In HuffPost UK’s 28-day scroll-free challenge, we’ll be trying to find a better balance with social media. Coinciding with the Royal Society For Public Health’s Scroll Free September campaign, we’ll be publishing experiences, tips and motivation. Sign up for our daily email featuring tips and motivation – you can start the challenge at any point in the month.
After hearing that another of my school friends was expecting a baby, at twenty-three, I messaged my best friend: Are we the only ones not breeding?
In 2018 alone our school year has experienced weddings, engagements, separations, babies, miscarriages, buying houses, travelling the world and getting on the ladder to be world class musicians and footballers.
As a self-confessed social media stalker - come on, we all do it - I wonder what they think of me and my life choices? I haven’t got married, I haven’t been in a relationship for a while, or had a baby or bought my own house.
What I have got is my own flat - rented - in London, a kick-ass job as a marketing and publicity executive at a book publisher and a promising writing side-hustle. But is it okay for me to want them to know that? That I’ve changed from being a goody-two-shoes teenager who never brushed her hair or wore make-up into a budding successful ‘career woman’ in London.
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I think so. If anything it motivates me to continue succeeding in my career and life choices. But does it also motivate me to become a fake social media entity? Because that I don’t want.
Take Instagram; I don’t consider myself a massive user of Instagram when it comes to personal photos, I’ll use it for my blog photos but not to document my own life experiences. Unless they’re seemingly so big that I want people to know about them, in which case my story and filters are in full use.
Does that make me vain? Or a wannabe? I think it makes me want to be seen. But is it showing me as the person I am or the person I want to be?
We use social media to reassure ourselves, more than others in most cases, that we have a fun life.
Sometimes I wish my life was as fun as my social media looked though.
It’s a fact we’re all aware of, that social media is somewhat fake. That selfie of you smiling with your other half could have been taken just before you had yet another argument, or that image of a beautiful sunset was taken three weeks before and has been sitting in your folder for when you have a bad day and want to fool the world into thinking you’ve had a great one.
I try not to do that with my social media, or at least I’m trying not to do that now.
If I have a bit of good news I’ll share it, I want people to know when I’m having a fun time. If I have a new cousin, I’m going to show them off, if I buy something and I think it is super cute and other friends might like it I’ll share a picture of it. When I’m celebrating my birthday I’ll share those pictures too - even the bad ones.
But I am done sharing random selfies in which I think I look hot for the sake of hoping other people think I look hot too, or pictures of landscapes that mean nothing to me or quotes that don’t make me feel anything except smug to post.
I want people to know when I succeed or am happy but I don’t want them to think that I’m living a life that I’m not.
I want to have a social media that I can look back on as a personal time capsule. After all, in twenty years we’re going to be looking back at our tweets and Facebook memories as if they’re our old diary posts. I’d rather be reminded of actual successes and good memories than fake ones.
But is it okay for me to post about my successes to my ‘followers’ who I may or may not speak to anymore?
Yes, because I’m beginning to realise that social media, particularly Instagram, is more for me than it is for them. No matter what the term ‘social’ media suggests.
This September HuffPost UK is challenging readers to back away from their social media feeds for 28 days in order to find new balance in our relationships with technology. Coinciding with the Royal Society For Public Health’s campaign Scroll Free September, we’ll be delivering the tips and motivation you need via a daily email. And the best part? You can sign up to start the challenge at any point in the month. So what are you waiting for?