How My Time Using Instagram Has Shaped Me

After a short hiatus from blogging and social media recently, I realised in my break that a lot has changed since I first began my plight into the Blogging industry. Not only has my attitude towards certain aspects of this industry changed a lot but also I have noticed a change in my own self. It’s one of the things that fascinates me the most about blogging, the fact that it can open your eyes to so many things about yourself and ultimately cause you to reflect on how using Social Media quite intensely can shape you, yourself, as a person.

Set your mind back to about seven years ago, and Instagram is just a tiny spec of dust in the spectrum of newly developing apps becoming available on apple’s ‘app’ store. Most of my friends are rocking the iPhone 3, but for me I am using my trusty iPod touch to download the likes of Fruit Ninja and while the days away. A murmur of a new app where you can share solely images on a Facebook like news feed circulates my friendship groups, and without hesitation I’ve got it on download obviously to avoid any chances of missing out on the next best thing.

Since those many moons ago, a lot has changed for Instagram now. Boasting a massive figure of 800,000 million users, the app has become one of the most widely used and talked about platforms – and not always for a good reason. Yes that’s right, obviously I am talking about the dreaded algorithm. Regardless of the fact that many of us seem to struggle to truly enjoy using this platform anymore thanks to it’s infuriating quirks, it has still become a huge part of the blogging industry and is something most of us use on a daily basis. When you’re using an online platform like Instagram as intensly as you have to through blogging then it’s easy to see it really can have an affect on your own self…

Growing a thicker skin and handling yourself

Remember when Ivy Winters used to stand in front of the judges panel and repeatedly whisper ‘water off a ducks back’ to herself before receiving her critiques for the week. If you don’t know what I’m talking about then someone clearly doesn’t watch Ru Paul’s Drag Race. But anyway, this is something that sometimes can translate over into Blogging as well. Within the world of social media there comes an ugly side to it which is the aspect of internet trolls. And boy have I had my fair share of experiences. By that I mean I was trolled once, but to be honest it was enough to teach me the lesson I really needed learn: water off a ducks back.

I’m sure you want to know the tea behind my trolling right? Well long story short, when I first began blogging I would post a lot more beauty based images as these were much easier for me take by myself. I was no makeup artist though and one picture (wearing a new lipstick I had just bought) was regrammed by the brand and had a less than positive reaction. The reason? In said picture I wore a pair of false lashes which were a bit past it and the girls went IN about how I looked. I spent the rest of the evening curled up in a ball feeling sorry for myself while poor Ollie tried to console me and occasionally push bars of chocolate my way in attempt to crack a smile out of me.

Over two years later I look back on that moment and I’m really kinda glad it happened. It taught my that I had to seriously toughen up if I wanted to keep partaking in a platform like Instagram and I’m glad now I have gained a thicker skin and learnt to not take notice of certain things. Social media in general is a place where people share opinions whether good or bad and sometimes you may just come on the receiving end of it. It’s awful that there are people out there looking to tear others down so willingly but learning to take no notice of them is always a greater victory.

Jealousy is no-ones friend

It’s not uncommon knowledge that there is a side to social media which can bring out a little green eyed monster in the best of us. Small moments of doubt start creeping up on you as you wonder why perhaps you didn’t get chosen for a job which everyone under the sun seems to be doing. Or why doesn’t your hair effortlessly tumble and shine like hers? If I stop eating McDonald’s like every other day my skin will finally look glowing and Instagram worthy, RIGHT? After a little too much time staring at your Instagram home feed you can catch yourself obsessing over the thing’s you wish you could change, whether it be about your feed or even yourself. For me this month I came to the conclusion that my hair is the actual devil and should I just do a Britney Spears circa 2007 and shave it all off. Buy myself a wig and rise to the top courtesy of my new hair do. Because yes, good hair is clearly the answer to success.

The truth is when you begin thinking like this then it really is a fun sucker and can slowly siphon out the joys of what you really are in this blogging game for. For me it’s to release my inner creative being, create content I’m proud of and to really just make a name for myself whilst enjoying what I do. I slowly began realising that allowing these menial thoughts to overtake my views on my work and myself was not allowing me to grow and progress. At the end of the day allowing negative thoughts to trickle through is disruptive and just not an option tbh. Sometimes you just gotta put the blinkers on, look forward and focus solely on yourself and not on what others are doing.

Separating real life from internet life

Recently I have been far too good at this unfortunately. Instead of spending even a little time focusing on my social media platforms I have been completely distant from them. Albeit, yes I have just moved house so I’ve not really had my head in the game recently but my step back from it all has made me also realise how much time I had invested previously into it.

I had managed to get myself to a point this year where I was happily posting away daily and trying to engage with my followers as much as possible. This meant not only making sure to reply to all the comments on my own photos but to also go out there and share the love on the photos of the people I follow. Doing this everyday is time consuming. That’s a fact. Often I found myself apologising to friends as I disengaged from a conversation just so I could get my latest post up at that perfect peak time. Though I don’t think this is the wurst friendship crime to commit it’s also something that I wasn’t proud of as I didn’t want to feel like an app on my phone was consuming my life.

Not only did I feel like the amount of time I spent on it was something to try and step back from but also how much I cared about the integrals of it. The algorithm that annoys everyone. Or how one photo got more likes than another. My time off recently has made me realise it’s time to bring it back to the basics. Post on Instagram because I want to, not because I have to. Spend time on it and genuinely comment on photos because I like them and not because I feel like it will boost my own.

I am the first person to say I believe that to get somewhere you need to put in the hard work. Yet I am also someone who believes you must find a balance between the both as well. That is where I am right now with adjusting my view to not let it all get on top of me, I’m learning to understand the importance of what is truly important. After-all, 20 years down the line will I really care about how many likes I used to get on an Instagram post?

A support network like no other

I have touched on this matter time and time again but that’s largely because it’s something that truthfully has stuck with me the most from day one of blogging. The support you will experience in this community is like no other I have experienced before. And this is because the encouragement you receive is actually coming from people who are essentially strangers. These people don’t know you apart from the persona you choose to project on the internet yet they still choose to clap for you when you post a fire pic on Instagram, get a great brand collab opportunity or even just write a good post on the blog.

It is thanks to blogging that I have managed to meet some girls who have not become just blogging friends but way way more than that. They have become real life friends who I spend time with gossiping about life drama, stuffing our faces on food dates and even just curling up and watching films together, true kinda friends. Discovering this kind of support network has been so good for my own personality too as it has encouraged me to be so much more vocal and speak my praise as loud as possible to other people. I used to be so shy in the past and scared to over compliment someone in case they thought I was weird. LOL. Now try and stop me singing your praises, I am hear to cheer. Becoming part of such a loving community (asides the odd crazy drama) has been so good for the soul.

*This post was sponsored by Henry Watches

Shop my outfit

Dress – Nobody’s Child

Watch – Henry Watches*

Sunglasses – Rayban

Bag – H&M

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Author: Natasha Todd