It is sort of funny how this whole privacy thing is imploding with Instagram because just a few weeks ago, I was having dinner with the one and only Anna Lingeris, Public Relations Manager of Hershey’s. At this very dinner, I was voicing a whole different set of concerns regarding Instagram and Bloggers and Brands.
Now, those very concerns may be null and void, but let me start at the beginning. My oldest son is about to turn 12 years old. If that in and of itself is not enough to drive me insane, enter his burgeoning presence on social media, namely Instagram. What my husband has coined Facebook Lite, Instagram is all the rage with the tween and preteen set. So much in fact, that I almost feel that I am too old for Instagram.
With my son’s followers and likes and comments growing each day, I quietly watched behind the scenes. I was watching what he was instagramming. There were snipes of friends and me, selfies, and lots and lots of shout outs to brands (like Nike). The Instagram web grew and became more tangled. His friends followed me. I don’t follow back. I follow 2 tweens. My 2 kids. Period.
However, it was not this that was at the crux of my issues a few weeks back. It was this: I am a blogger. Sometimes, I am asked to talk about brands, products, places, and people. At times, my kids are woven into the mix. Not always, but here and there (I cannot sell them out completely but that is a whole different discussion). Anyway, let’s say for example, I am asked to go on a FAMiliarizing trip for a destination or use a product designed for families. The likelihood of that place or product landing on another Instagram account ripe with reach and engagement is pretty damn high.
So, now I have assistants? Mini-bloggers? Partners in Crime? I don’t even know what to call them – these feisty, Insta-Addicts who within an hour will have their friends and social networks all begging their parents to take them to said destination or purchase the photographed product. All of a sudden I am thinking there is a marketing spin there, an engagement level that has not been fully investigated yet, perhaps a value that I bring to the table?
Red flags start waving in my head because these are my KIDS, and that is what they are – KIDS. They post what they believe to be cool at that moment and 2 hours later, it could change. They follow Lebron James account as if he is really talking directly to them. Worst of all, I could never list them as an unseen value proposition because they are them and I am me. I am the blogger. Not them.
I am sitting their telling Anna…This is a dilemma: Do I not let them tweet or photograph experiences that we share as a result of what I do? Do I cut them in on the work? They do not have blogs, and if they want one, they will create one on the topic/niche of their choice. Personally, with blogging comes a lot of responsibility, and I don’t think they are ready. Ready to put their name on the line, print their thoughts in black permanent marker on the internet, or come out with any endorsements or seals of approval. They are KIDS.
Some or all of the Service may be supported by advertising revenue. To help us deliver interesting paid or sponsored content or promotions, you agree that a business or other entity may pay us to display your username, likeness, photos (along with any associated metadata), and/or actions you take, in connection with paid or sponsored content or promotions, without any compensation to you.
This sent the internet world into a tizzy and one response after another hinted at quitting Instagram. While I am considering my own profile and works of art on Instagram. There is a larger issue at hand: my KIDS. Very quickly, I do a full 180 from considering the impact of their engagement and how our worlds coexist to I may have to be the big bad wolf and pull them off the site altogether. Certainly not going to win me any hugs and kisses from them, but I must consider all the possibiilities and ramifications and figure out what to do. Because simply put – they are just KIDS and their likeness is not for sale.
But I definitely feel the control slipping away and I don’t like it.