Beauty, Fashion, Travel, Fitness, Wellness and Lifestyle Blog | Emtalks

Friday, 18 May 2018

Judging Our Self Worth On Instagram Likes - Validation From Likes On Social Media?

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Shop the top / shop the trousers and similar here / hair by Tatty at Sassoon 

We live in a funny old world, one day Instagram was a random app where I thought it was the best way to get a vintage filter on my pics, (seriously, I was editing photos on there and uploading them for months before I realised other people could see, social media fail). The next minute, I was seeing girls with millions of followers, beautiful bodies and seemingly perfect lives. Now, people have careers because of the app. Instagram has definitely always been a 'highlights reel' and if you read my Is Social Media Dangerous? post, you'll know I understand that. I understand there are always gonna be people in different or seemingly better situations than me and it's taken me a long while to stop comparing myself. I understand in my rational mind (the non-over thinking part of my brain) that Instagram is a place for aesthetically pleasing and seemingly perfect images but I also know that these images probably took 100 takes, with 10 filters and just because someone looks happy on the image, it certainly doesn't mean they're happy in themselves. So, today I want to talk about judging our self-worth on Instagram likes or, social media likes. I'm guilty of it, so many of my friends have become victims of it and this post has been brewing for a long time.
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Every day I see a post on my Twitter (@emshelx) feed from someone feeling down because of the Instagram algorithm, or, someone puts a photo on their stories saying 'new photo on my feed'. This is even from people who don't use Instagram as a business, just people who want people to actually see their photos. Have you ever felt personally victimised by Regina George? I mean, Instagram... I get it, if you read my social media tips blog post you'll probably remember me discussing the Instagram algorithm. In short: social platforms get to a certain size and have to make money so they start charging for reach or, by adding adverts. Facebook charge you to reach audiences and now, Instagram are doing the same. I totally understand this, I love Instagram and I am so grateful for them, just like I need a wage, they need a wage too so I fully understand why they are capping peoples reach unless they pay to be pushed out. It's exactly what's happened with Facebook and now sadly, unless you're a big brand with crazy money who's willing to pay, you can't really get organic reach. However, even with these insights, it still gets to me. Yep, there are much bigger, real issues going on in the world and I'll always use my voice to talk about them, but equally, I'm seeing people judge their self-worth based on likes on a daily basis and feeling it myself, so I felt this was an important topic. 

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I tell my friends in the social media world this daily: the problem isn't you, or your content, you are no longer in control. Ultimately, an app, or even YouTube, is in control. I ask myself daily, is it my content? But I know people who put the best content out ever and still aren't being pushed out. I'm kind of tired of people saying (not to me, but with indirect tweets) 'make your content better' sadly we all know, this isn't the case, there's more to these apps than just putting good content out. I went to a talk with Aimee Song and even she said, she would wake up with 1000 new followers back in the day on Instagram when she was posting very average content.

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We all work tirelessly to create content so it can seem unfair when some people are flying. Sometimes though, it is luck of the draw with these algorithms. I want everyone to do well, I truly do. I want my friends to do well and I get a kick out of seeing people succeed. Obviously, on the flip side of this, there are some people who have worked incredibly hard to build such an incredibly loyal audience and actually, they beat any algorithm because their audience will follow them wherever they go. I'd like to use Lydia Millen as an example of this, girl boss queen. She is someone who is so real on her vlogs etc, she doesn't do stuff with the crowd and is truly herself. Even if an app tried to block her reach, her audience would still find her and support her. Lydia is proof that hard work pays off so please, if like me, Instagram makes you feel down (as stupid as it sounds) know that eventually, hard work will pay off and you may not be the problem, it may be an algorithm. Ultimately though, please remember, likes really do not define you, your self-worth or how good your content is. Like I said, you could have the best content in the world, and only get 5 likes, it doesn't mean you are any less of a person. Again on my social media tips post, I talked about how important it is to just be you. Let's stop conforming to algorithms, trying to post at the right time. Do what makes you happy. From now on, I wont be complaining about a video/blog post/photo going out, I will post what I like and feel proud of it.

