There’s a myth that’s becoming more and more acceptable by the minute. You’ve seen it. On social media, magazines, and in advertising for years.
It’s the idea that we must live a socially styled life so we can fit in, validate our worth through likes and comments, and to be seen by the world around us.
With 2.7 BILLION people active on social media, how could we not feel the constant pressure to update everyone on what we are doing while looking good doing it?
Before you click away thinking this is another social media bashing article, let me tell you, it’s not. At all. In fact, it’s quite the opposite. I love social media. I love how it tells a story and gives people the opportunity to tell theirs and use their voice.
I’ll be the first to tell you I post at least once a day on Instagram, consistently snapchat, and scroll through Facebook every single day. I even dabble on Pinterest for hours at a time depending on how long the line I’m waiting in is or my inability to fall asleep.
Social media is important. We know that. But what I think is most important is how we use it.
Lately, I’ve attended conferences, read blog posts, and listened to podcasts where they equally question whether or not social media is important, or if it’s just something we (as business owners AND consumers) feel like we have to do.
Which brings me to the idea, why are we even on social media?
Answer: To connect with others in hopes to feel community, acceptance, and known.
Which then leads me to my next thought, what does social media do to make the world a better place?
Answer: It gives us all the opportunity to share our voice. Share our pain, joys, passions, and failures. It unifies us. Creating a place where all opinions and thoughts are heard. Maybe not always agreed with, but definitely heard.
Being heard and seen is a human craving that we all aim to satisfy. Inadvertently, we’ve used social media as a way to build our brands, platforms, and cure our inner insecurities.
I don’t think this is bad. But you see, what we’ve done as bloggers, clothing brands, and online entrepreneurs is created curated, styled lives. We began to care a lot about aesthetics and filters and angles. Selfies. Squad Pics. Arial shots of food.
Again, is this bad? No.
However, getting down to the dirty truth about WHY we use social media is the single most important discovery you can make in your online “social” life. I’ve been really questioning why I put so much effort into my social brands and Instagram feed lately. And I came to a realization that I wanted to share with you.
Be original and share truth.
Just be original and share YOUR truth.
When I stopped focusing on likes and started focusing on my voice, something magical happened. I began sharing my struggles, thoughts, and experiences, which cultivated “me too” moments with my audience. My followers were commenting things like, “I feel this way too” and “I really needed to read this today, thank you.”
If I use my voice in a genuine way and people respond with encouragement and similar thoughts, this feels better than any number attached to my name.
And by being original and just sharing my life with my audience, I saw an increase in engagement as well as growth to my platforms. That’s called growing for the right reasons.
I share this will you because I want you to know what you don’t have to be perfect online or in real life. You can be real. You can share the struggle and not just the “highlights” of your life. Shift your mindset from being numbers focused to being OTHERS focuses. When I take the spotlight of me and show vulnerability, my number one goal is to help someone else.
When you become other’s focused, all the vanity and social pressure goes out the window.
I love photography. My heart jumps for joy over aesthetics. It’s okay to have a sleek brand and share high quality images.
But first, ask yourself why. Then ask yourself how you can help someone else with what you share on social media.
I promise you, something magical will happen.