This post has grown out of a few things I’ve been finding frustrating with the realm of social media in 2018. It’s full of cancel culture, algorithm changes and constant comparisons.
A friend of mine recently deleted all her social media profiles and I was inspired by her new sense of liberation. Whilst I won’t be deleting mine anytime soon (blogger life sorry), I do want to delete mine one day and live a life of solitude, much like this:
Sometimes I have a desire to escape to a small community in the Nepalese mountain range and boil my existence down to ringing a bell 🔔
— Char (@char_x0) March 5, 2017
Social media can be great if you use it in a way that works for you whether that’s as a platform to help people, network, be inspired or simply to look at memes. But there is a definite dark side to it. This all ties in with our mental health.
Excuse the word of the year, but social media really can be ‘toxic’, but only if you allow it. The key is you and you alone.
There is no one prodding and poking you to have a social media profile or any sort of online platform. It can be empowering to have a detox and get back to a state of mind that doesn’t need to be documented online. Not to say that documenting things online is necessarily a bad thing but it does make me wonder if we’re going too far?
I’ve read stories of influencers becoming bankrupt to appease to their audience and others where people are setting up Go Fund Me pages to get them out of debt when they have back catalogue of designer handbags. Something really doesn’t add up. There is no shame in having nice things and no shame in living a life of minimalism but somewhere along the way the medium has ruined it all.
You don’t need to have it all and if you do, don’t ruin your life (or finances) trying to.
You might see a photo of your favourite travel influencer flying first class and thinking ‘I want that life’ but what you might not see is all the hours they’ve spent working hard to pay for that flight. Or the first airline collaboration they’ve secured. Someone else might see the same image and it might give them the inspiration to do better. The truth is, we never know what’s going on behind an image and that’s what we need to remember. These are just images. A snapshot in someone’s day, week or year. Their intentions might be pure or it might be to brag but we all need to remember it’s okay to feel a certain way about something you see online. We’re not robots (even though some influencers might use them *shade thrown*) but question where those feelings are coming from and what they mean.
Everyone deals with their mental health in a different way (also known as self-care) and if something makes you question your value as a human-being you have to question why its in front of your eyes.
It can make you self-conscious, feel as though you must have certain things in order to pertain to a perceived lifestyle and it can frankly make you question your self-worth.
Change the way you consume social media and change the way you think.
These are all tools available to limit what you consume and how you consume it. Sick of seeing someone’s holiday photos but don’t want to unfollow them, use the ‘mute’ button. Keep stalking your ex at 2am? Get to a point where you say to yourself, this is doing me no good and use the block button. You don’t have to have these things in front of you if you don’t want them. It’s where overthinking, anxiety and comparison all holds hands and can let horrible thoughts creep into your brain and take control.
The whole follow/unfollow game in interesting from the stance of:
But despite these tactics, the follow and unfollow buttons exist for a reason. You don’t owe anyone anything when it comes to your mental health and your social media profile.
The fake engagement with robotic comments with a random emoji or phrase that has nothing to do with the image you’ve posted makes me wonder why we are calling it ’social media’ anymore. I’m all for you trying to beat this ‘algorithm’ but nothing beats building your platform organically and starting relationships which come with being social.
I will always wonder why some complain about lack of engagement and yet they don’t make an effort to interact with their audience. Surely it goes both ways? Yes it may be overwhelming when you might have 290384490349 comments under one photo, but it will give you a stronger connection with the other person behind that screen. And yes, we’re all people and whilst we may not crave attention 24/7, someone may find solace in leaving a comment or tweet under someone they admire’s profile. You never know what someone is going through.
Just don’t comment a watermelon emoji underneath one of my photos and we’ll get on just fine.
The whole ‘cancel culture’ is DUMB and I wonder why people start hashtags of ‘#insertnameiscancelledparty’, what does it do? The moments people spend doing things like this could be used constructively to be like ‘hey so and so f*cked up’, here is an article on how we can heal, learn from it and move on. We all make mistakes, and whilst some things cannot be forgiven, they can be forgotten and learnt from.
Every action has a reaction. Sometimes the reaction is no reaction other times it loud and abrasive.
No you don’t need to respond to emails, tweets or comments 24/7. No you don’t have to be accessible 24/7. Take time out and respond to things in your own time.
Switching off is important. Outside the social media sphere, no one cares.
So there we have it, social media is a mess, a source of inspiration and another form of expression. Just think about how you consume it.