I experienced something new recently and I don’t know what to think about it.
I posted a photo online of one of the twins last year. It was a cute photo. At the time all my Facebook friends “liked” it. It was a great photo, I admit. But that was months ago.
Last week I was forwarded a forward of an email with a screen shot of my photo from someone else’s page on Facebook and a “FYI! Great pic!” message. But the photo on Facebook was just posted that day, and from someone I don’t know.
I know we live in this digital age, where everything is right here and right now and ‘shared’ and ‘liked’. If I post a photo online, I am aware that I lose ownership and control over that photo. With each photo I post, I think about that. “Am I okay with literally every person in the universe seeing this? Am I strong enough to handle criticism (there will always be someone who finds fault with something about a photo)?”
But this photo really made the rounds. When I posted it originally, 80 of my friends ‘liked’ it. When it was posted this time, it got 4,000 ‘Likes’ and over 300 ‘shares’. In three days.
What was intended to be a great photo of a moment with my kid turned into something bigger–not only the heart warming feeling that comes with the knowledge that our sweet photo made so many people’s day, but also a feeling of vulnerability on my part, after being made aware so many strangers saw what my kid looks like.
In the end I am that mother bear, ferociously protecting her young. I love that my kiddo’s photo is responsible for making so many smile, but on the other hand 4,000+ people who I don’t know can now pick my five year old out of a lineup. Some had great responses and feedback, but it was mainly a reminder that we do not post photos in a vacuum here.
Please be mindful about the photos you post online. Realize that once you post it, you can’t take it back. It’s out there, somewhere and always. Also realize that once you post it, you can’t control a thing about it. I bet this sounds obvious to you, but imagine stumbling upon a personal photo on an unrelated site. You can’t even get angry at anyone. If you post it anywhere, it’s fair game.
Just be careful.
The organizations who posted my photo were legitimate charitable causes and posted it in order to bring smiles to their followers and get engagement from them. They are honorable people and causes, and I hold nothing against them. It was a lesson for me though, to remember that these internets are a big place. Don’t post things that you might be uncomfortable with either your family OR strangers seeing. This should be obvious to us, but just a reminder.
Okay, FINE. Here is the photo I’ve been talking about. I’m sure I would have posted it eventually! Yeah, it’s pretty amazing, remarkable, adorable. Should you disagree, I know like 4,000 other people who will argue that it IS.
Cassandra can be found on Twitter @aclevergirl. Learn more about her family’s unique challenges and why they have hope for a cure for muscular dystrophy at byrdsforacure.org.