A few years ago, I was hanging out with my brother when he told me he was going through his Instagram profile and delete some old pictures he had posted. I thought this was strange, and I asked him why he wanted to do that. I don’t remember what his response was, but that was a question that has stuck with me for a while now. Why do people delete their old social media posts? What’s the purpose of it?
I suppose the reasoning might have to do with embarrassment in some ways. After all, my generation is the first to have grown up on social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and so on, and for the most part, the profiles we created when we were thirteen are still active today. Because of that, the posts we made back when we were younger still exist on the internet, whether they be middle-school selfies or dumb things we wrote. They’re there, haunting us, so we delete them to avoid any future embarrassment.
Personally, however, I don’t like to do this. If you were to check my Instagram now and scroll through all 257 of my posts, you’ll still find things all the way back to 2013. And yeah, some of them are a little weird and embarrassing. So how come I never deleted them?
There are a lot of things I’ve put on the internet that are embarrassing. Not so much life-ruining scandalous posts, but just weird quirky things I thought were clever or funny at the time. The kind of posts that make you cringe when you see them again years later. Stuff like this:
(No, I can’t believe I just shared that post either).
I’ll be honest, there have been times where I’ve wanted to go through my social media profiles and get rid of all of the weird, awkward stuff I posted when I was 14 or 15. A lot about me has changed in the last 4 or 5 years, after all. It’s uncomfortable having the “old me” still exist on the internet.
But at the same time, these posts are still a part of me. No, I’m not writing on Facebook about my new posters or sharing a photo of iced tea with eight filters on Instagram anymore, but those posts, as weird as they are, still represent who I am. I’m not ashamed of who I was back then – a little embarrassed maybe, but don’t we all go through that? There’s nothing wrong with who I was when I was in my early teens, and if I were to hide that from the world, I’d feel like I was being dishonest or deceitful.
In a way, too, keeping my old posts around lets me see how far I’ve come as a person. And not just in a way of “I’m not posting awkward stuff on Instagram anymore,” but I can see how my interests and passions have grown over the years, and I can look back on the things that have shaped who I am today. Perhaps that’s part of the reason why I never deleted my old blog – even though it’s inactive now, I like looking back on it and seeing where I started way back when. It’s amazing to see how far I’ve come.
I don’t know, perhaps I’m just overly sentimental or too darn lazy to go through and delete every cringey post I’ve ever made on social media (there are a lot of them). Whatever the reasoning is, I’ve decided to keep my past up there for all of my friends to see. I like not feeling the need to hide.