We live in times where being connected and having a presence in social media is important. Our social profiles have become an extension of “who we are,” in fact, today is common that certain companies ask for your social media profiles when you are applying for a job, reason why we try to always present the best version of ourselves, but the reality is that although platforms like Instagram, Facebook, and Snapchat are great, with them also comes a great feeling of pressure.
How many times have you hesitated before posting something in a social network just because you were a little scared by what people might say? Or how many times have you seen another person’s profile and thought “Oh, I want her/ him life”? We all have been there at least once.
Instagram has created a magic bubble where everyone has the perfect life but sometimes seeing so much perfection can be overwhelming. As a content writer and social media manager I understand the importance of the numbers, the views, and the importance of capturing a perfect photo in order to increase your social media presence, but something that many people seems to underestimate is the fact that the pressure is real.
Adam Alter, New York University professor and author of “Irresistible: The Rise of Addictive Technology and the Business of Keeping Us Hooked,” argues that “when someone likes an Instagram post, or any content that you share, it’s a little bit like taking a drug.” And some other experts believe that “likes” have become a new source of dopamine.
But something our generation needs to understand is that there is much more beyond that moment that we are seeing on Instagram, and nobody has a perfect life. That’s why today I want to share with you guys my opinion and experience in this topic.
My Journey Through Social Media
It all started at the end of 2016, when someone from my inner circle suggested that I should create a blog and an Instagram account to show my skills as a writer, photographer, and social media management. But I wasn’t 100% sure at the beginning because I have always been the kind of person who prefer to have a low-key life, and when you are exposing yourself on social media somehow you are allowing people to talk about your life.
However, back then, I was trying to find my first job as a writer in English, and my reality was that, even though, I had experience working for different media I didn’t have published content in English, that’s why I decided to start this whole thing.
Months later, after many rejection emails, I got my first opportunity writing content for a foreigner company.
“The Alter Ego”
After being a blogger for a while, you will realize that many times you can not control the way other people see you or their opinions about you. People can often create characters in their minds of how you are just by a photo you shared or something you wrote, but that does not mean that they know you at all, and this was something that took me a while to process. At first I was surprised to hear comments like “you’re not as I picture you,” and I didn’t know how to react because I always try to present as who I’m.
As content creators when it comes about Instagram and photoshoots,we all enjoy to dress up and create unique looks for our feed that represent our essence and personality, but that doesn’t mean that we look like our Instagram pictures 24/7, we are humans and as any other person in this planet we have our days too.
If some stranger wants to create their own narrative about me in their heads, it’s really none of my business.” – Amy Schumer
Over time I understood that I can’t control what other people may think about me just because a picture or video, so I don’t worry about it anymore.
How to Know When You’re Oversharing
As content creators we have all struggled with the numbers, the scope and the type of content we want to present to the world. Originality is key, but sometimes it can be a difficult task because we have thousands of competitors in the market who are basically doing the same than us.
But we have all been at that point where we want to see our account grow, and there are issues that tend to have a good reach in the net, such as exercise, couple goals, travel, fashion, and humor, among others. However, something that I think is important in this scene is to create barriers or personal rules about how much we want to expose about our lives. These platforms are wonderful and were designed to connect with others, but it also has a dark side and deal with trolls is another reality that we must take into account.
We need to learn when is too much, but these rules can only be designated by asking ourselves: “Do I really want to share this with the rest of the world?” accompanied by a list of pros and cons. If I’m honest, when it comes about my personal life I prefer to keep certain things off social media, but I always try to connect with my followers through other ways, like my blog, answering DMs, and sharing my opinion about certain topics.
Keep It Real
As I explained before, platforms like Instagram have become a bubble of perpetual happiness, but the people behind these accounts are also human, and that implies that we are not perfect. Behind every beautiful photo there is a story probably less glamorous than we picture it, and something that I think we should remember is that nobody has the perfect life and we all have bad and good days, that’s part of the cycle of life.
But I also think that we should try to show our most human side to our followers from time to time. Remind them that we are not gods from the Olympus, and that we also deal with the same struggles that any other person in this world.
Nowadays more and more celebrities and influencers join this campaign in social media that shows their less glamorous side. One of them is Casey Goode, best known on Instagram as Officiallyquigley. Casey has created a movement where she seeks to explain to her followers what happens behind the scenes for each influencer, showing her most glamorous photos followed by photos that show a little about her daily reality outside the glamor of the cameras. And I think that this is a great idea because, first of all, we show a more human side that allows us to connect with our followers in a different way, and second one, we break the idealized paradigms of many people about what they see on Instagram.
Deal with Prejudgements
When you start in this niche, it’s normal to find prejudiced people who do not understand how this market works and who think that “anyone can do it,” when in reality is not as easy as it seems, it requires effort, dedication, study and time to understand how these platforms work until we achieve it. But, it’s definitely not a matter of snap your fingers and Eureka! 100k followers, it takes time and the people behind those accounts are working hard in order to create the best content that will make others smile, entertain, inspire or even learn something new.
In fact, be creative is probably the most difficult task for any content creator because out there the competition is arduous. But at the same time, I believe that healthy competition is necessary in our field because it pushes us to be better, to grow and think outside the box.
The pressure is real and probably those of us who are content creators expose ourselves to criticism on a daily basis, but there are many positive things in this business too, such as being able to connect with various creative minds around the world that nourish and inspire us, and be able to do what we love is one of the best feelings in this life.
So, here are some lessons I would like to share from my journey on social media. Thanks to these platforms I have been able to connect with people from other places. Thanks to these platforms I got my first job abroad, and I was able to explore my creativity under my own terms. I also have created a space where I have been able to make someone smile on the other side of the screen. Thanks to this family that I have created here I have discovered other aspects of me that allowed me to growth in my career, and for those reasons I try not to pay attention to the trolls and the negative part to expose our life to the world.
At the end of the day, I consider that the most important thing is respect, and understand that life is only one, that’s why we should dedicate our time to things that we are passionate about and that make us feel proud. Finally, I would like to clarify that in this business it is important to be true to yourself, your style, and your beliefs. We are the only ones who have the right to put the limits of what we want to share in these plattaforms and it’s okay if we want to keep certain things off social media.