Let’s talk for a second about the pressure of social media…ANDD before you lie to me and worse, YOURSELF, we ALL KNOW it exists. Maybe you just so happen to fall in to the 5% of people it doesn’t affect, and if that’s the case, lucky you.
What is it about social media that gets us so worked up? That takes us from being logical to illogical. Sane to crazy. For me, it’s the numbers. I don’t think I’d actually care about who likes my posts if I didn’t have a number of followers to compare it to.. you know what I’m saying? Especially with algorithms changing and apps ‘rewarding engagement’, therefore encouraging us to spend more time on them. You spend hours doing your makeup, hair, picking out the perfect outfit.. and for what? FOR IT TO BE RAINING. Now you’re screwed because that perfect tea picture you wanted against that oh so popular background has now been ruined. What are you to do? You’ve already posted 5 snaps, 2 selfies, and taken 8 pictures with aunties that you know are somehow going to surface on social media… Another outfit wasted. Damn it.
NO NO NO you tell yourself. But remember:
You is pretty.
You is fashionable.
You is likable.
You don’t want to be THAT woman. So you begrudgingly post a subpar pic and lo and behold, 200 out of your 5000 followers like it. (You know yourselves. Y’all are the MVPs.) Now you sit there being annoyed because you know you didn’t buy any followers but yet where has everyone gone? You look back to a poorly lit selfie you took a year ago and.. there are the likes. So what has changed? NOT YOU. And for all I know, if you did change, you probably changed for the better! So do not let these stupid psychotic apps warp your mind and make YOU think that YOU are not amazing. And if a follower ain’t liking your pic. Screw them. You still fly as f. There is such a thing as follower hater syndrome (you heard it first here!). More to come on that later but essentially it’s social media’s warped up form of jealousy where it makes you think that people are genuinely interested in your life, but they’re just out here rooting for you to fail.
Then of course there’s the fact that social media lets us have what we ASSUME is insight in to other people’s lives, fueling an instinctive comparison. But do we really? Or is it like I said, posed and perfected, facetuned to thy kingdom come? A few years ago, maybe 3, I was SO obsessed with what and how often I posted, totally focused on building a following so when I eventually got this blog up and running I’d have a big enough audience. BUT that just wasn’t me. Now do NOT get me wrong, I LOOOVEE a good picture and will go to great lengths to get one (or ten). But my favourite thing about my social media now is keeping it as real as I can – flaws and all. BIG UP TO THE TWITTER FAM FOR NOT LOSING THAT YET!
But even on Instagram, I like to share things that I’m passionate about – the foofs, causes close to my heart, struggles with anxiety, people that annoy me, brands that I like etc etc. I’m less about a posed picture now and more about having my instagram reflect the things around me. A quick look at my page and you’ll definitely see pictures of me alone, but it’s littered (see how I managed to work cat vocab in to this?) with pictures of my family and friends because that’s who I am. I would love to have some more pictures in cute outfits doing cute things, but that is not my life right now. My life right now involves the loves of my life (check them out @islandfoofs) and at the hospital most days.
The best advice I can give you is one I remembered I thought up when I was really young, and it still applies today.
“Nobody is going to wash your dishes as clean as you.”
And I laugh to myself every time I say it because it is so true. Nobody is going to put as much effort in to you as you. That includes lifting you up and making you feel like you’re worthy. Remind yourself that social media is just a glimpse in to someone’s life.. and 98% of the time, what people choose to show you, does not match up with what their day to day life actually looks like. Trust me on that.
I think that even though social media is such a good platform that allows the exchange of information and the ability to discover people who have similar interests, I wish people would be more authentic. There’s a reason that anxiety, depression and suicide rates have increased in the recent past. Is it multi-factorial? Probably. But I wonder what these rates would be if we studied people who didn’t use social media.. Something needs to give to make the whole experience much healthier. If on a small scale, that involves me going around telling people that you can’t get away with being an asshole, then so be it.
And remember, numbers are just numbers… they CANNOT validate your worth. Measure your worth by the difference you can make. By how you make the people around you feel, and by how you make yourself feel.
PS – Instagram since y’all are big in to making changes, I think you should have an option to disable the visibility of the number of followers… #justsaying.