Monday, April 18, 2016

The power of social media.

When I first started blogging it was so great. It seemed that everyone was doing it for themselves and not for the audience that happened upon their blog. I use to babble here and there and the pictures I posted were such poor quality that I laugh about how bad it was. Actually it is embarrassing, don't look at them. I mean it! ;)

I wasn't here to impress anyone but share my everyday life. I wanted to share my real thoughts. My real opinions. My mediocre-ness (not a real word? then I apologize). It was easy because no one was reading and I was literally blogging for myself.

In fact, I didn't even tell my sisters that I was blogging and then somehow my sister Emma found out (I still don't know how!) and I remember thinking, "Man, now I can't say anything I want". But what happened was that my sister actually told me that she learned a lot about me from reading my blog. Things she had never known. And when she told me that I stayed true to what I blogged about because even if we had a difference of opinion, it was still my opinion. I love nothing more than a debate but am usually the first person to admit that I'm wrong, when I'm wrong. But luckily, I still had no one to impress. And then when I picked up readers (loyal readers at that) along the way it made it a lot more fun because soon I was able to peek into other people's lives. I was able to read their thoughts, get their opinions and become friends with people I never would have met had it not been for blogging.

And then the term "blog famous" came about and it was like, "Woah!" I've been blogging for this many years and I'm not blog famous and you've been blogging for less than 6 months and you're famous!" Then I began to ask myself, do I want to be blog famous? And it's a struggle to decide whether you should make your blog one that makes you money or just sit in your corner and continue to babble about things the masses don't really care about. And then when the bloggers you love decide that they will like to make money off of their blogs, you begin to question their intentions. You begin to wonder, wait, is this person blogging to become "famous", to become "rich"? Do they really like what they're trying to sell me or are they just telling me they like it because they're being paid to say so. This blogging thing that we never questioned the integrity of an individual became far too easy to question.

And the "real" bloggers. The ones that actually had something worthwhile to share and nothing to sell began to stop blogging because their imperfect lives was not interesting enough. It was nothing to aspire to. Um, do you see those clothes in the background? She couldn't even be bothered to pick them up before taking the pictures, just awful! Why should I read a blog about a person who shops at Walmart if I could read the blog of someone who shops at Chanel. What do I want to aspire to?

I think we all know the answer. Shopping at Walmart is not inspiring but shopping at Chanel is. But the true secret, one that many fail to see, is that money will never buy style. Growing up, my dad would give us each $100 for school shopping and you best believe that we looked fly. When you know how to put an outfit together, you know how to put an outfit together. No amount of money can change that.

I've given myself an assignment because I've become aware that social media has made me look for perfection. If I look at a picture and I see that someone's hair is out of place, instead of automatically thinking, I can't believe she would post a picture of her hair looking like that, I'm going to stop myself and think. Does this happen in real life? Does wind sometimes blow hair? Does bad hair days happen? And if the answer is yes, I will look at the picture and appreciate the person who posted the picture, thank you for sharing a picture that is not posed and perfect. You'll be surprised how often you'll catch yourself wanting perfection too. I'm a culprit too but it's because we've been brainwashed to believe that "perfection" is attainable.

Don't get me wrong, I'm extremely impressed with people that have made their blogs their full-time job. And there are many things that I never would have known about had I not learned about it from a blog. Blogging has changed many people's lives. Many have found something that they love and now are making money off of it. That's amazing! Anyone who can make money doing what they love deserves a pat on their back because it is becoming harder and harder to do. A lot of it stemming from money. If what you love to do, won't support your living needs, it makes it much easier to turn your back on what you love.

It took me looking at who I am and really remembering why I started blogging in the first place. Because blogging began to lose its appeal as it became harder to feel that I had anything to say, anything to share that others did not already know. I began to look at my first posts and there it was. My answer. I started blogging because I wanted to document my new life with my husband. I wanted to be able to go back years from now and read my thoughts and see how I had changed over the years. I was excited for my new journey with Sean. I didn't want to read posts about what I was selling other people to buy. Those were not my intentions. And I am aware that intentions change but for me it had not. It was why I struggled with abandoning my blog altogether. But I realized that for me, even if blogging was no longer the thing or if I lost every single reader, I would still continue to blog.

The thing was that I didn't fault others who had found their dream jobs as long as they also stayed true to themselves. It is so easy to see the word sell-out when people are describing bloggers. Yes, I understand it is difficult to see that your favorite blogger who use to talk solely about organization of her home is now telling you how to put on outfits. We didn't even know you liked fashion! I'm aware that I'm a blogger, many of you are bloggers and you're surely not sell-outs. To put me in that box with other bloggers who decided to do themselves kinda irks me. But I digress...

