I have these “rules” that I created for social media. Like not consciously, but one day I just found myself telling myself I could or couldn’t do things and I’ve just always followed those rules. For example, I only like a tweet if I have a reason to want to go back and look at it one day, maybe it was funny or maybe it made me happy. I never like tweet that I “like” but don’t have a reason to go back and look at again. Other rules I follow are never using a solo quote as an Instagram caption, never subtweeting, and never deleting old pictures.
With my sister being a middle schooler, I’m pretty in tune with how they interact socially and use social media. There are a lot of things about this next generation that I don’t like (mirror selfies with the flash on so you can’t even see anything. Like really?), but one that really bothers me is the fact that they delete pictures off their Instagrams all the time.
I never delete old pictures. Not off my phone, not off Twitter, not off Instagram and not off Facebook. No matter how embarrassing they are, and trust me, there are some really embarrassing ones.
Why would I torture myself like that?
First off, I don’t see it as torture. I’m a visual person, and I love documenting my life through pictures. I love being able to look back and remember how I was feeling and what happened on the day I took a photo. Which is why I have thousands of pictures on my phone, my laptop, and tucked away in photo albums. I’m that girl who’s always saying, “We need to take a picture!”
That doesn’t mean I love every picture I’ve ever posted online. (That’s hilarious.) I’m just too stubborn to delete them.
Sure, some of my old Instagram pictures are nowhere near something I would post now, but how cool is it to see how much I’ve changed?
I just went through almost my whole feed the other day and the thing that I kept asking myself was, “Why the heck did I edit that photo like that?!” I also questioned why I loved taking pictures of oatmeal so much. But I’m not going to delete any of them just because I don’t like them now. Also, shoutout to when I used to collage pictures together all the time.
I guess you could say I’m a hoarder of pictures, but I really can’t bring myself to let go. I just love having something to look back on. Even if it’s badly composed and edited pictures that literally anyone could see.
Another reason I won’t delete them is because they give my confidence. Yes, those dorky middle school pictures I posted on my Facebook for absolutely no reason give me confidence. (I literally have an album titled “Swinging at the Park.”) Because if I’m brave enough to leave them up, then I’m strong enough to not feel offended if anyone says anything about them. Not that anyone ever has.
Related: My Struggle with Body Confidence
Plus, like I said, I love going back through them. I had no self-confidence in middle school and I honestly didn’t think I was anywhere near pretty, but going through all my old albums on Facebook the other day made me realize different. I literally thought to myself, “How did I ever think I was ugly?” How far I’ve come, right?
One more thing, a lot of people recommend you comb through your social media feeds and clean them out for future employers, but I don’t fully agree with this. While yes, you absolutely should not be posting anything illegal (um, duh) or malicious, I don’t think you need to delete your whole past. People know you created your account when you were really young, so they can’t expect everything you’ve ever posted to be professional and mature. That’s just unfair.