Anytime you post something on social media, whether it be Facebook, Instagram, Twitter or even your own personal blog, you are opening yourself up to criticism. People can write anything in your comments or on your feed. Even though you never think something negative will be said, it happens. When it happened to me, I was upset, shocked and then suddenly grateful. It really opened my eyes to how I was exposing my family to the world. At first I stopped all social media for a while and made my blog private. But slowly over time I started to post things once again, but I definitely changed how I did it. Here is what I learned:
The world can be cruel
Even though I do not post inappropriate things online and try to be positive with what I say, people still found something to criticize and poke fun at. It hurt and broke the trust I had with the social media world. I have to say, I have a much thicker skin now and do not take things so personally, especially from people I do not know or will never meet. Unfortunately, online bullying has become prevalent. If you read the comment section of any article or post that has gone viral, you will find a whole lot of haters. It can be hard to read those types of things being said about you, but it does happen. And sometimes things can go beyond just negative comments. Certain personal information in the wrong hands can be devastating. Make sure you are not posting full names, addresses or any pictures (such as those adorable bath tub pics) that can be used in a negative way. Not everyone has bad intentions, but it only takes one person to bring you down. If someone does post something negative, try to take it with a grain of salt. Know not everyone holds the same opinion as you, and that is okay, just don't allow the ones who are opposed get to you.
Before you post something online, think about it. Is there anything in the picture that may show something you don't want the world to see? It can be anything from what is playing on the TV to a hidden reflection of you taking the picture while in your underwear. Try to see the picture or video from someone who has no information about it and is viewing it for the first time. Is your child sitting in the car not in her car seat? Even if the car is not in motion, people will make assumptions and start criticizing you for the way you allow your child to ride in the car. Are you posting a comment that is oversharing? Do you really want the world to know how that spicy burrito made you feel? Or how awful your child's diaper rash is? If you take the time to stop and think before you hit share, you may choose not to post after all. If you have any second thoughts, it is better not to share then regret it later on.
Even if all your accounts are set to private, there are still ways others can see your information. I recently had a baby and had a lot of people texting me telling me they saw pictures of my newborn and she is adorable. While I was thankful for the compliment, I was confused as to how they saw any pictures of my baby. I was not friends with them on any social media site, nor was my husband, and I had only put one picture on one social media site. I am assuming they saw the picture through someone both of us are friends with who must have liked my photo. I did not mind that they saw my picture, I was happy to share it with everyone, but it made me realize how easily my information could be accessed by people that I did not "approve" on my own. Be careful with what you post. Even if you think you are safe from certain people, you are not.
You are what you post
Be aware that some people only know you through what you post online. Sure, you may have met this friend in person once, or even went to high school with them, but that was a long time ago. Now the only time they hear from you is through what you post on social media. What you post says a lot about who you are. If all you do is complain about your kids, then you may get a reputation as being an unhappy parent. If you only post pictures of you wearing sweats, you may get labeled as a slob. What you post is a reflection of your life. Post what you want people to know about you. On the other hand, keep in mind when viewing someone else's profile that they are not posting everything that goes on. If their life seems perfect, it is because they are probably not posting the bad things that happen to them. Do not compare your life to theirs.
These precautions do not guarantee that no one will ever post a negative comment to your feed, but it does help eliminate some risks that you may have been exposing yourself to. Even though it was hard to take the criticism I got online, I am actually really thankful to the person who posted their negative comment. It made me take measures to protect myself and my family.