound up spending most of last Saturday at dh's cousin's house nearby (with a pool & a lovely patio), along with BIL & SIL and several other cousins -- but not all of them. It was kind of an impromptu thing, where one cousin called another, and they called another cousin, and so on & so on.  Most there were local, but a few came from further afield.  I took a few photos, and posted one.  I wondered as I did so whether I should -- since the cousins that hadn't gotten a call might see it and wonder why they were left out. The photo I posted included dh & two of the cousins who also live locally, and I made sure to refer to the impromptu nature of the gathering -- i.e., this was not something we'd planned without the others.  (So far, no fallout.)

But then I think about how often I see stuff from my friends & relatives that makes ME go "ouch" (when I'm sure they don't have a clue that that would be my reaction, or anyone else's). (And I'm not even talking about anything remotely politically related, lol.) Example:  a meme posted by at least two mom friends over the past week which reads "My biggest accomplishment will never be money.  It'll be who I raised."  A reminder I didn't need, especially this week!

I'm not sure what the answer is -- but I do know that life is both richer AND a lot more complicated since social media arrived on the scene....


  1. yeah it's very easy for social media to cause people to feel a bit left out when they find out about things they wouldn't have otherwise known about. I was trying to arrange a get together with some relatively new ladies that I'm hoping to become friends with recently and wasn't getting a great response. They had seemed enthusiastic initially but then vague when it came to pinning down a day and time. Then I noticed on facebook another girl suggesting a meetup and suddenly they were all available. It stung a bit.
    I think it's great you are so good at taking photos by the way! I love looking back at old photos as a way of remembering events and always wish someone had taken more.

  2. It's an interesting friction to examine, that place where stories rub up against each other: where does my story end and another person's start? I admire how mindful and respectful you aim to be.

    Abiding with you today. Big hugs to you.

  3. It is a delicate balance. If i'm having an event where some people weren't invited i still post pictures. I have gotten to a place where i care less which probably isn't good. If someone else is hosting the event and I want to post pictures then i do it a few weeks later as a latergram. Thinking of you.

  4. It can be hard, can't it? I think you seem to do a pretty good job of walking an even line. Perhaps you should ask your SIL at some stage if you ever posted something that for some reason upset her? Because you strike me as someone who always thinks before she posts. Unlike so many people.

  5. Ah, the love-hate with social media. I feel like it's impossible NOT to offend someone or leave someone out. I have "friends" who are constantly tagging people in their social activities, so that everyone knows exactly what they are doing and who they are doing it with. Like, "having midday drinks with so-and-so!" "dinner with the girls!" "boozy brunch with my ladies!" "always say YES to adventures" (that one accompanied with a flight of beer on a weekday at lunch, which sort of makes me wonder what would happen if her employer saw that). So, I probably do the opposite and rarely post when I'm with specific people unless it involved traveling on my end or theirs and it's a rarity. I remember once having an impromptu backyard barbecue with my mom, stepfather, and great aunt and uncle, and my sister sent me a scathing email letting me know that "if only I had thought to invite them they would have come" after I posted pictures (they live FOUR HOURS AWAY, so it was a little crazy). But that's what happens -- it's so easy to come up with all the ways to feel slighted, to be like, "why wasn't I invited to the boozy brunch?" (although in my case, I know -- I said no too many times and I'm OFF THE LIST! hahahaha.)

    I love facebook for the connection with people I wouldn't otherwise get to interact with, but I also hate it for how it breeds drama and FOMO and a false sense of friendship in some cases. Bryce quit it, and he is begging me to do the same, but I can't bring myself to do it. Yet.

    I'm thinking of you, those shitty memes always seem to come up at the worst times. Sending you love and hoping for no fallout. It sucks when you just want to document family gatherings and it turns into trouble, because you are such a caring and wonderful person who's always thinking of how others feel.