This post is LONG. Well slightly, but it’s a good read I promise. I found myself picking up on so many different topics as I wrote this one because social media seems to be at the heart of everything atm. Granted it has its pros, keeping up to date with people all over the world, providing us with inspiration, news, a source of branding and teaching us endless new things. But it has also made the world rife with unrealistic images, keyboard warrior trolls and too many avocado toasts for my starving stomach to handle.
These past few weeks I have tried to make a conscious effort to up my social media game. Before this blog I didn’t even have a Twitter or an Instagram account. Just a lonely Facebook page whose status was never updated and who only received new pictures every 6 months by the album. I’m like a middle-aged woman trapped in a 20 something’s body.
There is one thing for certain this foray into the depths of social media has made me discover. Anyone that claims the Kardashian’s have no talent, are wrong. Very, very wrong. Do you know how much work goes into taking the perfect ‘Insta-worthy’ pic a minimum of TWICE (?!) a day? I for one certainly don’t have that many nice clothes, let alone interesting things to do.
I honestly don’t know how bloggers do it. They put forward a life that is just so glamorous. Their outfits, their hangouts, what they happen to stumble across and even themselves – ooze this almost unachievable glamour. And if they fail to post on a regular basis people start to unfollow them. I mean, really? Who are these people? I definitely don’t have the time to scroll through and find out who hasn’t posted anything in the last 2 days. Do you?
I know a lot of bloggers use their ‘Insta-hubbies’ and friends to take pictures, but my reality is having to fully schedule and coerce my boyfriend into such tasks … even then I only have a small quota before he gets bored. And fair play to him, there has to be another way, right? One that doesn’t pull everyone around me out of his or her daily lives.
The KarJenner clan obviously have paps and a whole crew of people more than willing to help take a quick snap. And I guess when you actually know your angles the whole process can be carried out A LOT quicker. But where does that leave us normal folk? Are we doomed to only venture into the EXACT same Insta worthy locations as everyone else? Spend hours of our time taking 100 pictures of the same thing for 99 of them to be completely unusable? Don’t even get me started on selfie sticks, I tried out my mum’s the other day (yes, believe it or not even she’s more advanced than I am) to see if I could get some good body style shots of my outfits and I guess I really need to do more weights at the gym ‘cos it left my arms so, soshaky – every picture was blurry af!
Having and maintaining a social media account like this seems to be a full time job. It’s almost embarrassing to admit the amount of time it takes me to get one good picture for TheStyleItch. And I know I’m not the only gal with this problem. For me, I’m much more comfortable behind the camera then I am in front, which is why my initial plan was to not include myself on this blog at all. I wanted to show a different way of fashion blogging but it hasn’t quite turned out like that…
I made this blog because I wanted to WRITE. Unfortunately the best way to get people to see said writing is social media – meaning it is something I definitely do have to master. My idea to set myself apart from the thousands of other ridiculously talented men, women and even children putting their thoughts out onto the internet, was using my friends as models in planned out settings. The kind of stuff I used to do at Uni. Although, now I think about it – that took, weeks, months to complete so not exactly suitable for weekly blog posts. And when I started to use myself in my own clothes, showing off my own style – I couldn’t help but notice the change in engagement as well as convenience.
Right now I’m trying the whole ‘backlog’ of photos thing. It does feel very strange and slightly ingenuine pretending these shots are spontaneous, but if it’s something I have to do, I’ll do it. It also gets very confusing, very fast. There are definitely a few I’ve taken and keep forgetting about. How do bloggers deal with this? Spreadsheets? God that reminds me of a Catfish episode my friend was telling me about. How a guy kept a spreadsheet of over 400 women he was talking to at once?! Talk about organised, but doesn’t that just take the fun and spontaneity out of social media?
Then there’s the grid – the bane of my life. I get so annoyed when a new picture I’ve been so excited to post doesn’t aesthetically fit into that goddamn grid… Yes I know EXACTLY what you’re all thinking and you’re right. I am officially turning into one of those girls. My grid isn’t as aesthetically pleasing as I’d like it to be anyway, but I guess its more a representation of how my mind works – ever changing, and full of colour. Haha look at me trying to style it out.
