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Thursday, 22 June 2017

Is Social Media Dangerous?

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This is a blog post idea I’ve been toying with for quite some time now. The topic ‘is social media dangerous/making people unwell’ hits us on a weekly basis, with social media platforms and bloggers regularly getting bashed or, sometimes just debated. I really wanted to put my thoughts together on this topic in the hope that it helps someone or, just welcomes a healthy debate. Let’s do this. Do you think social media is dangerous? 
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Positivity - Positivity is something I’d like to start by discussing. I was told by someone years ago ‘never be negative online, people aren’t here to read negativity, they want to see positivity’. As far as I’m concerned, this is wrong. That's just my opinion though and I totally understand if you are a person who wants to keep all things rainbows and sunshine on your social feeds, or if you're a reader and use blogs as an escape so choose to only watch the positive. For me though, actually, that’s not real? Fair enough and kudos to you if your life is genuinely so perfect (I'm jealous!), but for me, I like to follow people who yes, they show wanderlust and they show the best times, with their aspirational and motivational feeds but they have struggles too, just like the rest of us. I do think social media can be dangerous if we only show the best parts which is why personal blog posts and raw vlogs are so important. I always make sure I put regular personal posts and vlogs up to show people my real life. I agree that positivity is so important in life, negativity really can lower our moods and bring us all down but sometimes it helps to put a perspective on life. People may use blogs as a way of escaping which is so great but actually, never forget how important realness is too. We are all different and some people want to show positivity only whilst some how raw things. I guess that's why the online world is so great, it's so diverse and you can choose who you follow.

Remember - Never forget the people you are watching probably go through similar issues to you, or have been through issues themselves, no matter how they portray themselves. You don’t know what that ‘perfect girl on Instagram’ went through to get that image, or what’s really going on in her life. I did a blog post similar to this a while ago and talked about how on Instagram, I’d be sat at a perfect bar but actually, I was in bits over a family illness.  Take yesterday for example, I'm walking through LA on the road trip of my dreams and I had a breakdown in the middle of the street over an issue that is so raw and is going on in my life every single day.




Don’t take it too seriously - I spoke to BBC Radio One about this recently and was saying I feel I have a great audience who take a platform like Instagram with a pinch of salt, they understand that some people only put the best filtered versions of themselves on Instagram and you know what? That’s totally okay. If I’m completely honest, I love following aspirational and inspirational people on Instagram. They inspire me to move more, cook better and just live my life to the full. They give me that urge to fly somewhere exotic and I know those people work really hard (or the people I follow anyway). I know how long it takes to get that photograph. If someone makes me feel crap, I’ll just unfollow but generally, I never look at someone and think ‘they make me feel bad’ as I recognise there's a real person behind that perfectly shot image. Generally I use people who are seemingly more successful etc as a huge inspiration and motivation for my own life. You can choose who works for you and who doesn't and what to take from it.

Platforms - This takes me onto the different platforms on social media. I follow people on YouTube for realness and rawness and find myself engrossed in vlogs rather than proffesionally shot videos, however there are a few YouTubers who's beautifully put together cinematographic videos I just adore. However, with Instagram I’m all about kick-ass motivating women with fabulous healthy mindsets and beautiful imagery. I love seeing stunning photos. It really depends which platform you’re on, I put totally different content on Instagram as to what I put on YouTube for example. Again though, this is a personal choice, you're not forced to follow anyone, maybe you love someones videos but their Instagram doesn't make you feel too great. That's okay. 

Mental Health - I was asked if I think social media contributes towards mental health problems and it’s a really tough one. My family have been through a lot in the last year and one of the topics very close to my heart is mental illnesses. You can’t really blame a person online for giving someone mental health problems (depending on what they've done) what matters is getting that person to talk and getting them professional help. I understand that mental health problems may be triggered by images in magazines or photos on social media, but no-one is to blame. Talking is key. In my eyes, mental health problems have been around for a long time, people just didn’t speak about them. If someone has a mental health problem, many things can trigger it, whether it's a girl on Instagram, or a person in a magazine. What’s key is that influencers do so much good for mental health nowadays, by opening up about their struggles and that really makes me proud. I've been doing a lot recently to raise money for mental health charities and share pages like the Samaritans. I really think using our voices to discuss real life issues (which may seem 'negative') is so so important as then we get positive results and get really important messages across. For example, I may seem really negative because I shared the stats about how many young people commit suicide, but sadly it is real life and if I can help one person with this tweet, then my job is done. I hope that makes sense.

Are bloggers relatable? - Yep, that old chestnut. This is something I could write about forever. I like to think, as I’m growing up and my tastes are changing (who remembers my awful hair back in the day?) you guys are growing up with me. You’re not looking at me and saying ‘omg Em bought some Gucci shoes she is SO unrelatable now’. You understand, I worked hard and I fell in love and treated myself. It doesn't mean I'm no longer me. Everyone is different and someone who only shops at Gucci and Waitrose may be relatable to one person whereas someone who shops at Primark and Topshop may be relatable to another. I shop at so many places. I personally don’t see anyone as ‘unrelatable’ as I follow people to be inspired. It depends why you follow someone. At the end of the day, I am just myself and I do hope people can relate to this. Peoples tastes can change though and change isn't necessarily a bad thing. I am so different now to how I was in school.

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The Blogging Sphere - Another look at the ‘unrelatable’ debate. Bloggers *sometimes* get stick for being too professional now with their imagery which I think is an interesting one. I get it, blogging originally started out with girls sat in their bedrooms shooting on iPhones but you know what? Let's embrace that we are being taken seriously by some of the best brands in the world. It’s so exciting, the way blogging is going, I can’t believe some of the campaigns my friends are working on and I cannot believe the content they’re producing, it’s good enough to be in Vogue. Remember, you are your niche and there is room for us all on this huge space called the internet. Clap for those doing well. My friends and people around me are killing it and it only inspires me more. To me, Vogue style editorial imagery is beautiful and I appreciate it but if you are someone who prefers the ‘old school’ blogging, that’s fine and there are still people out there who just write. The best thing about blogging is you can be an 'old school blogger' or a 'Vogue-esque' blogger, there's no say, it really is up to you. I just write when I love to write and follow such a range of people. I honestly don’t think it makes someone any less relatable if they are producing quality content but, at the same time, I try to keep my blog higher quality image wise and with my vlogs it really is just my day to day natural life, that's just the way my blog has grown. I really love taking photographs. I like to have a balance and show you all aspects of my life. Read my blog post about bloggers and sponsored content because that's a whole new debate. I also wrote a blog post about people using Instagram bots if you fancy a read.

The Bottomline? You can use social media exactly how you wish, whether it’s to have a good old cry along to someones wedding vlog, only follow people who talk about health, you love following people for drama, for real life or, if you love the glossy Vogue style blogs and perfect Instagrams. That’s the beauty of the online world, there’s no right or wrong, one day you may want to read a parenting blog and the next day you may want to read Vogue. I just hope you, as readers recognise how much I appreciate your support with me. Ultimately, there are a lot of ways social media can be dangerous, it's important to follow people that work for you and if you are struggling, please do talk. The Samaritans are amazing if you need to talk to someone. *Please note, a totally separate topic would be 'is the internet dangerous' as I'm aware there are so many dangers to the internet! 

Thank you so much for reading!

How do you feel about this topic?

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Lots of love, Em x

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