For someone who currently and plans to *hopefully* for a long time base their career off of online content and social media, I. Hate. It.
A DARLING magazine article I was reading the other day described how we go about using social media every day. She started to discuss how she felt how Facebook, or any other social media platform per say, is like a grocery store:
“You might see a friend or neighbor there and catch up on how your mom is doing, where their kid has moved, or what random groceries they’re buying because of yet another 30-second recipe video. Much like a grocery store, social media has a plethora of things in stock, but there’s also plenty you can’t expect to find, like restaurant-quality French toast. And if you run over there when you’re really hungry, well, it’s all downhill from here.”
The last sentence hit me, hard. Don’t get me wrong: I love Instagram. I live for the aesthetically pleasing and seasonally colorful coordinating pictures on the feeds of all the other bloggers I follow, I adore getting updates from my friends at other schools, and I don’t mind seeing my sweet Jayhawks on my feed when I pass by @kuhoops every once and awhile as well. But my enjoyment of all this can go from 100-0 really quick by seeing one thing I didn’t want to. Whether it be something I wasn’t invited to, an outfit that looks much better on someone else than I imagine it would on myself, or even dumb little things that people mindlessly post can and sometimes do put me into the worst of moods. It’s not something I’m proud of, or am glad that happens, or even know WHY it happens, but it does, and I know I’m not alone. It’s not when I am mindlessly scrolling before class starts or while waiting in the Starbucks line that my ego is more vulnerable to everything I see on my screen. It’s when I start doubting myself, my self-worth, my value in other people’s lives, etc…that my brain starts to almost SEARCH for online reasonings to validate all these bad feelings. I feel like I’ve been distant with someone lately? Oh, the picture with that other friend they posted MUST mean they hate me now and have a new best friend. Another perfect blogger picture? Oh she’s my age too? I am failing and should give up now because I’m not at that level yet. Another picture of my younger sister wearing MY clothes…yeah no that’s actually pretty normal. (hehe kidding…kinda…either way I had to give a little sister shoutout, she’s 16 today! woo!!)
But really, your noggin will search for bad when it’s hungry. Pay attention to that. I debated giving up social media altogether for about .5 seconds until I realized I get paid to post on one Instagram account and get a grade in art class for posting on another…so that was hopeless. Plus, there are the TRILLIONS of positive aspects of online and social media as well. I wouldn’t be such a Public Relations and Marketing nerd if I didn’t believe in the positive power of social media as well as all of the networking and opportunities it can bring about! Basically, in today’s society, I’d be putting myself at a disadvantage for not using social media. However, I knew I had to do something about how it made me feel.
A week ago I was following over 1500 people on Instagram, and probably seeing 20% of that content. (yeah, i’m yet another blogger angsty about the janky Insta algorithm, what’s new.) It hit me one night when I was genuinely getting FRUSTRATED that I hadn’t been on social media all day and it was taking me forever to get through my entire feed…talk about a first world problem right there. I was getting real-life anxiety symptoms over not being able to see everyone’s pictures and “keep up” if you will. It was one of those things where I was stressing out and getting upset and didn’t even truly know why.
Then and there is when I started unfollowing people. I was scrolling and realized that some of the people I followed were people I have never even spoken to in real life, or wouldn’t even choose to if I got the chance. People I hadn’t seen in years, friends of friends of friends, and far…FAR…too many food accounts. (honestly, I didn’t unfollow too many of those actually…) There was a list: if they didn’t encourage me, inspire me, or keep me informed, the account had to go. At one point I stopped feeling guilty for any of it, and I think that was where my, and many other’s, problems usually begin: thinking that we are required or obligated to follow or interact with people in our lives. If seeing it doesn’t bring you joy, and you have a chance YOURSELF to change that, why don’t you. Unfollow accounts that stress you out, people that make you feel anxious or upset, or anything that doesn’t encourage you to be the best version of yourself.
That all being said, make sure YOUR account is also one you’d want people to be following. Use social media as a platform to inspire others and yourself. Showcase things you’re proud of, things that make you you, and things that you love. It’s your little grid of squares girl, use em wisely.
The DARLING article ended with this and I couldn’t leave it out:
“Instead, let’s invest more into the strength of people uniquely placed in our spheres, rather than working so hard to articulate who we ‘are’ on the internet, cowering under the weight of the world listening.”
&&&&& with all that I am done for this post friends. As always thanks for reading these wordy rants and here’s to hoping they made you feel something. Feelings are good, especially on rainy Mondays. Until next time, xoxo, Ally