Recently, I listened to a podcast conversation on the subject of sharing photos on social media, and whether the habit of uploading life to the internet actually constitutes ‘showing off’ under a thinly veiled disguise. Conversations like these always make me think about what I’m doing with my blog, my social media and life generally. Although the discussion wasn’t actually limited to bloggers, it’s hard to sidestep the fact that a huge part of blogging involves sharing photos of holidays, what you had for dinner, random cups of coffee and life’s little moments. The thought that any of this could be seen as ‘showing off’ does, I admit it, sting a little bit.
When I started my blog a couple of years ago it was with the sole intention of writing. That was, and still is, absolutely the main reason that I’m here. But I also enjoy taking photos, styling up flatlays and generally exercising other creative muscles. I think when looking at blogs it’s worth remembering that they’re a bit like online magazines – a bit more styled, brighter (and sometimes prettier) – than life behind the page. I could share pictures of my messy kitchen or the bins but does anyone really want to see that? I think of my blog as somewhere people can go for a bit of escapism, a 5 minute life break, or just somewhere to enjoy a lovely cup of tea.
None of that means the messy stuff in life doesn’t happen and hopefully people know that. I hope the things I’ve shared on health, life and, for want of a better phrase, my own personality issues level this all out. For me, the photos are there to accentuate, enhance and illuminate the stories. And yes, I admit it, it’s nice to have one little corner of my life that’s always tidy, organised, colourful and neat.
More important to me in the context of this conversation isn’t the showing off, but the showing up bit. Making sure that instead of just photographing them, I’m present in the everyday, tiny moments of my life. It seems nowadays that we have lost the ability just to enjoy moments without wanting to capture and share them – I know sometimes I have. More and more now I find myself just watching the sunset, drinking the coffee, feeling the feeling without reaching for my phone. Just being in the moment and then letting it slip past me – being grateful for the experience and knowing that no-one has to know about it but me.
I watched a travel video lately which started by noting that a destination ‘was great for Instagram photos.’ It made me cringe a little to be honest – I mean, when did we start basing our leisure choices on the digital footprint they would leave? In this era where photos are virtual currency we all have so much to navigate. For me, I think it means letting my heart lead me and being mindful of what, how much and when I choose to share.
And to the person who chooses not to share anything, I get it – and know that you still do wonderful things with your wonderful families too. And speaking of wonderful families, I’m off to enjoy a couple of weeks with my own one. So here’s to the everyday moments and showing up for all of them. Showing off? You’re just going to have to wait.