4 Ways To Quit Social Media Falseness

Social media is a tricky trickster isn’t it? You don’t even log in to anything anymore, you just type the first couple of letters into your URL bar and up it comes. That’s when you’re faced with utter information overload. Opinions stated as though they are fact, edited photos on edited backgrounds, it’s impossible to tell whether you’re looking at something real or entirely curated?

At the end of 2018, I realised I was becoming more and more irritated with a certain aspect of blogging: the falseness of it all. I probably shouldn’t let it affect me so much but when I see bloggers admitting that they’ve only bought something for a post or I see heavily photoshopped pictures, it really grates on me. I gave it some thought over the last few weeks and that’s when it hit me. I don’t have to engage with it. What a simple concept that just hadn’t occurred to me because I spend so much time online.

In the past year, if not longer, I’ve found myself totally perplexed by the constant stream of successful bloggers preaching that the way to ‘get ahead’ is to ‘be yourself,’ yet when you take a step back and look at what these bloggers are writing about and how they look, it’s hard to tell one from the other.

I’ve seen a lot of posts and videos already this year about curating what you see online and I’m so here for it but as well as cutting down on the accounts that I follow on social media, I also want to set myself some social media rules.

  1. If you like something, tell someone

    I’m so bad for thinking a post or a photograph is so wonderful and being too shy/awkward to say anything to the poster. There are so many bloggers out there who I really admire but have never told for fear of them thinking I’m weird, when in reality, I know that if someone said that to me I’d love it.

  2. No fake commenting

    I’m pretty good with this anyway, but I have to admit that I’ve typed ‘gorgeous photo,’ one too many times into Instagram when I don’t actually mean it. This year I’m only commenting when I mean it and saving my praise for the people who deserve it most.

  3. Unfollow everything that makes you feel bad

    Over-edited photographs, fitness accounts and beauty bloggers are things that I just don’t like. I would say that I’m reasonably confident in myself but some of these accounts still make me feel like I need to change things about myself. Last night I cut down both my Twitter and Instagram accounts that I’m following by half and I know this will make a huge difference this year.

  4. Go against the grain

    When I first started blogging I knew what I was writing about and I didn’t care if it wasn’t always a popular topic. Now I find myself with draft posts that I’m too scared to hit publish on. 2019 is a year for risk-taking and I’m ready to find my place in the blogging world again.

These are some small ways that I’m getting over the falseness of the blogging community and I hope that they pay off this year. Have you set yourself any social media resolutions for the new year? Let me know in the comments!

Rachel x-x-x

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Talking About It

Since starting my blog, I’ve always declared myself as a ‘mental health blogger.’ My aim has always been to write about mental wellbeing and ways to improve emotional health. I tend to refrain from talking about my own mental health as I don’t think this would be particularly helpful for readers or myself. As I make the move from student nurse to qualified mental health nurse in the next few weeks, I’ve made the tough decision to take my blog in a slightly different direction. This isn’t to say that I won’t still be sharing snippets of my life, but things are going to go back to the vision I had for my blog initially: to educate, to provoke thought and mostly, to help.

So welcome to No Space For Milk 2.0.

Even in the three short years that I’ve been blogging, things have changed immensely online regarding awareness of mental health. Most of this has been really positive. We’re talking about mental health a lot more, it’s getting easier to signpost people to help and things like taking anti-depressants are becoming much more normalised, rather than a taboo.

But sadly, we still have a really long way to go, particularly in the ways we talk about mental health online.

There appears to be much more understanding of both anxiety and depression online. People are beginning to talk more openly about the realities of these mental illnesses, the ways that they can manifest differently for different people and how we can help ourselves and each other. But at times it almost feels like we’ve gone backwards. It’s very clear from reading online that many people think all ‘millennials’ have anxiety or that depression is a form of laziness. Of course, we could all just give little thought to the people who believe these things, but that’s difficult when you’re dealing with anxiety or depression, especially for those who struggle to leave the house. If your world becomes social media, you might be seeing these opinions daily and it’s easy to allow those to infiltrate your brain, making you feel worse about yourself.

However, I do think that on the whole, that anxiety and depression are some of the more well understood illnesses.

Despite the fact that it’s becoming more and more okay to talk about anxiety and depression, unfortunately there’s still a huge amount of stigma around other mental illnesses. Schizophrenia, personality disorders and bipolar disorder continue to conjure images of psychiatric hospitals, axe-wielding maniacs and an assumption that people living with these illnesses cannot maintain a ‘normal’ life. This is completely untrue but perhaps more understandable when we see the way the media portray these mental illnesses. However, those who use social media have the power to change perceptions so when we talk about mental health, we should also be talking about the more complex illnesses.

Finally, there’s the ongoing debate of awareness vs action that I repeatedly see on Twitter. I’m a big believer that any small change is worthy and will contribute to bigger change. I also think that in regard to mental health, awareness is equally as important as action, however it seems that my opinion isn’t shared by everyone. While it would be amazing if there was something we could do to improve waiting times for therapies or find more inpatient beds for those in need, for many of us, the most we can do is help to build awareness of mental health conditions. And, social media is a fantastic platform for that, if we can continue to use it in a helpful way.

