What does my Instagram account say about me, and why does it matter?

My Instagram account is looking pretty slim lately.  I try not to overwhelm my social media feeds with pictures of my 1-year-old, even as though he’s clearly the most adorable human to ever walk the Earth.  Instead, I post pictures of images captured on my daily commute.  I didn’t create them, and they’re never staged, all I do is share with what speaks to me with the world.  I’d never call my self an artist, but I would say that I’m a decent curator of guerrilla art.

So, what’s the problem with that?  Nothing… as far as I knew.  I thought that this was an innocuous pass-time until I read about the new “Social Media vetting” involved with crossing the border into the United States.

“If that sort of rule is enacted and they’re required to provide passwords or other things related to their social media, people will really have to start thinking about whether they want to continue to travel across the border”- BCCLA on CBC

It has recently come to light that US border agents can insist that visitors to their country give up their social media passwords (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram etc.) so that they can review travelers’ accounts and judge whether they are welcome to enter the country.  If you refuse to offer the passwords, they can refuse you entry into the country, simple as that.

My Instagram account shows that I have pride in civic rebellion, that I’m a left-leaning Canadian woman with Democratic sympathies, I may become a problem for the establishment, I clearly *have* a problem with the establishment, and that I am someone who would definitely be marching in solidarity with US citizens in the next  Women’s March.  And as the US becomes more and more restrictive to people’s liberties, this may limit my ability to visit friends and family in the future.  Even if it doesn’t, my name will most likely be added to a list for future evaluation.

Let’s be honest.  My Instagram account has a much more energetic and optimistic political-life than I do – I’m snapping pictures of art that other people took the time and effort to  create.  Regardless, I now own these messages and everything that they say about me. If the biggest penalty is I can’t add my 70 cents on a US dollar to their economy, I can deal with that.  I recognize that have the privilege to be able to stand by my  beliefs, but it’s just one more thing that makes me want to fight the good fight, you know?

What do you think? Am I over-reacting? Is giving up Social Media passwords a small price to pay for entering an entirely different country, or is it an invasion of privacy?

Twitter: Social media passwords, privacy, and border control. When #BigBrother actually is watching http://bit.ly/2lGdrbg

Facebook: A picture is worth a thousand words, and that might be a problem.  http://bit.ly/2lGdrbg



2 thoughts on “What does my Instagram account say about me, and why does it matter?

  1. I think Instagram is SO important for getting to know someone, but I also think that its a great tool to portray the you that you want to be on Social Media. I think my life looks so much more exciting on my Instagram than it actually is. I also think Instagram is something that is or is going to become crucial to developing ones personal brand.

  2. This post comes at a time, when I have been wondering if my outspokenness towards the Trump administration through the sharing of articles, news, comedic skits from SNL and opinion pieces designates a self-imposed ban for future trips to the US. Based on your quote above from the BCCLA on CBC, and other assorted news media that I have read, it may be already to late to rethink my posts. I have, no doubt, banned myself.

    Would I do things differently? Probably not. Given the opinions I have shared are part of who I am, and I feel that in times like these, voices need to be strong and outspoken towards wannabe dictators that are trying to create a world in which there is forced government access and a gross violation of power.

    Do I feel sad about not visiting the US in the next 4 to 8 years? Maybe a little. I have friends, family and trips that were planned, but I also feel a sense of empowerment to choose not to go. Whatever meager vacation dollars I could spend are not supporting an economy of Trump. It may be little but I know others who have already changed their plans, and perhaps the halo effect of many will empower others to change the path that the United States is currently on.

    We have one life to live, each of our lives are unique and have gifts of their own. The best things we can do is to honour ourselves by sharing who we are and what we have to give. I love your Instragram posts and think they are a great display of civic rebellion! Keep fighting the good fight! 😀 #resist #notmypresident

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