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 It's sad but true, we sometimes validate our self-worth on likes. Even people I work with validate my self-worth on likes, or I've even been at events where people won't speak to me because they're busy looking for the next big person to grow from. Validating our self-worth based on likes or shares is completely wrong but I'm guilty of it. Why is it that one photo gets 3000 likes and the next gets 1000? The algorithm is a game, it's a game I don't want to play, on an app I once adored and it really can affect my mind. There, I said it. I let an app affect my mind. I feel like so many people are basing their self-worth due to a number that's constantly going up and down. The worrying thing? This isn't just me. I could name a handful of people who have opened up to me and said they have felt the same recently. I was scared to talk about this but you know what, I'm glad I have. I never want anyone else to beat themselves up and question themselves because of a social media platform. We have better, other, more meaningful things to use our energy on. This is the thing, I know this so it annoys me even more that I let something so insignificant bother me. So here are a few tips which are helping me at the moment and I hope they'll help you too. 

white wide leg trousersShop the top / shop the trousers and similar here / hair by Tatty at Sassoon 

> Chasing the dream life on Instagram  - Don't chase it, it doesn't exist. Chase your own dream life. As most of us know now, that 'dream life' on Instagram? First, there was probably an argument about a camera, then a £1000 hotel bill and 1000 takes (blocking bins out of the way) followed by 16 filters. Obviously, I'm over exaggerating and yes, some people do have seemingly immaculate lives but, as a rule of thumb, try and remember that Instagram is a highlights reel. People post the best of their week. I guess that's why I like vlogs, I can cry on them, I can show my spots. I can show a bit more realness. 

> Don't compare yourself - I talk about this all the time and just like I know complaining about Instagram is a pain, I know comparing myself is a pain too, but I'm still guilty of it. Comparison really is the thief of joy. We are all different. We all have different stories. You may think that girl on Instagram has a perfect body but I bet she has bad days too. It's Mental Health Awareness Week this week and I think it is so important to hammer home the fact that mental health is invisible, someone may be smiling on the outside but you have no idea how they feel on the inside. Avicii is a prime example of this and it breaks my heart. On the outside, an attractive, popular, ridiculously successful young man with the world at his feet but none of that matters if you're not feeling good within your mind. If this is something you are struggling with, I'd highly recommend anonymously speaking to The Samaritans. 

> Be happy for others - I've realised in life that sadly, sometimes, people just cannot be happy for you. Ultimately, this says more about that person than you and I do think it takes a good person to be happy for others. If you are feeling a bit 'meh', I totally get why you'd be a little envious of others. We've all been there but, the minute you start complimenting others and genuinely feeling happy for others with their achievements and recognizing we are all different, the better for everyone. Lighting someone else's candle will not blow out your own flame and a flower doesn't compete with the flower next to it, it just blooms. Equally, as I said above, don't be jealous of the girl with the Gucci bag, she probably has bad days too. In fact, I can guarantee she has had her own battles. I guess this is why social media can be dangerous, we are guilty of portraying a perfect life sometimes and maybe we do need to all be a bit more real. 

> Support others - If someone puts a photo up now, I consciously make an effort to like it and comment, usually, we are all in the same boat. I'm gonna big everyone up. One small compliment can make someones day, you have that power. If you like someones content, shout them out! 

> Choose your timeline - You are in control of your timeline. I went through a period of feeling incredibly down every time I saw drama on my timeline. I'm a bad over thinker and I'd assume it was directed at me (of course, it wasn't but I hate conflict so always assume the worst) and actually, as soon as I unfollowed or muted those people who made me feel on edge, and, stopped scrolling. The better. My timelines are now full of incredible people who support each other. Yes, we all have bad days and it's okay to share that, but we don't rip each other apart. It can really help your mind if you're scrolling and you are constantly seeing goodness on your feeds, or, it's helped mine anyway. 

> Keep posting - If you are someone who struggles with social media algorithms etc, firstly, read my social media tips post but secondly, please don't stop posting. We started this because we have a passion, yep it's damn frustrating that all of our audience isn't seeing our stuff but I use it as a fire in my belly, it only ignites my passion further. It definitely isn't all down to content, but it makes me want to up my content game, be a bit more real, be a bit more me and stop trying to conform so much. 

Your self-worth comes from so much more than 'likes' or a following number. I know we live in a social media obsessed world, one I contribute to daily and adore (I am SO grateful to do this for a living) but also, one I've seen the dark side of. We are all equal. I never ever want any of you guys to feel like you're not good enough, based on A NUMBER, whether you're a blogger, you want to be a blogger or, you just use social media to connect with friends. You are a human, there's more to you than a number. Please, let's remember that.

Lots of love, Em x

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