Setting Boundaries On Social Media…Because Everyone Doesn’t Deserve Access To Your Personal Life
The older I get, the more exhausting social media seems to be. There are still parts of it I enjoy: Connecting with friends from high school and witnessing them display #BlackExcellence with major career moves. Finding people on Twitter that are pained as much as I am by the careless editing that can be #BlackInkCrew (Why does Teddy have on sunglasses at the altar one minute and they’re gone the next?) Or cracking up every Sunday with my #90DayFiance Twitter family as we collectively agree on the train wrecks that occur on these quests for American citizenship/love. But honestly y’all, I don’t know if I have the capacity to keep consuming all of the fragile egos, clout chasing and trolling that comes with social media when I exit my thirties in a few years. Whether it’s Offset’s apology tour or Juelz Santana’s pre-sentencing proposal I feel like I know way too much about people’s lives and relationships and all of the commentary that comes with it. It appears that more and more people feel the need to make the most mundane and intimate moments of their lives “a thing” (and for a little extra flavor, go live with it.)
I can’t tell people what to post or not post and clearly we all have the option to log off or unfollow. I have a cousin that travels to the nicer neighborhoods of Philly and poses on lavish cars and doorsteps to luxury apartments to stunt on the ‘Gram. I could easily drag him in the comments section to tell him to get off that stranger’s Tesla before they call the cops, but then I decide it’s not worth the energy. There’s also another family member who will post her boyfriend doing everything from slicing carrots for dinner to cleaning up the dog poop to sing his praises to the audience of friends and followers whom I’m sure about 60% of don’t give a single damn. Most days I can just keep scrolling but last weekend between Offset begging and pleading for Cardi B to take him back and then her jumping on social media two days letter to let fans know how much she misses the D, I felt like I knew way too much about their relationship. While I get that for some, venting to all 3.6 million of their friends and followers is the way they process their own feelings, let’s not forget Cardi is quick to shut down her page when there are those who are not only throwing shade but just posting maliciously because they can. That’s the thing with social media, you can’t invite everyone and their mama into these intimate moments of your life and then expect everyone to be double-tapping and posting heart emojis. Then before you know it, it’s officially a headline on all of the blogs and you’re in your feelings because instead of feeling the love everyone is too busy talking about your fiancé’s busted sneakers while he was on bended knee proposing. We’re all free to post what we want, but in doing so you’re also agreeing to share your private moments with the general public, and that includes people who want to applaud as well as people who want to point fingers.
Here’s the thing: What you post can sometimes speak to what you prioritize. While your boyfriend helping prepare dinner may make your heart skip a beat, there is always going to be someone out there who doesn’t deserve that kind of invitation into your life because all they’re going to bring is their bad energy to your page. Eniko Hart just wanted to celebrate her baby boy’s birthday and her comments section turned into a heated history lesson on the genocide of indigenous people. Neither Ms. Hart or her followers were completely flawed in their opinions but a simple first birthday party became “a thing” thanks to social media. Energy is contagious. As many of us like to think that we don’t take social media that seriously, there’s a reason we’re posting, sharing and liking: to engage and be social. And while a comment supporting my work and the way it’s helped someone motivates me on some level to keep writing, inevitably there’s always a remark about punctuation, the stock photo that accompanies it or something else completely missing the point that makes my eyes roll to the back of my brain.
While I appreciate popular culture and celebrities can be the catalyst for important conversations it does seem like today it’s more difficult to discuss anything without it becoming an agenda. Could you imagine pulling out a photo album at Grandma’s house to look at pictures of Uncle Leroy if we couldn’t get through one page without a full-fledged discussion on the crack epidemic and how it destroyed black families? So often it seems as if social media isn’t about making connections and sharing moments as it is about everyone trying to prove a point.
I’m not saying to stop posting to avoid the comments and missions to mess up your best moments and bomb selfies, but there’s a reason Drake once rapped “F—k going on-line, that ain’t part of my day.” Recognize that everyone doesn’t deserve access to your energy and your most intimate moments. Just a few days ago, Love and Hip-Hop star Princess Love announced she’d no longer be posting pictures of infant daughter, Melody because of people’s malicious, mean-spirited and straight up disrespectful comments. As much as we want the world to cry with us, laugh with us and celebrate with us, there’s the sad truth that there are just as many people toasting to our tears, laughing at us and waiting for us to broadcast the next miserable moment so they can feel like they’re in familiar company. And once your personal moments hit public domain they pretty much belong to everyone.
Toya Sharee is a Health Resource Specialist who has a passion for helping young women build their self-esteem and make well-informed choices about their sexual health. She also advocates for women’s reproductive rights and blogs about everything from beauty to love and relationships. Follow her on Twitter @TheTrueTSharee or visit her blog, Bullets and Blessings.