I feel like everyone and their mother has wrote about this in some way, shape or form, but I've been thinking a lot about my relationship with social media (and all forms of it) recently so thought I'd throw in my two cents on the subject.
There's definitely two sides to my view on social media. On one hand, I adore it and use it for a huge range of tasks from work to keeping up with friends to feeling inspired. And on the other hand, it honestly saps the life out of me, makes me feel terrible and gives me a varying array of complexes I didn't even know I had until I unlocked my phone and signed in.
Starting with the positive, I do honestly love some aspects of social media - Twitter and Instagram especially*. From a work point of view, it allows me to offer social media management as a freelance service which ultimately puts money in my bank and food on my table. It allows me to promote my blog, gain extra reach for brands that blogs previously didn't have (especially on Instagram) and I've worked with more companies because of it which has been an amazing experience and one I treasure quite a lot.
It also connects me with some wonderfully inspiring people. I get to read posts that are so beautifully written that I'm borderline mad - but I can't be, because they're too amazing - and I just absorb word after word, which I may not have seen if someone hadn't tweeted the link. If I'm stuck on what to wear for the day, I can scroll through my Instagram and there's pages of wonderfully dressed gals that I can take inspiration from and create outfits that I adore, most of which become repeated looks in my wardrobe.
The photos are always something I look for the most, too. I still consider myself to be a novice when it comes to photography, so seeing what can be achieved with a little ol' camera is very inspirational. Even the smallest detail in a photo can give me so many ideas!
There are so many amazing girls that I follow who are tackling important issues that effect us as a society today. The ones that put a positive spin on terrible things or put their foot down and say enough is enough. There's girls who help others out all of the time and I just really love seeing it. You don't have to like everyone and of course some people are still toxic arseholes, but seeing someone get such a uplifting response to something they've written (by strangers, really) is something I always look out for on my feed.
I feel like because we have more of an audience - whether you're a blogger or not - we push ourselves to do a little better than we previously would have, too. I've seen people's Instagram accounts go from every day snaps using one of their dreaded filters (can you remember them, before the edit buttons were introduced?) to stunning feeds filled with jaw-dropping pics or those every day snaps but just beautifully edited and composed. On Twitter, I see amazing discussions about race, sexuality, politics and daily topics which are informative and inspiring. I feel like, due to the audience previously mentioned, people are more (well, some people, POTUS excluded) are more conscientious about what they post. I, for one, always ask myself 'do I need to say this?' when I'm contemplating saying something bitchy and 9/10 I don't bother (of course some still get out, but what can I do, gurl needs to say stuff every once in a while). Maybe it's because I cut a lot of drama out of my feeds and have zero patience for the people who cause it, but I'm quite content reading the posts and opinions of the people I follow. But of course, there's a limit...
*Let's not talk about Facebook, that's still trash.
Naturally social media has its downside. I wouldn't say I'm a particularly jealous person, as I genuinely do not care enough to be jealous (or if I want something that someone has, I'll just go and get it myself) but often - especially Instagram - can bring out such a bitchy side of me that I don't like or appreciate.
I don't always mean it in a way where I bitch about others - that rarely happens, really - but I start to bitch at myeslf. Why don't you exercise more, why didn't you save more when you were younger, why haven't you worked harder, why don't you have that bag, why aren't you currently kicking it in the Carribean (10 points if you know where that line is from), why can't you take photos like her and why don't your jeans fit you that well? I feel like I should be a tanned, toned, beautiful, constantly-on-a-beach white girl but instead I'm just this average gal from Newcastle who needs a tan but can't be arsed to put one on, and sits on the sofa for 80% of her day. Deep down I know this is fine - well, I should probably move more for my own health - but sometimes I have to catch myself and remind myself that I'm ok before I beat myself up too much.
One thing I will say about Twitter is that things can be blown out of proportion in a few simple retweets and it's often tedious to see. One innocent question to someone with a large following can be followed by a completely witch hunt by their readers, and I think this is completely wrong. If you're not in the right frame of mind to scroll past the negativity, Twitter can become a very draining place. I often refer to it as the 'misery machine' because the world is a very sad place at times and Twitter seems to collect all of it into a million opinions and then retweet it over and over again, usually until you have to log out because you can't stand it anymore. I had to take a few days out near the Brexit result because I honestly couldn't deal with it. Big events can spur on a lot of hatred and intolerance, allowing disgraceful opinions to have a platform and it's exhausting to read it all day.
Social media can bring the worst out in other people, I believe, as it creates a level of anonymity for some that allows them to spill bile through their keyboards without any consideration for who is on the receiving end. It can result in targeted bullying which began as a few digs on a gossip site, and it nearly always ends up in them crying bully when they get found out or told what they're saying isn't right. It's childish and despite how many people I block or mute, little things always manage to creep through and I hate seeing people get put down for simply doing their job.
All in all, I do think the positives of social media far outweigh the negatives. If it wasn't for my social platforms, I wouldn't be able to afford my bills/our flat on my own and would have to rely on Phil more than I'd ever want to (even though we're a team, I still cannot stand asking him for money, I'm too much of an independent woman). Or I'd have to go back to working in an office which, while I loved certain people I worked with, I thought it was a rather toxic place as a working environment, so I'd like to avoid the 9-5 for now if I can.
Without Instagram or Twitter, I wouldn't have found new friends (hi Chloe!) or discovered girls I think so utterly amazing that I hang on to their every word. The connection element - especially when you work from home and are alone a lot of the time - is very important, so I appreciate the people I choose to follow for this reason.
I mean, once you filter out some accounts - you don't owe anyone anything, please unfollow anyone and everyone who makes you feel inadequate or sad. Life is too short to let a random person you don't really know ruin your day - and follow people who educate, uplift and inspire you on a daily basis, I feel like social media can be such a welcoming, helpful and informative place. It can be a place I love to spend time, that I enjoy scrolling through first thing on a morning and last thing at night, that I can refer to if I've found something funny and I want, in turn, to make someone else smile. It can be silly at times, super heartbreaking when it wants to be, but overall I do think I enjoy using my social platforms, if I only remember to take it with a pinch of salt.
What do you think?