I’ve been thinking about the ways in which I share content lately. More specifically, how, when, and why?
I’ve been trying to make more of an effort to really consider how my posts come across, and how they could be impacting not only other people, but also myself in a somewhat negative way. I think it’s important to check in on our social media habits every now and then in order to recognise what’s potentially unhealthy, and what we could work towards changing in order to have more authentic online experiences…
I started to think about how I sometimes use posting online as a form of instant ‘online escapism’. Whilst I haven’t seen much wrong with this in the past, I’ve come to realise how twisted and damaging it can actually become in the long run.
Does our light relief mean we are only cheating ourselves and potentially pushing ourselves away from authentic connections in the online world? Or are we entitled to just post whatever the fuck we want at any given time? Should we think more about how and why we post? Would Instagram be a better place if everyone considered the intent behind their content a little more carefully?
These are all thoughts that have been running through my mind lately.
Is posting a throwback of a holiday snap when we are worried about the broken boiler or a looming tax bill actually productive for anyone? Does it really make us feel better for sharing a happier time, or is it sending a false message that only the bright and shiny times are worthy of other peoples potentially judging eyes. Personally, I’ve stopped posting when I feel sad or anxious because I’ve realised it just makes me feel a thousand times worse. Unless it’s a post that has a caption that feels productive for me personally, or potentially helpful to others in some way – I’d much rather just not post at all and wait until the inspiration strikes again. The type of post that genuinely feels good to share, not just ‘feels good for an instant’ and then comes back around to further haunt your negative head space.
For instance, if I post a selfie I took three weeks ago (when I happened to be feeling good about myself) – the comment section is only likely to increase my negative mood. I’ll be looking the kind compliments whilst being very aware that I’m in a grubby dressing gown with pasta sauce on my chin. It just causes a heightened state of awareness that nobody needs when they are already feeling crappy. I’ve learnt the hard way that I’m much better off if I put my phone on silent (maybe even Airplane mode) and leave it in another room for a few hours. I’d rather flow with my own feelings rather than put on a brave face for social media via a false positive Instagram caption that’s only sending a negative signal back towards my brain…
I’ll get outside and see friends, or just generally do something that feels good for the soul. It’s important to step away from social media when you feel anxious or overwhelmed – scrolling aimlessly when you’re feeling down is like an act of self harm. We know it won’t help and yet we are often found doing it regardless. Sure, there’s lots of great Instagram accounts etc that can lift you up and make you feel positive, but if you’re anything like me then simply just the notion of seeing people ‘busy and living their lives’ online is enough to set me off when I’m feeling some type of negative way.
As much as I feel the pressure to keep up with the online world and be ‘on top of my game’, I don’t prioritise it above my mental health anymore. We can’t always stick to the silly schedules we set for ourselves, and we can’t always keep up with the standards that society has set up for us either. Sometimes we have to disconnect in order to reconnect again. I want to be comfortable in the idea that If my Instagram is quiet for a few days (or even a few weeks) – it’s because I’m busy focusing on stuff that counts in the real world and I’ll be back just as soon as I have something worth sharing…
Photographs taken by Catherine Booty
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