BUILD COMMUNITY

Staying safe as you grow

feat. @meganjaynecrabbe

Your time on Instagram should feel intentional and inspiring, but growing your online presence and audience can sometimes bring unwanted attention. So let's go over some tips and ground rules to keep you safe as your reach increases.

SHOW ME EVERYTHING

Claim your space. People can visit, but it’s on your terms.

Avoid oversharing personal stuff for your physical safety.

Set clear boundaries and make sure you take breaks.

Request account verification to keep out any imposters.

Hey creators. My name is Megan Jayne Crabbe, and I'm here to talk to you about staying safe as you grow. My platform blew up pretty quickly while I was talking about body positivity and I didn't have anyone showing me the ropes, how to stay safe and how to take care of myself. And I am really, really glad to be here talking to you now and telling you what I've learned. So let's get into it.

Silencing the noise

Lesson number one, it's a big one. You cannot please everyone. It took me a really long time to realize that trying to please over a million people every day was impossible and it was bad for me mentally. When you put content out online you are opening yourself up to every single person's opinion who sees it. And sometimes it's important to take on feedback but sometimes you have to protect yourself. Sometimes you have to close the door and say, "Enough is enough. I can't take in any more people's opinions today". And that's where I use tools like comment moderation, like only allowing people to reply to my stories if I follow them, like a block button if someone is really pushing one of my boundaries. There is nothing wrong with using those tools to take care of yourself.

Making privacy a priority

Lesson number two, keep yourself physically safe. I know it might not seem like the most natural thing to have to consider where you are posting and how much detail you're putting out there but it is so important. Just little things, like not putting out a picture that is in front of your house or the street that you live on or remembering to turn off your location. And if you wanna post your location, maybe do it after you've already left the place. Remember, if you do accidentally put something out with too much information, you can take it down. Thank you. Thank you for allowing us to delete things, internet gods.

Taking breaks is okay

Lesson number three, take breaks. I learned the hard way that trying to be constantly online, constantly scrolling and constantly creating is not healthy or sustainable. It's okay to tap out sometimes, to take breaks, to put your notifications on mute. We still have to invest in our life offline. We still have to take care of ourselves in the day-to-day. I love that we now have tools like the daily limit tools. So you get a notification once you've spent a certain amount of time on the platform. And you can be honest with yourself and check in about how you're feeling and when do you need to take a breather. I take so many more breaks now and some of my friends take every single weekend offline, just focus on their everyday lives and then come back fresh in on Monday. Whatever works for you. Okay, those are my main lessons for staying safe online as you grow but I'm gonna leave you with some reminders and these are reminders that I tell myself all the time.

Key takeaways

1/ First off, claim your space. You built your platform. People can come and they can visit it, but it is on your terms. If they are disrespectful, if they are abusive, you have every right to show them the door. You wouldn't accept someone barging into your actual home and shouting at you and not leaving you alone and not following the rules you set. So why would you accept that online? And there are so many tools that help you in setting those boundaries like hidden words. It was a good day when Instagram introduced the hidden words tool. Mine is quite full, not gonna lie. There's a lot of stuff I don't wanna see and you shouldn't have to either if it's gonna make you uncomfortable. Speaking of making you uncomfortable, you can always report someone. If a block doesn't quite go far enough you can report an account anonymously and hand it over to Instagram. They can check their community guidelines and see if something's been violated. So you have options for claiming your space.

2/ Second reminder, put a limit on the super personal stuff. It sucks that we have to consider our physical safety, online as creators. But if you are a woman or a person of marginalized gender especially, you've gotta do what you've gotta do. So think twice before you put something out that has tons of very personal information in it.

3/ Next reminder is protect your mental health. You can be grateful for the platform you've built without sacrificing your entire wellbeing to it. Set your boundaries, preserve your energy. Take breaks, know that you don't have to do it all. And you know what? None of that is selfish, it's self preservation.

4/ And one more quick tip, is to request verification for safety measures. Lots of people think that getting that blue badge is just an ego boost and I'm not gonna lie to you. It did feel good, it did, but it's also really useful as a safety measure for things like preventing impostors, letting your audience know that it's really you. And you can request verification in your account settings.

All right, creators, that is it from me. I hope you are feeling more confident about staying safe online as you grow. Thank you for being here with me in this weird and wonderful and sometimes overwhelming Instagram world. So I hope you feel inspired to go out and create what you want to create, and I will be cheering you on, fellow creator.