It's currently 8:30pm on Sunday night and I have been sat staring at these photos thinking 'what on earth shall I say about this outfit!?' Last week I mentioned double denim, I've mentioned this bag countless times, and these shoes are also such a regular on my blog I don't have anything else to say about them. All I can really think to say is - this is the first time I have worn ripped jeans in ages. Ok, said it, now I am going to move onto a different topic: social media, and specifically my relationship with Instagram.
I honestly have never thought this is a particularly interesting topic, but judging by the comments on my vlog where I mentioned my worries about numbers/followers on social media, lots of you guys are interested in this - and also relate. So for the purpose of this post, let me outline why the follower count is so important for me:
a) it's part of my job. It matters to the brands I work with, it matters in terms of my income and livelihood.
b) what I care about more than the money aspect, is how it relates to me. My Instagram feed is 100% focused on yours truly, I put myself out there to be liked, and there is a clear number for me to understand what aspects of myself people do, and don't like. So when things don't progress at a pace I am happy with, not only does it affect my work, but it affects how I think of myself!
So, Instagram is important to me. I am not ashamed of it, I am not ashamed of how much my life is governed by social media. It's part of my job and I take it seriously. Like anyone else, I like to see results from hard work, and I get frustrated when I don't. That being said, so much of social media is beyond my control. The countless 'turn on notification' posts we all saw a few weeks ago demonstrates how out of control we are to our growth/engagement if the platform itself decides to change. So, I decided to try and take control in the only way I could think of - by getting it out of my head a little. Last week I was so anxious, restless, and down right grumpy because of social media. I am not one for ever being complacent, but beating yourself up as much as I like to do is far from productive.
In order to take control over this I decided to do two things; turn off my Instagram notifications, and delete that damn awful app that tracks your followers. Let me address these in turn, starting with the notifications. Most of my blogging gals turn off their Instagram notifications, and I have always joked that I leave mine on because it makes me feel popular. Every time I clicked on my phone I would be greeted by a screen full of Instagram likes. It made me feel a small reward for hard work, and a recognition that I was doing something good. On the flip side, it made me think about Instagram way more than necessary. God only knows (and I certainly wouldn't like to count) how many times a day I click on my phone, and every time my mind would instantly be focused on Instagram; how me and my work was being received, and how it needed to improve.
The second thing was to delete an app I had that tracked my exact followers. I could see how many people followed and unfollowed, and it became an app I went on every time I unlocked my phone. If 10 people unfollowed me, I would know, and become instantly frustrated with it. Ignorance really is bliss, so by deleting the app I have no grip on who is unfollowing me, and it has pushed Instagram out of my head a little bit. All in all, not opening my phone to a page full of Instagram notifications and then immediately heading for an app to tell me my following has made me so much less worried about it all!
Of course, I still check my Instagram about 189382012x a day. As I said at the beginning of this post, it matters to me and I am not ashamed of that. But it is unnecessary to let it affect my mood. While it's good to be motivated when things don't develop how you've planned, I found that my constant worry over it turned that motivation into one big fat bad mood!
I know so many other bloggers may have had a similar experience with a focus on numbers, and while blogging really isn't all about the numbers, there is no shame in caring about them. They are a valid way to track improvement, and the success of your content - just don't let the 'track' part of that get out of hand.
Thank you to Lauren from Fashion Panic for these photos too!