When it comes to sharing aspects of your life online, I am somewhat of an old hand – I have been on YouTube for over 10 years and have been blogging for nearly as long. Before either of those platforms existed, I’d spend hours creating pages on free sites like Matmice and Piczo to showcase my personal style and host information about my music and interests. Over the many years that I’ve been active online, I have discovered a great deal about myself, others and this digital world we’re living in. Here are just some of those lessons I learned the hard way…
Not Everyone Is Your Friend
This is actually a lesson I am still learning, in many ways. The blogging community is the same as any other – you’re always going to get the good eggs and the, well, less good eggs. I have a very open, friendly nature, and in the past I have perhaps allowed some to take advantage of it. I have been burned by fellow bloggers on a number of occasions (in both obvious and more subtle ways) but I’ve always tried to stay positive about the community as a whole. Just because someone has a lot of followers online, it doesn’t automatically mean they’re a great person to know on a friendship level.
It can also be tough to lose those you considered ‘blogger friends’ along the way, whether it’s via an unexplained unfollow on Twitter or a general phasing out. I did speak out recently about the issue in this tweet, though this could easily apply to non-blogging friends too. Ultimately, I’ve learned to be a little more cautious about who I let into my life – it’s vital to have a real connection with a fellow blogger, and have more in common than just your online work.
It Can Be Hard To Avoid Drama & Negativity
When you’ve been blogging as long as I have, you come into contact with your fair share of drama – not first hand in my experience (or not often, at least), but it’s hard to ignore what goes on on social media. Lately I feel there has been a lot of negativity surrounding bloggers, whether we’re talking over-edited photos, undisclosed sponsorships or poorly worded interviews, and it can start to taint your view of the industry.
For me personally, whilst all of the above have felt suitably negative, the sense that you’re at the mercy of the YouTube/Instagram algorithms has had a pretty big impact on how I feel about my online career. Just this morning I woke up wondering whether it was time to pack it all in, but I’m trying to hush those thoughts and focus on moving onwards and upwards. This industry requires a HUGE amount of self-motivation, and it’s not always easy to come by, especially with the over-saturation of each platform. You’ve just got to keep trying new things and rising above the things designed to bring you down.
Device Addiction Is Real
To be fair, I’d say most people experience this from time to time whether they’re a blogger or not. The temptation to keep constantly checking your phone, iPad, laptop and camera roll is overwhelming at times, and you have to keep yourself in check to avoid it becoming a real problem. Not only is this incessant checking not so awesome for your own wellbeing, it can start to affect those around you too – ever met a friend for coffee or had a date night when you suddenly realised you hadn’t spoken for 5 minutes as you were both sat there scrolling through your phones? I have in the past, and I hate it. It’s all about knowing when to switch off.
I have definitely experienced a bit of FOMO when I’ve had a night off from social media, but real life is always more important. It’s sometimes a good plan to schedule a few tweets to help promote your new video or blog post instead of doing it as-and-when of an evening – I’ll always much prefer spending that time with Tiz chatting about our days.
There Are Good & Bad Sides To Oversharing
Over the years, there are times when I have perhaps overshared online – on some of these occasions the overshare has been for a very good reason (for example, when I went into huge detail about my PAP Smear experience and abnormal results – it meant so much that I could inspire others to get checked out) and on some occasions it hasn’t gone so well. I’m not quite ready to go into detail yet, but something pretty rubbish happened to me earlier this year after I spoke out about something I believe in online (I still very much believe in said topic, and whilst I don’t necessarily think this was ‘oversharing’ others might have). I don’t know when I’ll want to discuss this further, but I’ll keep you posted. You’ll understand why, I’m sure…
It’s vital to remember that anything you put out there online could end up being much more widely received than you initially realise, which can be a great, but could have potential downsides. The internet is a huge part of our lives now and it’s important to stay mindful of what you say and do, and the ways in which you do it too.
The Disappointment Factor
I touched on feelings of disappointment when talking about algorithms in my second point, but there are other kinds of setbacks you can experience in the blogging world. From missing out on brand deals to that event invitation never arriving, it can be easy to get disheartened and compare yourselves to others too readily. I have very much learned to put this out of my mind as the years have gone by – events can be lovely but in many ways I’ve had my fill of them (there are obvious exceptions, of course) and brand deals aren’t the be-all-and-end-all of blogging.
Comparison is, without a doubt, the thief of joy. If we all compared ourselves to others 24/7, we’d be nothing but miserable and life is frankly way to short. Of course, I have days where this gets the better of me but as a rule I try to let those kind of thoughts go as quickly as possible. It’s much more valuable to focus on making your own work fabulous!
I know this has been a very frank and honest post (perhaps too honest…) but you guys know that’s what I’m all about. I’d love to know your own thoughts as always, so please do leave me a little comment below!
(Note: all of the photos in this post were taken by the super talented Jack Gracie! Be sure to check out his amazing Instagram page.)