Tonight's blog post is one that has been hanging around in my mind for weeks on end, it’s something that affects me daily and needs discussing. Once again, it’s social media. This time, I’m not talking about algorithm or followings, I’m getting right into the nitty-gritty and talking about why I hate social media. Yes, hate is a strong word for it, but it’s starting to become a serious hate-hate relationship with zero love involved. I mention social media often, but mostly how I personally use the tool and how I feel about certain changes and people within it. But today, I’m sharing five reasons as to why I’m really starting to dislike the whole damn thing…
1 - PUT DOWN YOUR MOBILE
My first reason is one that makes me feel forty years my senior, but it’s a big one for me… Mobile phones have become a huge essential to every single one of us. You probably found this post via Instagram and clicked through, and here you are now with your phone in hand scrolling down, reading my rambles. Your phone is constantly with you and you’d feel lost without it. Why? It’s (probably) not because of the fact no-one could contact you in case of an emergency, it’s mostly because you need to upload a photo to Instagram or video your evening for your pals to see… Right? We are all guilty of this, I’m talking about these points and admitting at the same time that I do it too, but I’m slowly realising how bad our habits are becoming.
I went for dinner a few nights back, and I often ask my boyfriend to not bring his phone to the dinner table, it’s a serious pet hate of mine. On the table next to us, the same rules weren’t applied. There sat two girls who spent the entire time with their phones in hand, texting, uploading to social media, filming and scrolling news feeds barely engaging in real life, more focused on the fake ones we supply to others online. There was a moment when one of the girls started discussing something more personal, she was almost talking at the other girl who didn’t look up from her screen once. Why go out and ‘socialize’ if you’re not even going to be ‘sociable’, is it to make sure you get content to show people you’re out and about, living the dream? Take one photo and put your phone away, it’s that simple. Forget about technology, engage in conversation and live your life without a mobile constantly strapped to your hand.
2 - THE PRESSURE TO SUCCEED
I’ve lived my life feeling like a lost cause, I’ve always felt like the one that never smashes goals or pursues dreams. Hell, I try, but I never quite hit the ball out of the park. Whether you want to be an ‘influencer’, a designer, photographer, business owner or even an activist, the pressure to succeed is too much. 95% of the people I follow on social media are people I don’t know, I follow them because I enjoy seeing what they do with their day-to-day, where they go and what they’re wearing. These people are big-time, they have succeeded and hit targets (followers) and as some might say - living their best lives. It’s my prerogative for following these people, but of course, it is more entertaining than seeing a photo of some girls baby who I went to school with when I was twelve… That’s the reason why a lot of us feel under immense pressure to try and be successful like so many of the big-timers we follow, we strive for their lifestyle and feel deflated when we never achieve it. Remember, people post for your pleasure, for you to think they have an extravagant lifestyle, but in reality, it’s not always the case. You are just as successful in your own way!
3 - FAKING IT TO MAKE IT
We all know there are a lot of fakers in the online community, it’s no secret. Fakers have been rumbled from time to time, but it’s not just those who fake followers that are abusing social media, I’m talking about those who are generally being fake. I’ll give you some examples, I have one friend who puts on a different accent to be more relatable to his Asian audience, I have another that changes the colour of her eyes, and just two minutes ago while writing this my friend told me he wants to pretend to smoke for a photograph (even though he hates smoking) because it looks ‘cool’.... It’s all fake. I really do try to stay as true to myself as I can when posting my life online, and sometimes you do become so detached from reality, that all you want to do is pretend. Pretend you bought that Zara dress when you actually returned it straight after shooting, that you really go to the gym every morning before work but you actually only went this one time and took photographic evidence. We are all guilty of it, because if we want an online presence these days then we have to cheat somehow. But isn’t that crazy?! Why aren’t we satisfied with the clothes we already have? Yeah, they are last season but who cares? The answer is everyone because the people who are being sent new season pieces and prancing around in their #gifted products are the only ones who get a chance. You have to be relatable and current, so you see it’s the pressure to succeed coming back to bite us on the ass once again…
4 - IT’S FULL TIME OR QUIT
If you aren’t going to post on social media all day every day, then you might as well just give up. I don’t want to talk about growth too much, but I will just say that being present on social media is a full-time job, and that’s one thing I can’t quite manage. Not because I don’t have the time (I really don’t) but because who the fuck wants to be online twenty-four hours a day? Not me. I do want to succeed and be creative, share my shoots and writings with people, but I don’t want to become a slave to it. This should be OK, you should be able to post whenever you like and not suffer the consequences. If you don’t upload for days, then bye-bye followers and anyone who cares., if you’re not active then why would people be interested? It’s such a shame, because I do like my space and to go online when I feel ready, but going offline screws up any interaction I once had. I already have one full-time job, I really don’t need another.
