On a personal level I find social media both brilliant and destructive.
It enables me to keep in contact with more friends than I would ever be able to without it and from all corners of the globe. It gives me an insight into the exciting travel adventures of others, let’s me read about inspiring people doing wonderful things and provides me with ideas about how to better my life.
However, it also gets me down on mundane days when I’m going about my quiet little life and others are dining with celebrities, climbing mountains and looking drop dead gorgeous.
I think we all know not to compare ourselves with others and that what people post on their social accounts is a warped view of reality. I like to think of myself as very real on my personal Facebook and Instagram accounts, not worrying too much about what I look like to the rest of the world, yet I can understand how people easily get swept under the false carpet.
Since I have become a part of the literary social world using my accounts as tools for writing inspiration, motivation and also (I hate to admit) publicity, I have had a very different experience of the virtual social world.
I started my writing Facebook page first on which I plugged my blog. This is still very much the case and an extremely useful tool in doing so. It is also linked to my fairly new Instagram.
This was started after a conversation with my sister who is a photographer about how to build a social following in attempt to promote my work in the future. All very innocent and necessary.
I had every intention from the beginning to keep the account as real as possible and simply portray a writer’s life. This went firmly out of the window almost immediately as I posed in Aldeburgh in front of my sister and her camera.
Elegantly reading my book on a wall, looking into the distance (as you do). Sitting on the beach wearing the hoodie from work and beside my dog pausing so well it’s as if I have told him to sit for the photo (which I absolutely had).
I was planning weeks of photos in advance. Putting them in order of which day I would post them and occasionally even writing out the caption that would go with them.
In fact it is very rare that I post a photo of what I am doing at the very moment I am doing it, no edits, reflecting my true writer’s life, warts and all.
I have heard well known celebrities talk about this on podcasts whereby they have such a strong presence on social media that there have been days when they post a feel good post while crying themselves silly on the sofa. There seems to be such pressure and no break that I can see how it could get intense.
I have backtracked slightly now (maybe because I am starting to get somewhere with my writing so no longer need to fake it), but still find it difficult to be entirely true yet remain professional.
Recently I have found putting a weekly theme to my feed gains authenticity because the photos are genuine recommendations of things I have genuinely done in the past and are clearly from the past. I am not claiming them to be me, now.
That all said though, for all the bad parts of social media, there are so many good things that it brings so of course I will still use it and hopefully become truer to myself every day.
It is an interesting topic of discussion in the modern world and why my main focus of book number 2 is both the damning and honest aspects to the vibrant social world!