But seriously, I’ve been piling more and more pressure onto myself to shoot everything lately. I get excited at lighting now, photos do have to be well lit… in every sense of the word 😉🔥 (… why am I making dad jokes?!) , I love an aesthetically pleasing plant, interesting street art, coincidental Insta-worthy ‘accidents’ and of course, taking pictures of everyone’s food and drink before they’re allowed to dig in (soz guys but it takes a good few minutes to get that perfect angle for the blog!). I’m equally getting more and more worried at missing opportunities. Should I be taking more photos? I already took a picture of that but does it look better now it’s later in the day?… I definitely feel like I’m getting more sad and more basic the longer I have these platforms.
Part of my issue in taking pictures of myself – and I’m pretty sure a lot of people experience this too, is that I’m constantly critiquing myself. This is another problem I feel comes with this social media era we’re currently stuck in. We all want to be perfect, just like the people we see online. Making this a constant compare and despair cycle. Like some kind of Jekyll and Hyde scenario, logging on to social media can inspire me so much one day and leave me in complete misery the next. Sometimes it can be a combination of the two. I love looking for style inspiration but can often feel like an unfashionable, poor blob. Leading me into garnering myself a massive credit card bill and a delivery of garms I can’t wear anywhere but (you guessed it) on the gram, ‘cos I now have no more money…
I thought more into this belittling behaviour and was further fuelled by an article I read on Man Repeller. Myself, along with near enough all of my friends, apologise or acknowledge when we feel unattractive. Girls apologise at the beginning of YouTube makeup tutorials for their makeup-less faces, friends often admit “they look like shit” the moment they greet me and women frequently announce they haven’t washed their hair in so many days, before anyone has so much as noticed. It really is insane.
There might be more to it, but I can guarantee a large proportion of this practice is down to the increase in social media pressures. The constant battle to gain more likes and more followers through perfectionism seems to be leaking through into the real world.
I very recently got recommended the app Facetune which is all well and good when you simply want to blur out a pimple or achieve better lighting, but after one session of playing around on the app a tad too much I actually managed to turn a picture of myself into something that resembled a very smoothed out, almost cartoon like me.
The internet is definitely used to publish a highlights reel of our lives – no bloopers seem to be allowed – unless they’re the cute kind … defo NOT the ugly.
My final bone to pick with social media only pointed itself out massively over the weekend. Everyone knows, and have probably experienced, the wrath of a keyboard warrior at some point during their internet lives. You know the type, wouldn’t dare say anything to your face but through the safety of a screen is more than willing to call you out on anything and everything, and label you every name under the sun.
My friend recently lent me a book ‘The Opposite Of Hate’ by Sally Kohn, saying it opened her eyes so much to just how bad people in the world can be – and we’re not just talking murderers and terrorists. The very first chapter delves into online trolling and how rife it currently is.
This was followed, as you may know, by the tragic death of rapper Mac Miller this weekend. Hundreds of online articles were not discussing this poor man’s life, his successes or his struggles, rather how thousands of people were laying into his EX-girlfriend Ariana Grande via Instagram. They were blaming her for ‘killing him’ along with expressing their utter disgust that she hadn’t posted a tribute photograph 0.5 seconds after the news was announced.
Just one year ago the world were uniting with this woman in the wake of the Manchester terrorist attack outside one of her concerts. Now, without actually knowing either person or the full situation, besides what had been published by the press, pre-judgment was prevalent.
Can’t people just lay off each other?! I feel like I’m in Miss Congeniality telling Stan Fields that all I really want is world peace. But it’s true. If we were all less quick to judge and more accepting of one another, the internet and all it’s platforms would be such a nicer, safer place. People would feel ok to post the real them and what they really do. I for one am definitely going to start putting less pressure on myself. I want to start looking at the world through my eyes again not just through my camera. I’ll still be taking pictures and interacting with social media, but maybe not to such an obsessive extent.
Well, rant over… I promise next weeks post will be much more uplifting but sometimes these things just have to be said.