And then Instagram came along. Awesome, fun Instagram! But do you remember when we first started? All the awful borders and all those crazy filters?! Well that was what was fun about Instagram. Everything looked so out of whack. Nothing was perfect. We did our best to make great pictures look absolutely awful. And I loved it. But then too quickly bloggers began blogging about how to Instagram. Do this to make your picture perfect. Do this to appeal to the masses because if not why would anyone want to follow your Instagram. Forget that you have a great personality, no one can see that in your pictures! And then soon after Instagram became this place that you could make money, so goodbye went those borders and capuche went the filters. Instead of taking pictures with our phones which was the whole purpose of Instagram in the first place, we began to upload DSLR pictures into our feeds. Now don't get me wrong, I've done this a few times but soon it became the only way pictures were uploaded. Instagram soon became like blogging, there was no escaping it. You now could no longer post an imperfect picture, anywhere.

We've become so consumed with sharing this beautiful part of our lives (which many times IS true) but when your pictures look like you're living in a magazine what does that translate? How can anyone relate to you? I don't need you to share every horrible thing that has happened in your life because really it doesn't feel good when all you know is the bad in someone's life. That makes you feel pretty awful and truthfully no one has time to feel bad all the time. But what about sprinkling a little reality here and there. How about sharing that life is great but sometimes, just sometimes, it could also be shitty. Show us that yesterday I did get knocked down a few pegs but today I'm smiling and enjoying the life I've been blessed with.

It has become so much easier for us to compare our lives with others because of social media. Unfortunately, not everyone is wise enough to realize that life isn't always like that. Adults and teenagers alike. When you catch yourself saying, why can't I have that life, why can't I be like that, why can't I look like that, you've already fallen for the trap. And it isn't even that person's fault, it is yours. When great people begin to question what they are doing wrong when in fact they are not doing anything wrong, we've failed.

I sound preachy. I know I do. But I can't stop now, sorry.

You might look at my blog and see pretty pictures. I can explain that I love photography (which I do) and that I want to get a certain moment frozen in time (which I do). This means that I did not go out of my way to add this and that to make the picture standout. It was a real moment that I captured and snapped because to me it was beautiful; which is often why we take pictures in the first place. Something stands out to us which prompt us take the picture.

Now-a-days people are creating the moment to take a picture of. Why?

If we would spend less time trying to make our lives appear perfect and more time just living great, meaningful lives I really think we will all be the more better. There is a saying I love that I think needs repeating.

"If we saw inner beauty as the exterior, things would be ridiculously simple."

Please let me know your thoughts on this and what you think we can all do to combat it. If you do not think there's a problem, please feel free to tell me why. How has the "perfectness" of social media affected you? And if I've ever, ever made you think that my life is perfect and yours is not, please forgive me, because guess what? It most certainly is not.


Samara Taylor said...

Great post! Blogging and Instagram has DEFINITELY changed. It's like either get on this train to perfection or get lost with no followers, lol. I've definitely improved the quality of my content on both my blog and social media and I think it's for the better. I think about the type of experience I want my readers to have when they come to my site. Probably because I know what I would like to see. I do miss the days though when blogging was something more exclusive. It's so mainstream now and it can be hard to be a voice in a huge crowd.


Highly Favored said...

Hmmm this is a very powerful and truthful post Faith. I truly do miss the authentic bloggers from 5-6 years ago, just sharing everyday life or thoughts of inspiration; also that community feeling from blogging almost doesn't exist any more, its quite different.

The "famous" bloggers hardly connect with their readers, so there seems to be a one sided "relationship". Any way, I blog because it is a great way to release my thoughts and it's been quite therapeutic for me. I'm satisfied with the few "followers" that maintain a relationship with my blog.

Cece said...

"And the "real" bloggers. The ones that actually had something worthwhile to share and nothing to sell began to stop blogging because their imperfect lives was not interesting enough." This quote stood out for me and it is the reason I question my desire to continue blogging. I didn't want to do and/or couldn't do what the big blogs were doing so what I was doing felt worthless. It felt like selling out to me, and some big bloggers did that all the way to the bank. Good for them, but I don't think it would ever work out for me. It was like sink or swim and I sunk! I just try to tune it out. The changes in blogging and the introduction of social media have definitely had an impact on my passion for blogging, but I'm not ready to give it up yet, because I know it's something that I love to do, even if I don't always love to do it.

Nylse Esahc said...

