So for the most part, I’m posting these a day late because I write them late at night, so I publish and backdate them the next day. This blog, however, is an exception.
I’m sure you’ve probably heard about Essena O’Neil the Australian model who quit social media, and posted a video saying that everyone else should too. She had a lucrative Instagram account, YouTube account and Tumblr – but felt her life had become measured by the number of followers and engagement she had on her posts. And that she wasn’t being herself.
So she ‘quit’ social media. By posting a video ON social media.
And sure, she pointed out how superficial it can be – if you’re so caught up in followers and presenting a perfect image. But that isn’t what it is. Not really.
It’s easy to say people should unplug from social media and stick with real world connections. But the truth is, social media can be amazing. I’ve made friends all around the world, and can keep in touch with them. I can have deep conversations about media in one breath, and make jokes about typos in the next. I can share the good moments, and get support when times are tough.
Does it happen- people getting in over their head? Young House Love was a popular DIY blog, and the couple behind it quit because their lives had become too wrapped around the blog. They mentioned the pressure they felt to capture the perfect images to put on the site and their social media channels. They say they’re much happier now.
It’s true that it’s easy to get caught up in promoting an image of perfection, or focus on the number of likes or followers you have.
But that isn’t a reflection on social media itself, that’s a problem with yourself. Take a step back, but don’t decide that everything is all on social media.
I promote sponsored materials now and then. I have two reviews in the works for this blog, and in the past I’ve tweeted stuff for pay. I also tell people when that happens, so that they know. I also mention that I only accept things that fit who I am.
Will you see me going on and on about diet pills or waist trainers? No. I don’t believe in those things. Did I accept an ongoing serial to review? Hell yes. It was something I wanted to read anyways. Have I reviewed a sex toy? Yes. And no regrets there, even if it’s what all distant relatives mentioned about my blog for awhile. (It wasn’t remotely a graphic review)
Why is that? Because when I first decided to start trying to make money doing this (and no, I don’t make much), I decided that I had a couple rules. I was going to be upfront, and I wasn’t going to plug any product I wouldn’t promote even without being paid (or getting the product for free). So when I tried to use Sponsored Tweets (a site to help social media users get sponsored tweet options), I ended up closing out my account because most of the time it was for brands I just wouldn’t promote or use.
I do think that kids are the group we need to make understand that not everything you see on social media (especially from celebrities) are real, and that internet popularity doesn’t equal happiness. The one lesson I want to instill in the Kidlets is that popularity anywhere doesn’t matter if they aren’t being themselves.
And that’s all I strive to be online. Me.
I might edit out some of the really bad and mopey bits – rather than remind people every day that I’m exhausted and frustrated. But I won’t ever lie and make my life seem better than it is.
But onto the interesting part of all of this. I’m by no means a cynic, but there were a couple things about Essena’s video that bothered me. Mostly that she was using her video to promote her new venture and asked for people to support her monetarily. Also, she claimed she was quitting social media – but she’s still been posting videos. Just about her new site.
She could have said that she was starting from scratch. New account. New voice. New point of view. But she didn’t. She said she was quitting social media entirely.
So what are your thoughts?