Recently, Australian Instagram celebrity Essena O’Neill decided she is quitting social media. She confesses via YouTube that social media is “not real life” and she feels that her “happiness” was only derived by the number of likes and followers she saw on Instagram. Although it appears that she lives a glamorous and dreamy lifestyle, she claims that her life was only staged to look that way. On the inside she felt anxious, depressed, and lonely. She wasn’t doing things in real life for herself; she was doing things for her fans on Instagram.
The Effects of Social Media
While social media is a great tool to build a brand’s presence, engage with customers and fans, and keep up-to-date with current events and news, it can be detrimental if used in excess. I mean look what happened to O’Neill at only 18 years old.
Social media can sometimes result in people living their lives only for their virtual followers. The obsession of social media numbers make people forget about enjoying real life with real people.
Using Social Media Appropriately
So how do you use social media appropriately? No one can tell you exactly how to use Instagram or Facebook or Tumblr or Twitter. That’s up to you – only you have the ability to post (or not post), or to unplug from your virtual followers.
For me, using social media is all about balance. As aforementioned, social media can be a great tool, but I only want to use it as an outlet for memories and/or a way to connect with friends and family I don’t see often.
Here is a list of things I do to make sure using social media doesn’t take over my real life:
1. Use social media sparingly.
We’re all guilty of using social media probably too much (especially when your 9-5 job is digital marketing like mine.) However, having social media constraints are good. I never have my phone while eating meals and I try to follow the “one screen at a time” rule, meaning if I’m watching TV, I’m off my phone and vice versa.
2. Never post while in the moment, #latergrams are my thing even if it’s an hour later.
I 100% never post an Instagram post while in that moment. I love taking pictures while out doing fun things, but I will never post on Instagram while I’m doing those things right in the moment. It helps me live in the moment and I avoid getting distracted by other people’s feeds.
3. Screw the number of likes and number of followers.
How many times have you deleted a post because it didn’t hit a certain threshold of likes? Guilty as charged. The number of likes or the number of followers should never be a factor when deciding how to use social media. Which brings me to my next point:
4. Post what you like, not what your followers like.
Post what you want to because you like it. Don’t post a certain caption or image because you think that they will generate the most engagement from your followers. Stay true to you and your own brand. Don’t post a certain way because you want to attract more followers. If you post what you want when you want, you’re more likely to attract genuine followers, not fake ones.
5. Use social media to connect and make real friends – not to generate fans.
One the main reasons why I love social media is because it helps me connect with so many people. It also helps me learn more about different cultures and places. Social media can be a great tool to get more involved within your community and to meet real people.
Topaz & Sapphire’s Motto
What really matters is that you understand that social media most likely portrays only the best times in someone’s life. It’s unfair to compare your life to someone’s social media life. Let’s be honest – most people only post things that they want to remember. No one will post their ugly cry face, bloated stomach, or atrociously dirty kitchen.
Last week I cooked three home cooked meals. I was tired of going out to eat and I wanted to pinch some pennies by making more things at home. Well, last week was not my week in the cooking department. We bought a rotisserie chicken with a chicken head attached (unknowingly). I made my favorite enchilada soup but chopped the onions too long in the food processor so they were mush. I was too lazy to start my recipe over so I used the mushy onions anyways and the entire soup tasted like pure onions. I tried to make turkey burgers but decided to buy a cheap version of ground turkey and well, lesson learned – never buy ground turkey in a tube.
I had mega recipe fails all over last week, resulting in eating cereal, Chick-fil-a, and just skipping dinner altogether. Did I post my #recipefails to Insta? Nope. Do I want to forget all about last week’s food fails? You betcha.
Long story short, people want to post things that they are proud of – their shiny new BMW, their perfect hair days, their perfect tablescape they spent hours setting up.
Our motto of our blog Topaz & Sapphire is to not try and create a picturesque image of anyone’s life. It’s to be real, refreshing, and rejuvenating. It’s a place we want women to relate to and to be inspired by (but not in an envious type of way).