Today I feel like getting a little personal and talk about a topic that regularly comes up in conversation, not only with my blogger friends and internet pals, but also real life friends and most recently my sister, Bec.
It’s a topic that we all know too well: The pressure of social media.
I touched on mental health in my last wellness post – explaining how to keep your brain healthy and loosing speaking of the age we currently live in and how a lot of people feel a sense of inadequacy, dissatisfaction and loneliness due to social media. It’s so funny though, you’d think someone who displays a lot of their life online over various platforms would be better equipped to deal with the pressures, but the truth is, I feel them just as much as you. I feel inadequate and dissatisfied a few times a month and it sucks. Sometimes it gets the better of me and the feeling is hard to shake. Other times I shake the feeling straight away, because I have chosen to not let it get to me. I have begun to realise I need to take more control of my what influences me and take a step back when it comes to social media. So I guess with today’s post I want to show you that what you feel is normal and everyone feels this way about modern media.
I lay in bed for an extra half an hour this morning. I lay there, coffee in one hand, phone in the other. I checked up emails, I looked at Facebook, I looked at Instagram and then I look at News.com.au. I then proceeded to check Instagram again. Am I obsessed? Quite possibly. We are all so guilty of it. There is just something so intriguing about this faux reality.
THE COMMON MISCONCEPTION
Firstly I just want to say, I don’t want there to be a misconception that my life is amazing every single day. You know, days upon days filled with endless trips to yummy cafes, long days on the beach, holidays galore. The reality is my life is normal. I absolutely love my life, as everyone should! I work from home for various clients, as well as blogging full time and when I am not working from home I am meeting with other clients which are generally scheduled all on one day. All of this combined leaves me utterly exhausted. It may seem glamorous to some that I am 24 years old and able to set my own schedule instead of “working for the man”, but at the end of the day I am just working my ass off like you, to be able to buy food, pay rent, buy clothes and pay for fun things I like to do.
THE LOVE HATE RELATIONSHIP WITH INSTAGRAM
Don’t ever feel like your life doesn’t match up to someone you follow online. Chances are they’re just a normal person trying to either find themselves or have their own shit going on. Contrary to curated profiles on Instagram, life isn’t one big party, it just can’t be. There is too many external factors that would get in the way of that. Even if they have made you feel that way, chances are their life is lacking in one department (not on show of course).
KEEPIN’ IT REAL
I like posting snaps shots on Instagram of my day for myself to be able to look back on, and I am guilty of mostly posting “pretty” pictures – but it’s not the whole picture. To some it may seem like I live an easy life or you may even think “Don’t you have to (explicit content deleted) work?”. It may make you feel inadequate about your own life, but just because you see a brief joyous moment of my day, doesn’t mean every day is like that! Life is complex and it would be a little boring if several hundred, if not several thousand 800 X 800 photos summed it all up. If I have ever made you feel this way, I am sorry. I am pretty candid when it comes to things as I like to keep it real. Ha, KEEPIN’ IT REAL. If I have had a bad day, I will usually tell Instagram or Twitter I have had a shit day. I think it is also good to sometimes talk about the bad. We’re all humans and it is nice to know blogger’s aren’t in fact robots, which some do come across as *YAWN*.
I like posting snaps shots on Instagram of my day for myself to be able to look back on. They are just a moment in my life, they are not the whole picture.
THE PRESSURE TO PUT OUT PERFECTION
We are our own worst editors. We put filters over things, we only post images of things if the lighting is right, we arrange things to look neater, prettier, better. We’re all guilty of it. I love pretty pictures and I love scrolling down my feed to see other people pretty images. I like the thought and effort that has gone into things. Instagram used to be this platform which enabled us to share instant moments with the internet, but now I think we all recognise that those moments have now evolved into posting a tighter edit and more thought out stream. Some have even replaced blogs and tumblrs for peoples go to for inspiration. The amount of emails I receive from various brands or companies with “Hi Ally, I love your Instagram” is on par with emails I receive about my blog now! A year ago, I never thought that would be the case. That makes me want to produce an even better quality Instagram, but where does it stop? I am only one person and like I mentioned I work as well as writing my blog full time. My blog is my focus, Instagram comes second; however with Instagram somewhat overtaking regular blogging it means I have to work even harder to make sure I get good traffic daily!
THE CRAPPY DAYS
There are days when I don’t even want to go near the internet, because I feel like i just can’t live up to it or other people I follow. I just want to go without makeup, chill, not document something for a change. And I do have days like that, but they’re often met with anxiety, the feeling of being left out and sometimes they make me question what the hell I am doing / where I am going. All of these things are extremely concerning and it makes me so angry that the internet has that control over me. It’s almost like a drug addiction. You’re on this massive high when you’re involved and online and as soon as you switch off, even for the most brief moment, you’re left with nothing but a battle against yourself and hours of withdrawal symptoms.
Why is it so hard to pull my gaze off the social media streams and place it firmly back on my life? I shouldn’t be defined by social media, I should have the ability to be myself without it.
When I recently spoke to a friend (Hi Sarah) about this topic, she too felt this way. She stated ” My everyday scroll through my instagram feed presents me with more inspiration than anyone could ever deal with. “Who do I want to be today?” is a recurring question. I, myself should be the answer but it isn’t. The rise of social media has made us into sheep, when really we should filter the content into what inspires us to continue being who we are against what is trendy, but truly not me“.
I never want to set an example that my life has come easy to my readers or followers. I left home at 16 and I have been working my ass off since to ensure my future is bright. Nothing has “just been handed to me” and no “luck” has been present. It is long hours, it’s frustration, it’s tears, it’s self believe, it’s endurance, persistence and lastly and most importantly it is patience. I also don’t want my reader’s to think outside of my online life I don’t have struggles or a normal life. My office is currently a big mess, I didn’t make my bed this morning, I’m a freelancer so I am chasing invoices and the list goes on.
My blog is a place for me to escape to and share my interests and connect with you, so I want to produce the best content I can for you (and forget about my responsibilities that are waiting for me once I press publish).
My blog is a place for me to escape to and share my interests and connect with you; so I want to produce the best content I can for you (and forget about my responsibilities that are waiting for me once I press publish).
WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS?
I think most of us must battle something that’s not ideal, but there this pressure we have all created for ourselves to put out perfection. Social media should be a platform to be ourselves and not having to receive approval from anyone. I produce my content because it is true to my beliefs and interests, but it is so easy to loose sight of what that is when you’re presented with so much content from other people on a daily basis. If you’d like to share your experiences or thoughts on this topic, comment in the section below. I would love to hear your thoughts!
I just want to say a BIG thank you to everyone who tunes into Substance on here and my social channels. You are all amazing and keep on being an individual!