You know, with social media (specifically Instagram stories), it can really feel like you know a person, right?!
It’s so crazy! I don’t always watch other people’s stories, but there is a handful I follow that I really enjoy and keep up with…I can tell you what town they live in, their favorite coffee shops, what their spouse does for a living, even down to what their favorite cleaning products are (ha!). While it’s kinda creepy when you really think about it, social media and stories have opened up an avenue for my business and many other business owners for my community to get to know me. People who follow me don’t just get to see watercolor and learn about art things, but they get to know the person behind the pretty flowers and bright colors, what my personality is like, and even, what I eat for breakfast.
Now, with that said, I don’t share everything on social media. In fact, it may seem like I story a lot to some, but think about it: stories are 15 seconds long MAX. Let’s say I story 20 times in a day (which sounds like a ton), that’s 5 minutes worth of stories! I don’t know about you guys, but there’s a lot more that goes on in my day than just 5 minutes. So, while it feels like you can get to know a stranger through your screen, there’s SO MUCH MORE to that human than what they share! There are struggles, there are worries, there is depth and personality, there are interests and hobbies that don’t get shown on social media, and there are the weird bits…guys I’m SUPER weird. It’s not that I’m trying to hide these parts of my life from people who follow me, I am so grateful and appreciative of the community that’s around me! There are just certain aspects of my personal life that I like to protect and set boundaries around. That’s why you won’t see posts from evenings when we’re out or have friends over, and why I never actually post in real time (more on that in a bit).
I want to live each moment like I’m a part of them, not reliving them after watching my stories later.
It’s not that I’m being secretive and withholding things from my community, in fact, I believe it helps me share more of my work and that sort of thing on social media because I’m not constantly on my phone. I’m able to devote more thought and attention when I have set time devoted to posting on Instagram. I’m also not saying I never story or use social media either, obviously, but that there are clear boundaries I’ve set up that I will never cross when it comes to sharing on social media. And here’s what they are:
1. Never post in real-time.
This is so important to me. This doesn’t apply to photos I take and post during work hours. I consider social media a category in my business, and there’s allotted time within each work day I spend storying a painting behind the scenes and posting work. However, I don’t just post work stuff. The posts you see where my captions are lengthy and personal or the shots aren’t of watercolor or my design work, THOSE posts are never storied or posted to my feed at the moment they are shot. For example, if I get a photo of John and me on our vacation in Australia (because who doesn’t take photos while they’re on vacation), once the photo is taken, I will not be caught spending my time editing the photo, writing the caption and posting to social media right then. No, I will go on, enjoying the day we’re having, the lunch we’re eating or the hike we’re on, etc. and when the time is right and it’s not interrupting any memories, I’ll post. This is so important you guys. It’s helped me maintain attentiveness throughout the special and personal moments, but also give more thought to what I’m posting! I don’t know about you, but I cannot write a meaningful, thoughtful caption while I’m out to dinner with a friend. I’m distracted and it’s rude.
2. Never share before 10 am.
This applies to days John and I are home together. On work days I get to the office before 10 am and will story or post if I feel like it before 10 because it’s a part of my work. But on days that John is home and we’re together, I will not be caught picking up my phone to story or share what’s going on before 10 am so we can spend time together. John and I both work so much, so this time is really valuable to me and incredibly important for our marriage.
3. Never share past 7 pm.
Again, this only applies if I’m not working, or not alone…sometimes you’ll see me storying my cats or posting in the evenings, that usually means I’m home alone and/or working. When that is not the case, my phone is on lockdown. I’m not storying or capturing anything to post, and definitely not actually posting ESPECIALLY when we have people over. In fact, most of the time when we have people over, my phone is on my nightstand in our bedroom charging…far enough away from me so I’m not distracted by anything. No texts, no emails, no social media. This was hard to get used to at first. We can become SO reliant on having our phones around, but I started realizing that I was prioritizing reading that email or that dm over time with my friends. It’s so common to catch people on their phones when they’re out to dinner or at a party, and even though it may be considered “regular behavior” these days, we are sending messages to the people we’re with that there’s other, more important things to be doing than spending time in the moment with them. I want to show the people in my life that I listen and I care, not that my Instagram notifications are more interesting.
So, there you have it!
As a disclaimer (after the fact, lol), I am definitely not perfect at this and am still trying to find the best balance with social media and what I share. I think it’s a constant learning game and something we should all be aware of as sharing our lives through our phones becomes more common. I hope this post gives you some insight on how you can set up boundaries and hopefully continue keeping your personal life sacred and your life in the moment.
Have any tips related to this post you’d like to share? Comment below!