The way you present yourself online can be a pretty telling expression of your identity, which is exactly why some people choose to keep their social media presence hidden. We asked you, Sweet readers, about your secret social media accounts, and you revealed some interesting practices.
Undercover Move No. 1: You're Sharing Private Thoughts
Your cousin's boyfriend's ex-best friend doesn't need to know your prediction for the finale of Big Little Lies. After all, you're going to want to save face if that theory about the Avenue Q puppets doesn't quite come true. A secret space gives you the privacy you need, plain and simple.
"Sometimes I don't want everyone to know how truly hilarious I am. I am a luxury few can afford." –Aly (San Diego, California)
"I'm really shy around people who don't know me very well. Few people know what I'm really like, so I made an account just for them. It's a place where I can express myself as the person I want to be." –Jaycee (Haskell, Texas)
"Sometimes I want to put content out into the world without necessarily letting just anyone see it. A private account is like a diary, but one that your close friends can see, relate to, and contribute to." –Alyssa (Ithaca, New York)
Undercover Move No. 2: You're Doing Some Secret Sleuthing
Maybe you want to check in on your crush or an old friend, but you don't quite want them to know that you're doing a deep dive into their Instagram. An extra layer of anonymity gives you a safety net, should you accidentally deep-like.
Undercover Move No. 3: You're Spreading Kindness...Anonymously
A (non-creepy) comment from a stranger can easily make a friend's day—that's why some Sweet readers turn to their private accounts to spread a little joy.
"Lots of my friends judge me on what I post, but I love helping people so I made an account to do that. I have helped many people and given them advice. It makes me feel happy and alive knowing I am capable of doing that with just an account." –Eileen (Los Angeles, California)
Undercover Move No. 4: You're Hiding Niche Obsessions
Maybe you don't want everyone to read your 1D fanfiction. When you slip into your own anonymous space on, say, Tumblr, you can geek out over super-specific interests without worrying about other people's judgment.
"I mean, who didn't create a fan account for a band they were crazy about, just to regret it later?" —Francesca (Milan, Italy)
Undercover Move No. 5: You're Telling Inside Jokes With Friends
This might be the new way to pass notes. When your friends share an account, curating inside jokes, memes, and memories is easier than ever.
Undercover Move No. 6: You're Maintaining Your Grid
Cultivating a specific aesthetic is important! A private Instagram can help you test filters and check out your feed before posting a photo to your public account. It can also be a place to keep an excess of photos you want to keep for good.
"It's a place for me to let loose instead of always staying within the boundaries of my perfectionist main account." —Jade (Lancaster, Pennsylvania)
Undercover Move No. 7: You're Exploring New Passions
You might have a secret singing YouTube or an anonymous art Tumblr—or maybe you turn to Twitter to get involved with activism. A private account can be the perfect place to nurture your passion project.
"I use it for my mental health journey, so I post no-makeup selfies, pictures of me doing yoga, etc. I also make sure that I do one good thing for my body each day, and I post that on there, too. It helps me stay on track!" —Ava (Vancouver, Canada)
But secrets aren't fun for everyone. Here's why some Sweet readers keep it all in the open.
"I'm too lazy to make two accounts. I've literally gotten tired eating Chinese takeout." —Aimee (United Kingdom)
"To me, social media is about showing people who I am. I'm a fairly introverted person, so social media allows me to share what makes me unapologetically myself. A secret account would defeat this purpose." –Elaine (Chicago, Illinois )
"I love to share what I have on social media and love to condense my whole life down to one social media feed because I feel like it's more of a whole showcase of who I am." –Kenn (Orlando, Florida)