To be or not to be on social media has been a long up and down battle for me. Like most, it started with the introduction of Myspace, a place to “connect” with friends and build your social circle. As the popularity of Myspace increased, it paved the way for Facebook, which ultimately took over the scene, leading to everyone jumping ship.When I first started using Facebook, I was completely clueless on how the whole thing worked. But over the years , the site improved and has become a centerpiece for “connecting” with people all around the world. I started to realize that the only people that I truly connected with on social media were the people who I talked to on a regular basis. Facebook became another tool to share funny pictures or videos. It often lead to stalking people who I became too familiar with on an online basis, but not in the real world.
It started to become bothersome that upon meeting someone new, their first question was “Do you have Facebook?” In a way, you feel obligated to say yes but when you really think about it, we all share very personal things about ourselves online and have opened the gates for strangers to pry into our lives. When you mix all of that with the added drama of what you did or didn’t post, Facebook started to become a toxic environment.
Since I still wanted to be part of this social world, I decided to give Twitter and Instagram a try. Twitter is a great information source on some of my favorite DJ’s. It was also a place for me to freely speak my mind, especially since gaining followers was never my goal. Twitter is also a place to vent about work, and some of the social issues going on around us. As for Instagram, my original thought was that I needed something to supplement not having Facebook; a platform to share a bit of my life struggles and accomplishments on this journey to becoming a full-time blogger. This was the point where my internal struggle shifted to high gear with social media.
Because social media has become an environment where I don’t k now what to believe, adapting to it has been slow going. Amid the chase for followers and oversharing of information that seems to serve no real purpose, I’ve been trying to find a happy medium: sharing things that help others and also tracking progress in my creative work.
I decided to take a step back from Instagram and give myself a break. I started to feel that it was becoming a hindrance in my creative work. Overwhelmed from the beautiful lettering work on there, I started to doubt my abilities in the quest to present everything as perfect. I will admit when it comes to my creative work, I am a bit of a perfectionist which, at times, is not the best for me. As much as I’ve enjoyed Instagram for inspiration, it slowly started to feel like a big lie and a space filled with over-compensating people scared to show their true colors; people only sharing when they are at their best, versus being truthful, and showing all aspects of their lives both good and bad.
I started to feel myself alter or overthink some of my posts, feeling that it was subpar or not quality content. I don’t want to blame Instagram outright for feeling this way because at the end of the day, I am in control of my reaction to it, but this feeling to present yourself always being at your best is an undertone of what social media has become. Outside of the ability to share REAL news immediately, the other side of it can be quite toxic. It has made many people spend more time living through the virtual world and not appreciate the present; the FOMO (Fear of Missing out) complex . It begs the question “Is being on social media really a place where I want to be?” I understand the benefits of social media but too often I’m faced with situations where I don’t think it’s the best place for a lot of us. People seem to be chasing this overnight celebrity goal, going as far to buy followers.
Finding the balance of knowing when to share and not share seems like a challenge for some of us. At this moment, I don’t know where I really stand with it all. I have enjoyed this break I’ve given myself so far because it’s freed me from the debate of whether I should share. I enjoy my weekly writings on the blog and I understand the need to be on social media especially if I intend on being a full-time blogger.
For now, I will be continuing to work on my personal growth social media free. I will be cutting off Instagram for the rest of the year and just use this time to continue to work on myself, my drawings and sewing. At this point in my life, while building my self-confidence and identity, social media may not be the best place for me right now. Even though I won’t be actively posting on Instagram for the rest of the year, I will continue to keep up with the weekly blog posts so that I can keep track of my progress.