If a stranger were to scroll through my Instagram feed, there’s not much they would learn about me. There are no pictures of my relationships, no captions detailing my innermost feelings and no political opinions or commentaries. There are just select snapshots from various seasons of my life.
That is intentional. While I appreciate and value others’ more intimate and vulnerable posts, I also know it’s OK to choose not to share those personal moments on social media.
First of all, no one needs to know where we are and what we’re doing at each moment, and few people even have a right to know those things. We tend to forget that our closest friends have had to earn the privilege of receiving our trust throughout time. In doing so, we often end up giving it to our online followers for free (whether deserved or not).
No one needs to know where we are and what we’re doing at each moment, and few people even have a right to know those things.
Yet, that being said, perhaps the most common reason I and others refrain from sharing personal matters on social media is that there’s something so beautiful and almost sacred about keeping the most precious parts of our lives to ourselves. In an age when it’s as common to post Snapchat stories in pajamas and zit cream as it is to make a cup of coffee, preserving a sense of personal mystery feels like the ultimate act of luxury.
I have found that the less I share online, the more meaningful my in-person experiences become. It’s not just the difference between watching a sunset and taking pictures of it either. When I hear big news from a friend in person, rather than on a Facebook post, for instance, there’s an authentic sense of shared excitement and celebration that can’t be replicated online.
I have found that the less I share online, the more meaningful my in-person experiences become.
Guarding our personal lives on social media is not about harboring secrets or encouraging distance. However, it is about inviting more presence into our offline lives. It’s wonderful to be able to share the meaningful moments of our lives with others online, but when doing so, it’s important to consider whether we’re losing our sense of presence in those moments and/or the gift of having those sweet moments to ourselves.
If nothing else, then recognizing the delicate balance between the two will teach us to rejoice in the real, rather than the reveal.