One Mom's Guide to Instagram
There’s a fine line between sharing and TMI. So, we asked Sarah Clark, the founder of LittleSpree.com, how she approaches her twins and the ‘Gram.
When U.K. fashion editor Sarah Clark became a mom in 2010, she became interested in discovering fashionable but affordable clothing for her kids. When she started sharing her finds with friends, the birth of Little Spree soon followed. The site helped style-conscious moms find hidden gems, and Clark amassed a devoted following of parents. When you search for @littlespree on Instagram, your screen is filled with perfect, double-tappable images of trips, photo shoots and family moments with Clark’s adorable twin children — the stars of the show.
However, for all the idyllic snapshots of family life, Clark is the first to voice her concerns about how growing up on Instagram is tricky for our children, and that young kids and social media don’t always make for picture-perfect pairings. Scroll down for her guide to the ‘Gram.
1. What are the ingredients for creating a good post with kids?
First and foremost, post something authentic that your kids are actually doing. It can be tempting to try and create a scenario that you imagine will look great visually, but images are so much more engaging if they feel real. If the light (preferably natural) happens to be beautiful, then all the better!
2. What has surprised you in terms of popularity or being met with a lack of response?
Interestingly, any time I post a picture of my home it will almost always get more likes than images of my kids. I think people love getting a glimpse into your personal space, but it often surprises me that places and objects can get more likes than a person. It’s also a sad fact that people definitely engage more with pictures of my daughter than my son. Obviously, I’m very careful and never share how many likes a picture gets. I think it’s hard enough for adults to process that information emotionally, let alone children.
3. What were some aha moments along the way as you were figuring out how to document your kids?
I guess when my kids started becoming aware of the fact that their images were part of something bigger and more public than photographs. I don’t involve them too much when posting pictures, but you do have to think of children in the same way as adults. They have good days and bad days, the same as us. Sometimes, I don’t mind people taking a picture of me; other days, I hate it. I’m trying to approach it like that, so I’m including them in decisions more and more.
4. Where is the line between private family and public?
This is one of the trickiest questions of all. Where indeed? I definitely feel that for me, there is a line, but it can become a little blurred sometimes. The trouble with Instagram is that the more you share, and the deeper you go, the more people seem to love it. I’m sure plenty of parents would judge me — in fact, I know parents judge me — for putting pictures of my kids on Instagram, but I am not naturally an over-sharer. I like to give a little bit of insight into my work and family life, but only to a point that I feel comfortable with. Just because it’s not on Instagram, doesn’t mean it didn’t happen. I’m not sharing everything, and I can’t imagine ever wanting to do so.
5. At what age should kids be allowed to get their own Instagram accounts?
Definitely no earlier than 16. I’d like to say 18, but I don’t know if that’s completely unrealistic. You don’t have the emotional intelligence when you’re young to think about the subtext of what you’re posting. That’s a lot of pressure that you’re putting on yourself as a teenager. When our kids are adults, most of their lives will have been documented visually on Instagram and, because social media is so new, we don’t necessarily know what the implications will be.
Follow Sarah Clark on Instagram @littlespree.