Dear Metro: "I don't want my mum embarrassing me on social media"
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Read last week’s Dear Metro advice: “How do I avoid over-committing with catch ups on my visit home?”
I just accepted my first role as an account manager at a social media agency. I’m excited to have a steady paycheck and to work my arse off. I posted the good news on my social accounts and everyone is thrilled, posting lots of congratulatory gifs and memes. “Everyone” includes my mum, and that may be an issue. Mum likes to post my childhood photos, naff memes, and comments about loving her children and tagging me in them. I love my mum but I’m about to start a career in a glamour industry where image matters. How can I manage my mum on social without being an ungracious jerk?
Depending on where your mum is on social media this should be pretty easy! I’m making a possibly unkind assumption about older people and guessing she’s mainly acting corny on Facebook. That’s the easiest platform to keep totally private. It’s generally accepted at this point that Facebook is for friends and family, and locking it down so most aspects of your profile aren’t viewable to the public is pretty standard, as is being discerning with who you accept as a friend and keeping your entire Facebook presence relatively separate from your work life.
If she’s out posting willy nilly on Instagram or Twitter, that is harder and I feel for you (dad, if you’re reading this – STOP tweeting at that Unfollow Trump account). But given most of her activity is all about how much she loves you, kindly explaining your need to present a certain kind of image online will hopefully be enough to have her change her behaviour. Maybe let her know she can meme away to her heart’s content on your private Facebook page, but ask her to keep it off more public platforms – that seems like a nice compromise to get what you want without hurting her feelings.
I’m also inclined to think most people under the age of about 45 are acutely aware of the differences between how they and their parents use social media, and will probably cut you a bit of slack when it comes to a cheesy post or two, so try not to stress too much about presenting a flawless online image 24/7 – especially considering the hot new trend on Instagram is apparently authenticity rather than perfection.
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Illustration: Loryn Engelsman