5 - SUCKING THE FUN
This brings me swiftly onto my last point, and probably the main one for me. I want to say a huge thank you to social media for sucking the fun out of everything. I might be coming across as a person who is against Instagram and Twitter, but I can assure you I’m not. I’m simply expressing my feelings and getting things off of my chest. It’s probably hypercritical to still be using these apps, but how can I share my latest readings and shoots with you? It’s so hard, it’s swings and roundabouts. We might hate Instagram, but as bloggers, we need it to keep on being these bloggers, it’s a platform that does help us to communicate, reach brands and be the creatives that we are. But, it is slowly having the fun sucked right out of it. I wish there was a way for me to share my new content with you, without having to put a photo on Instagram only to get let down when it reaches the bare minimum. Wheres the joy in that?
More often than not someone has a negative to say about the online community, it’s not like it used to be. Instagram used to be so pure, sharing your outfit was simple and there were no strings attached, people uploaded images of their terribly presented meals and no one cared, it was a simpler time and one I long for. If we didn’t have numbers next to our names or hearts under our pictures, it would be a far more enjoyable space. We would instantly feel the pressure wear off and start to have fun again. I hear it’s a possibility of this becoming a reality, and I hope it does. Being given a number and a status symbol is far too Black Mirror for me, I want to go back to the old ways of social media and have it be a place to relax and go to get out of my own head, not make it ten times worse.
For those of us who blog or use social media for our creative needs, this might be a tough nut to swallow - I’ve been trying to swallow it for weeks. I want to enjoy it, use it to my advantage and grow as a person with a strong community, but that just isn’t happening anymore. It’s often toxic and is something we need to filter out slowly and not become so dependent on. I used to love logging in, sharing a photo I worked hard on and seeing where it takes me. Now, it takes me on a quick trip to Anxiety Street! It needs to change and so do we, our habits are bad and we are letting it rule our world.
I’m proud of everything I have achieved, for those I have met, worked with and who I have become. But it’s time I took a step back and remembered it’s not the end of the world. Life still goes on if I miss a day, if I forget to snap an outfit pic or if I don’t get over 4k. I’ve decided to not take it as seriously if I post I post and if I don’t, who cares? I refuse to be someone who needs my phone to survive. Yes, I am still Instagramming, Tweeting and all the rest of it, but only when I want to. It’s not my current job, and even if it was I’d be treating it the exact same way. I leave work at 6pm during the week and I instantly shut off when I leave the doors, I don’t let it rule my world - so why should social media? Whether you make a living from it or not, remember that there is more to life than the screen. So, before I log off I wanted to share a few easy things you can do to help you log off…
LIMIT YOURSELF - Dedicate certain times of the day to social media, if you catch yourself scrolling endlessly for no reason then stop. If you limit your usage then those times of the day you do allow yourself to log on will be far more enjoyable.
BE IN THE NOW - Remember, it doesn’t really matter if you didn’t capture what you did last night on camera, be present and live in the now.
LEAVE YOUR PHONE AT HOME - You don’t need to take your phone everywhere with you, either leave it at home or make a conscious effort to keep it firmly out of eyeshot. Forgetting about it just for while will do you the world of good.
HAVE ‘YOU’ TIME - No late night scrolling while sofa surfing. Put your phone down and focus on yourself. Having ‘you’ time with nothing but your own thoughts is so healthy. Pick up a book, listen to some music or even watch a film instead.
IF IT’S NOT FULFILLING YOU, STOP - Are you getting a thrill from it? If the answers no then it’s time to disconnect. Don’t waste any more time doing something that doesn’t excite you! Log off!