It’s really easy to get lost in the world of the internet. I have found that getting sucked in never produces positive results. It’s always better, for me, to keep the two worlds separate, let the mind rest and stay realistic.
Instagram is quite the chaotic world when you think about it. The app is very useful, but at the same time it has its damaging properties. Fortunately, I have stuck with the app and continued to enjoy it, but I have also heard the experience of other creators and friends who have left the app due to poor mental health or self-esteem struggles. It’s sad that social media can do that to a person, so I have certain things I try to remember to keep that from happening.
It’s not real.
One of the most important things for me to remember is that half the things on the internet aren’t real. As a photographer, I look to photo sharing websites to find inspiration and see what’s new. I like to keep up with other photographers so I can check out new techniques and save them to my favourites.
Even some photos on Instagram, Pinterest or Tumblr that seem like a simple authentic landscape could be edited in some way. Pretty much every photo goes through some form of editing process, so it’s key to never forget that everything isn’t always as it seems.
The shot of a girl hanging out of a helicopter in Hawaii could be Photoshopped, the viral pic of someone with a brand new mansion or sports car could be staged, and the photo of a bunch of beauties hanging out could be strangers posing for likes. Sometimes it just works out like that.
Social media creates some weird expectation and pressure to ensure everything is perfect, take advantage of all photo ops and always look like a 10/10. The reality is, half the time I look (and feel) like a 4/10 and there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that. In fact, it’s normal!
I try to look as social media as a part time gig. I love blogging and photography, and doing those things as a full-time job is an absolute dream, but apps like Twitter, Pinterest, YouTube and Instagram don’t require full-time commitment. They shouldn’t be keeping me up at night or taking up all the time in the day. They shouldn’t be in the back of my mind when I’m trying to concentrate on something else and they shouldn’t run my life.
I blog because I enjoy creating content. I take photos because I like to capture beauty. But social media is an extension of those things, and shouldn’t require hours upon hours. In fact, the fun part is create the content that’s going to be on social media in the first place! Being able to post is just a bonus.
When I look back on my day, and I see that I’ve spent a ridiculous amount of hours online I feel unproductive, and in reality (for me) it really is. I have a day job, I have hobbies I enjoy, there are books I haven’t read – so why am I spending three hours scrolling through my news feed when I could cut that down and get on with something else?
It might be a boredom thing, maybe a procrastination thing – so it’s vital I make sure social media remains part-time and doesn’t make the rules.
It’s all fun
Social media was created for entertainment purposes and to connect people all over the world. Although it creates jobs and changes lives, it also has a very dark and negative side that includes bullying and targeting. I strive to avoid this as much as possible because I don’t want to ever get sucked in that way. I would hate to spent time defending myself online or responding to negativity. It’ll always be there, and fortunately for me I haven’t come across any yet.
When I’m bored, I unlock my phone and open a social media app. The whole point is that they’re there to entertain and for the whole world to enjoy. It’s pretty cool if you think about it. I have friends all over the world thanks to Instagram in particular. I get to see the world through their eyes while I share photos from mine. Remembering that these apps weren’t created with the intention of ruining a life and destroying a mood, puts things into perspective.
Not only does it show me that it’s just an app, but I also see that I shouldn’t be taking it too seriously. I shouldn’t be crying because I didn’t get a like on my tweet or throwing a tantrum because I can’t find the perfect board cover on Pinterest. That’s when the digital world has a grasp on my life that’s a little too tight and it’s time to let go.
As a blogger, I spend at least a few minutes a day on the internet or using my phone. It seems to be a normal part of life, but there’s a danger to letting it consume you. Everything in life is about balance, from brain chemicals to hobbies and chores. Balance makes life that much easier to live, and refusing to let the digital world control me is working like a treat.
How do you feel about social media?