This is a topic I’ve wanted to discuss for some time now – I’ve been thinking about it a lot lately for numerous reasons, and I just wanted to explore my thoughts on it a little more. That’s basically what blogging is to me, some sort of writing therapy that always leaves me feeling lighter than before. The internet, to me, has always been a place to share and consume with likeminded people, if someone told me five years ago that I’d be doing the job I do now, I would have probably laughed in their face…
I started an Instagram account for the sheer joy of being able to create and share my images with a larger audience – there was no pretence, I didn’t care how many followers I had, and I didn’t overthink my digital footprint because I was just someone in their twenties having fun. Moving through the world at my own pace, making mistakes, making new friends, visiting new places…
Instagram was a very simple app back then – fast forward a few years and it’s a huge money maker for so many different business. For so many bloggers and influencers too. It’s crazy to look back at the growth it’s had, and how many lives have been changed because of it. However, alongside all that good stuff, there’s inevitably some bad at the same time, I guess you could call them side effects. The things that we tell ourselves we have to put up with as a consequence of using social media…
Being a creative person online can be toxic at times – people can now spend hours analysing their statistics and engagement (and the way they look in comparison to others). Nothing kills creativity like having to think with your business head, nothing kills creativity like starting to believe you have to do what others are doing in order to succeed…
I often have to remind myself that I didn’t ask for this job – it just happened. To always create the content that makes me feel passionate, and not necessarily what performs well. It’s tough when images aren’t being seen and my follower account is slowly decreasing – but what will I end up with? The right type of people following along. A community of people who don’t expect me to be anything else other than myself. It’s difficult to be a creator online – it’s even more difficult to be a young person online.
We are now living in a very sensitive age when it comes to having an opinion (and sometimes even just a sense of humour) online. As a sarcastic person, I’ve never felt this more than in the last six months. It’s often the reason I don’t constantly video myself speaking for long periods of time, or create consistent YouTube content. The last thing anyone needs is to be judged for just being themselves. Unless you’re an absolute vile person – then of course that behaviour is acceptable to call out and challenge.
It’s difficult to know what people want to see on Instagram anymore – so the best thing for me to do it just to put it to the back of my mind. Easier said than done though right? I’ve always known that mirror selfies perform the best, perhaps because they feel more raw and personal? A scenic travel image will never do as well, and that’s okay. I’m not prepared to turn my account into a constant stream of selfies, for me, that bares no creative input. I want my account to be a reflection of all different aspects of my life, and something I can scroll back on and be proud of.
Nothing kills creativity more than the thought of having to please other people…
Whether it’s your full time job, a part time hustle, or just something that you enjoy taking part in. Instagram should be a place full of diversity and creativity – not an endless stream of skinny tea ads and overly edited sunsets. Create a feed that’s in tune with the real world, after all, the unfollow buttons are there for a reason. Follow people who inspire you to be your best self, to turn off your phone once in a while, and to create freely without always having the grid in mind…
Photographs by Catherine Booty
Top – Nan Nin vintage
Trousers – Mango
Shoes – Topshop (similar here)
Bag – Shop Charlotte
SHOP THE LOOK
I have difficulty trying not to think in the mindset of ‘how can I increase my followers’ for the purpose of growing my own business, but like you, I started it to be creative, and I just have to continue to remind myself of that. Thank you
Natalie | http://nataliesalchemy.wordpress.com
Totally agree, it’s only natural to dwell on numbers and they do matter to an extent when it’s your business – just have to remind ourselves why we started, and then it might not last forever so it’s best to be authentic. Thank you for reading xx
It’s so true that we need to put what people want to see to the back of our minds and just create content that we love! I often compare myself so much to other people but just try and remember to just do my own thing! Xx
Definitely! Plus you’re a unique little gem so there’s no point in comparing yourself to others xxx
That’s what I love on your blog / IG : You are just yourself. I can feel that is very pure and personal. You are just yourself, enjoying your life, your style.
Thank you for this words <3 bisous bisous
Thank you so much! So kind of you xxx
Just keep being you! I love you posts. People criticize because they feel threatened and are not confident about themselves. Be stronger than that.
Thank you! And you’re so so right xx
Yes! Within this past week I had an epiphany about who I was creating for, and realized that I had sandwiched myself into a niche that I hadn’t ever wanted. I don’t own a smartphone, so Instagram wasn’t an option, but I shared creative images on my personal facebook just for the fun of it. Despite my joy being purely in the creation so many people responded to my work. (I loved people’s reactions and conversations–was my photographs sad or conveying wonder.)
I began blogging in fashion, but gradually realized my more creative photography and writing bent. I held onto the fashion element for a while, but I finally put my foot down and decided to go back to what I did before, even if it isn’t a genre that might grow well on Instagram.
Such a great post!
I’m new to the game, & have found myself obsessing over exactly these things. It’s a relief to know that others struggle with that too. Thank you for being so authentic and candid!