School is session today here on Witt&Style, and the lesson: Social Studies 101. I’m not talking about the blend of history, geography and sociology, I’m talking about that necessary evil little friend of ours, Social Media.
I use that phrase “necessary evil” with the best intentions, because let’s face it, the chances you got to this page is because I’ve shared it on a social media platform are extremely high. I think that I can speak for most of us when I say social media has been both a blessing and a curse since it’s entered our lives.
For me, I’m starting to build a career out off primarily social media work, and that’s largely because for the most part, I love its power to remain personal and creative at its core. Instagram will always be an evolving canvas that I can curate while interacting with new friends and followers on a daily basis. But what about when I’m not “working” with social media? Sometimes, it can feel like it’s working against me.
What do I mean by that? To put it frankly, at times social media makes me feel straight up insecure. Words like lonely, ugly, fat, failure, not good enough, and unworthy all come to mind. I know that sounds harsh but the first step in addressing a monster is to call it right out into the open. But how did it get that way?
While watching the world present its “best self”, it’s incredibly difficult to not feel like what you’ve got going on just simply isn’t enough. By associating a number of followers or likes as a measurement of validation is only making the problem worse. I’ll admit that I too can get wrapped up in the “game of likes” as I say, and it’s because validation from others and strangers is often the best medicine for a perfectionist like me.
If I’ve learned anything from working in social media, I’ve realized that the best way to handle all of those feelings is to remember one simple fact, IT’S JUST INSTAGRAM! As much as it may seem all consuming, it’s only a small part of my life. My friend and I always joke that Instagram could be gone tomorrow; every selfie, brunch photo and moment you’ve captured and all those likes that you’ve bent over backwards to get could vanish, and then what? Life goes on!
It’s just a photo, it’s just another male model with <7% body fat (which is fantastic for them, I just like french fries too much), and it’s just someone else’s experience, so what? I’m not any less of a person because I don’t have the same things someone on my Instagram feed has. Going out and making my own experiences, and sharing them, (or not) is completely my choice. Knowing this and remembering all the reasons why I love it are why I stick around. It’s so important to be self aware with social media, because I can control what I’m looking at and how I react.
I’m also going to mention one fact to keep in mind with social media, Instagram in particular. The next time you’re feeling down because of likes and followers, know that a lot of it is out of your control. The algorithm keeps changing, making it harder to get as many eyeballs on your content than ever before. As someone who has worked with influencers both big and small through work, a lot of people purchase followers. You’re not any less of a creator or user than they are because they have the “swipe up” feature. Looks and numbers can be deceiving.
Because I work in the industry and also maintain my personal accounts, it can be A LOT, so making sure I balance screen time with real time is something I’m working on this year, and if you’re in a similar boat, I’d advise the same. Writing this blog and tapping into other creative avenues has helped me realize that those insecurities from social media are fast and fleeting. Literally, they’re as fast as it takes me two swipe down to the next photo on my feed. 😉 So let’s remember that social media is a tool, an outlet and doesn’t define ourselves or our worth. Instagram shouldn’t scare us from living our own lives out of fear that we’re not good enough, because we are!
Thanks for reading,