In the age of digital media, sharing words and photos for many of us has become a large part of our everyday lives. It allows us to communicate with others that are miles away or across the globe, share a variety of ideas and experiences, and easily capture our daily lives with the immediate gratification of posting and showing everyone what we’re up to.
There are drawbacks. Your life is on the internet, which means should platforms allow it, they can grab your photos and use it in their marketing campaigns without needing your permission. Forget about the CIA or NSA or any other secret government agency, companies are gathering our data based off of our search histories, what we buy, and even what we click on. They build profiles and are better able to bombard us with online advertisements, and sometimes those ads even make it to our physical mailbox.
Then there’s the whole issue of online bullying and trolling – the scarier and more serious issues that come with having an online profile. While yes you can be bullied at work or in school, the internet opens up a lot more of those trolls that come out of the woodwork and cause immense damage.
Suffice it to say the lack of privacy is an issue. Many of us seem to be ok with that because we continue sharing our lives – or pieces of them – online.
I grew up in the 80s and 90s when the internet at first did not exist and then later was born. Of course this means that my life was documented on actual 35 mm film, rather than a smartphone or other digital camera. It’s not until as an adult did I choose to start sharing pieces of my life online.
And quite frankly, I’m very thankful for that. I’m thankful everyday that pictures of myself as an awkward teen are not online anywhere. I’m thankful my parents could never post videos of me growing up, showing the ridiculous and silly things I’d say or do (I was truly one class-A goofball and sort of still am). I’m forever thankful that I was able to make the choice myself later on as an adult to blog, join facebook (then quit facebook), join instagram, share photos online, so on and so forth.
So when I had my son, I chose to limit his online exposure. Except, as you all know, I have a bit of an addiction called photography. I do love the instant gratification that my smartphone allows me in taking a photo, editing it, and then posting/archiving it.
How could I combine my love of photography with the fear of sharing every aspect of my son’s life online? I want him to be able to make the choice as to what he shares – if anything – of his life online.
While I was pregnant, I came across an Instagram account where the mother took photos of her child without showing his/her face. I wish I had saved that account by following it, but for some reason, I didn’t. So I decided I would try and do the same.
It gets tricky trying to share aspects of someone’s life without showing them completely. But I like the challenge it brings and have even created a simple site around it called My Little Constellation.
I just hope that one day when my son sees this – if it’s still up – he won’t hate me for sharing parts of his life online. Even if it is more obscure.