Social media life vs real life....
Doing this as part of my job is a strange old business. If someone had told me when I left school that one day I would be doing the equivalent of showing people photos of things I do in my daily life and basically letting everyone read my random thoughts I would have thought they were bonkers and lost the plot entirely. Yet here I am. I write about everything and anything, from my family, daft things that have recently gone on, things I have been loving recently, thoughts on brands or products etc and the feedback I get from you lovely people is amazing.
I have followed bloggers and vloggers online for the last few years and absolutely love reading and watching different content. Fashion and beauty, photography, travel, books, food - you name it, I love it and the people behind it all. I enjoy it to "switch off" as well as to see how other people are doing something I love to do. I certainly don't watch or read content with the intention to find fault, to pick holes or to accuse people of not "being real."
But this is exactly what has happened to a few bloggers and vloggers recently and it made me think how "trolling" on the internet has become the new version of the school bully. People who sit behind their phones or laptops intent on finding fault and making wide accusations of "fakery."
Fakery! Because shock, horror, sometimes things that are posted on social media aren't "quite" real!! Who'd have thought??! A London blogger recently got unnecessarily pulled apart on social media for an Instagram picture of her sitting on a bed surrounded by helium balloons, pancakes which were actually folded tortilla wraps and holding a cup of tea that was, calm yourselves everyone, empty!
Stop. The. Press. People went mad over it. Even people in the public eye, a female politician for instance commented on the picture, accusing her of being fake.
But isn't that kind of the point? If someone posted a picture of a slice of cold burnt toast and a mug that's covered in stains because they've had three coffees in there that have all gone cold because they're too busy running after the kids or feeding the dog or getting ready for the day then I guess most people would be unimpressed. I would love it to be honest. One of my favourite people on Instagram is Celeste Barber. If you've never discovered her, she completely embraces "reality vs fakery" and I absolutely love her. She takes pics that "celebs" have posted on social media and recreates them, in a way that is both hilarious and a nice kick up the backside of saying "this is not real!!" Don't get me wrong, I do love a pretty Instagram feed, I absolutely adore a nice photo and the ones of people sitting in a beautiful dress eating a pile of pancakes (always pancakes) in a tranquil setting, surrounded by flowers, often balloons and looking, well, incredible, are great. Great for the moment of "I love how they've set that up. I love the colours, I love the setting." I don't look at it thinking "Oh my God why can't I be that perfect. Why can't I eat pancakes and sip coffee in Italy too" but the argument is impressionable followers just might.
When I was a teenager, (and I'm not saying all these impressionable people are all teens, I think it goes way beyond that these days) we had the images in magazines and other printed media to make us envious and wish we could live their lives, now people feel they are bombarded with "look at my perfect life" on a second by second basis, not just fortnightly when a new issue of your favourite magazine hit your doormat. This problem has been around forever but instead of people having to bother to write a strongly worded letter to the editor, they are able to quickly compose a few sentences of anger for the world and the person who posted the image in the first place to see and to contend with. The equivalent of going up to someone in the street and saying "I hate your outfit." The mean girl mentality. But a mentality, and an action that could haunt you - it's on the internet forever, constantly showing future employers, friends, family, EVERYONE just how horrible you can be. Not cool.
I watched a vlog recently by Zoella, one of the most popular "creators" or "influencers" with a staggering 12 million followers. She was saying how even she, who has been on the YouTube train since almost the beginning, is almost scared to put her true self out there any more for fear of repercussions and the online abuse she has faced.
And it just made me really sad. Sad that it's come to this where "trolls" - in fact, lets just call them by their true name - bullies, think it perfectly acceptable to post anything that pops into their heads online, often the meaner the better.
Spoiler coming up right here - social media life is NOT real life. It is where even when your Auntie Maud is generally pretty careful about what pictures to put on Facebook (although many of them may be upside down) and most people attempt to create the "nicest" version of ourselves for the world to see. I am definitely guilty of popping a holiday pic on when I'm feeling "hashtag blessed" but I also like to keep it real, admitting when things aren't quite so shiny and polished. (Like when your "perfect" child has been a proper little &^£$ all day for instance....just an example....) On my work accounts, of course I try and make my pictures as perfect as they can be (save from a rogue hair on an ice cream in one of my pics recently but come on, it was windy and I'm almost sure I didn't eat it.....) We've been filtering pics to a certain degree for all eternity, taking out the double chin ones when we collected our photos from Prontaprint or whatever it was called back in the day and maybe not showing everyone the blurry ones or all of the 6 identical ones you took of the dog to use the film up. (For anyone reading this under the age of about 30, ask your parents.)
As for me? Well I might not be posting photos of me with a variety of helium balloons and pancakes any time soon but that's mainly because damn, those things are expensive, my dog is terrified of them and, if I had a pile of pancakes in front of me I would most definitely devour the lot before I remembered to take a pic. But for those who do? Why the hell not. Let people be whatever version of themselves, without the negativity. Of course some pics are "fake" but anyone who believes that people actually live their lives in the filtered online world needs to get themselves outside and experience some real life. I'll just carry on posting pictures of my washing line. Keeping it real.