I'd like to think I'm a real blogger - but who knows what people like to read anymore. I must say that I've pondered a lot of the things you mentioned and I've decided that I will keep on writing regardless of I'm a blog star or not. I do not like that Social Media seems to be the only vehicle for growth in the blog world, pimping and reviewing things that you don't use or that don't fit into what you write about.

But I know why I write, so I will continue to do so even though I may become discouraged at times.

Thanks for sharing.

Pearl said...

This was an honest and truthful post Faith. It is true that blogging is no longer what it used to be anymore. I tend to lean more towards the 'real'bloggers who share about their day to day lives with all its imperfections. I love the realness. I have been sad a number of times to see some interesting bloggers giving up blogging- maybe they felt what they were writing wasnt interesting anyone.

Pegster said...

Faith, this post is everything.

I love that people are able to make money through blogging and instagram and all the opportunities that come with it. I dislike that everything is so fake and staged all the time. I love a little bit of fake and staged, heck I do that too but a constant, non-stop faking and staging has to be exhausting.

Also, I like that I only follow a few blogs and really get into them. How can you connect with anyone when you have thousands and thousands of followers. It's insane.

I blog because I love it and I can careless if I make money through that medium but I get that some people need to and are really good at it. To each their own I guess.

Laura Darling said...

I don't know if the perfectness has "affected" me necessarily, but I definitely notice it. On blogs and instagram, I like to see people's real lives. The tough times and happy times and what they made for dinner. What I don't want to see is some curated photo of nail polish, a succulent, and some gold paper clips all arranged on a white poster board! I try to keep things real on my blog and Instagram and if I ever catch myself "creating a moment" just for social media, I really have to put myself in check. Not everything is perfect all the time but that's what makes like interesting!!

Maureen S. said...

This is such an interesting topic. I feel like you could make it into a college course and run with it on different levels. I stopped using Facebook about 2-3 years ago because it was just too much for me. When I started spending so much time looking at other people's lives, the fun they had, the traveling, the exciting life changes that were not happening for me, it dawned on me that this is not what I want to waste my time on. I was not cultivating or sustaining real friendships, I was just peeking in. I think this is the same reason I cannot pull myself into having an Instagram account. As for blogs, I do notice that I disassociate from the ones that constantly promote a product/ service. It makes me sad when a blogger I've followed because I'm interested in their real life experience, changes their content to neatly wrap up their "real" life experience to promote a product. I thought maybe it's just me - maybe I'm just too old fashioned and looking for realness, that all the "look at me being awesome" images and such just doesn't entice me. It just seems like empty, meaningless vanity and I start to wonder if they really are happy, fulfilled people. Maybe I'm being a little too deep and melodramatic and Ecclesiastical(is that a word? lol).

Tomes Edition said...

I think people only show the "perfect" side of their lives because they are afraid of showing their raw lives because people hide behind social media to be mean and cruel to others. Don't get me wrong, some people just need to have more confidence in them selves. I do agree that tons of blogs share more sponsored post than what they used too. I can't knock anyones hustle because if you love it and it works for you , do it.

The Mrs. said...

Great post.. Great questions and thoughts.
Side note- it's seiously been forever since I've updated my blog or checked in on my bloggy friends so.... I just stalked your last 746785 posts.

Desiree Macke said...

Yes. Yes. Yes. Some of my favorite bloggers have chosen to go more the route of sponsored posts. And while that's great for them (and their bank account), it really stinks to lose that real life stuff that drew me in to begin with. And Instagram. Those filters and borders! Ha! I now have blogging friends who literally stress about how pretty and perfect their photos are. I just can't with all that.

Law_Fal said...

So much knowledge dropped! Social media dos steal the genuineness out of a lot of things. I hate that the thirst for perfection was created to such dangerous levels as comparison came into existence on a much larger scale due to social media.

Joy B. E. said...

Oh gosh! This rings so true! I was going to do a similar blog post last week about this but got too busy and didn't finish it. I've seen so many posts on Instagram especially about people's beautiful lives. And of course, that leads to "social media envy". I often tell my hubby that it is human nature to want to show off our best sides and social media allows that. The problem is when we let that side fool us into thinking that's how things are 100% of the time.

Truth be told, I am also losing motivation for blogging so I'm not sure of how long I'll continue doing it.

Emily Jane said...

I've caught myself creating a moment to take pictures of Dominic before! I was also frustrated, because the picture wasn't coming out how i wanted- because you know my kid wanted to LIVE not pose for mommy. My best pictures of him are when they are authentic and we are already out doing things.

Perfectionism is exhausting, and while i can appreciate good aesthetic, it's sorta whatever. I forget I liked a photo 2 seconds after i roll past it- im sure most people are the same way. It really is a lot of effort for zero reason.