Being Yourself on Social Media
take a step back - are you happy?
I absolutely adore Instagram, It's been my creative outlet for as long as I can remember. I have even met some of my closest friends through this platform and I genuinely love the creativity I come across on a daily basis. That's why, I decided to quite the account with 1,900 followers (I know - it's not that much!) I've had for about 6 years and start fresh. In a world where we get the opportunity to distort our lives and gain something out of reflecting perfection (even though we're not), it can be really hard to discipline ourselves to look after body & minds. So, please read this post and let me know your thoughts on this issue!
1. The attention. Every time I produced photos that required struggling trying to find the perfect angles/ backgrounds to make it look like all the other successful beauty-instagrammers photos I would get likes, attention and followers. Don't get me wrong - I drool over these kinds of photos but it's just not a natural thing for me to achieve. Yet If I posted a photo of something a little different or more personal, I would get no interest and unfollowed . One day, I sat back and asked myself why this affected me. Then it hit me. I was being so, so silly and I should never compare my self-worth based on whether people like the content I'm putting out - especially if it's not coming from my heart. I didn't want to care about the likes anymore. If I ever get attention, I want it to be authentic.
2. The connections. I would follow whoever followed me without even looking at their profile. It became much more of a way to build a brand rather than to share and be inspired. I found that using the app became a chore. Editing photos was a chore and not even fun anymore. I was feeling desperate - and I had no connection whatsoever with the kind of content I was indulging in every time I scrolled through the app. The only accounts I truly loved were those of my close friends (most of them bloggers - who I haven't even met irl!) or those who were obviously being 100% themselves - the genuine side of instagram. Those are the people I will never unfollow because I truly value them. The people that are a part of TGC are a representation of this.
3. Put in a box. A little while ago, I uploaded a post on this blog called "how I edit my Instagram pictures". I took it down after a few days because I realised how much I didn't resonate with the kind of control that having the perfect feed inflicts on your life. I felt confined to the low saturated, bright, black and white/ sort of floral picture my life was supposed to look like.
In reality, my life looks nothing like my instagram (I'm referring to my @imogen.k account). My life is warm, full of books and vials covering my dresser. I have plants everywhere, stripy-dresses and it's a kind of beautiful chaos. I figured that my "theme" isn't predetermined. Whatever I post, my theme will be coherent with my life. Since I've stopped editing so much and just started posting what I like and what's right in front of me, I've noticed that my photos are super peachy and warm. It's unique to me because everything is almost completely unedited and raw, and I only post what I love. There's less planning and therefore, less stress associated with it. You can check out my new account over at @cherieimi if any of you are interested in a new instagram buddy!
4. The people you follow and what you get out of them. I now only follow 260 people as opposed to around 1000, and every single person in my "following" tab on my account has a much-loved place in my feed. It's a loving situation - not the self-destructive one I've been engaging in the last year. In terms of likes and gains, I couldn't give a single care in the world. I've been able to be creative and expressive with my instagram lately and it's so refreshing to me. I do find that I love putting hashtags on my photos because it attracts similar accounts - so I can find more people to be inspired by. I've actually made a few friends this way, so don't shy away from hashtags!
5. If it doesn't feel right and authentic, stop! It's as simple as that. If anything, make a smaller, private account to share your life in all its rawness and realness. I know people who have really benefited from this - it's kind of like a form of therapy! If you're not happy, don't continue.
Thank you for reading! What's your honest perspective on Instagram and social media? Let me know!