Do you think talking about mental health issues online is helpful? Let me know your thoughts in the comments!

Rachel x-x-x

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Why I Stopped Hate Following

Ahh social media, the technology that allows us to continue viewing the lives of people we no longer see, care about or even like.

If you’re not a hate follower then I commend you. For as long as social media has existed I have been friends with people on Facebook whose content really riles me up, I’ve avoided following people on Instagram yet continued to have a look like their profiles every once in a while and I’ve failed to unfollow Twitter users whose lives are a trainwreck.

Whether it’s insecurity or just humanity, most of us prefer reading the bad to seeing people’s successes. A huge Twitter argument? You can bet I’m refreshing that timeline like nobody’s business. A giant relationship break all over Facebook? I’m probably screenshotting to discuss with my friends. Let’s not pretend we don’t do these things. Unless it truly it just me in which case I’m just a horrible person.

But as I’ve matured (read: aged), I’ve realised that I’m way more interested in seeing people do well and be happy than I am in petty gossip and moaning Insta stories.

These days I’m getting better at this hate-following thing, and by getting better, I mean I’ve stopped doing it. As is human nature, putting others down can feel therapeutic and help you feel like you’re growing socially but in reality, it’s not cool at all. On the other hand, supporting others and building your pals up is incredibly cool.

If you think you’re guilty of a hate-follow, here’s what I did to curb that horrible habit.

  1. Unfollow all of the people you hate-follow. Every single one. Even that friend from school’s mum who writes horrifically racist statuses.
  2. Maybe cut down on your social media use. If you’re spending enough time on social media that you’re searching accounts out to make yourself feel better, then perhaps it’s time to quit that.
  3. Interact! Instead of silently creeping around on the internet, taking sneaky screenshots to send to your friends, use some of that negative energy and transform it into engaging with others. Send your pals funny memes, compliment them on their selfies and mean it! Do anything that’s not being judgy mcjudgerson.

Finally, no one’s perfect. I think everyone has hate-followed some time in their lives, so you’re not a terrible person! But it’s definitely a habit that’s far easier to pick up than it is to break!

Rachel x-x-x

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When “Likes” Take Over

Back in the good old days, hitting double digits for likes on an Instagram photo made you feel like you’d made it. When the names of who liked your photo turned to numbers, it felt even better. But then you realised that you only had 24 likes, and your friend had 40. Now the numbers are multiplied even further. On a good day I can get 200 likes on an Instagram photo and on the bad days, maybe I’ll get 50. And does it make me feel bad when I see those lower numbers. Yeah, kind of.

It feels like I’m admitting a strange secret. It almost feels pathetic. Surely the number of likes on an Instagram photo shouldn’t factor into whether I have a good day or not. But we love the likes. We live on the likes we receive. And when we don’t get them, it hurts.

There are a million more important things to worry about: health, relationships, getting a degree, buying a house, having enough money to live on, the state of the country. So why are so fixated on social media likes?

Humans crave attention and of course we’re going to go find it in the easiest ways. Thankfully for the internet, social media is a shortcut to feeling good about ourselves. The likes satisfy us, however fleetingly. Everyone likes to be liked and someone pressing a button on their screen makes you feel better about yourself.

So is there something wrong with us for craving this gratification? I don’t think so. In the same way that we feel good about ourselves briefly when we get lots of attention on a photo, we don’t sit in sorrow when we don’t achieve our wanted number of likes (it just makes us feel sad for a millisecond). It’s just easier to gain and lose people’s attention nowadays. And I think as long as you’re aware of this then it’s not so harmful.

If posting a photo and getting lots of likes makes you feel good then post away, but if you’re feeling sad when you don’t get as many likes as you want, maybe it’s time to take a little break from the apps that are making you feel this way.

When someone likes my photos, I try not to feel like it’s any kind of reflection on me. It’s just a photo and all people need to do is press a button to like it. It can mean as little or as much as you want it to, but sometimes it’s better not to think too much into it.

Do likes on social media make you feel good? Or do you see them as superficial?

Rachel x-x-x

 

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Twitter is an Angry Place

This morning I scrolled down my Twitter timeline as I do every day when I wake up. It didn’t take me long to find an angry tweet – something about the blogging community being divided. You know the kind of tweet I’m talking about.

Normally I roll my eyes, and carry on down my feed. But today I didn’t. Something about the tweet really riled me up but instead of just letting it bother me I’m trying to channel it into this post.

Now I’m absolutely not saying that we shouldn’t be posting any kind of negativity on Twitter. I can definitely be a negative Nancy at times, and it’s really important that we don’t only post the highlights of our lives.

But this constant division of ‘writers’ and ‘bloggers’ which I’ve seen growing and growing in recent weeks, as well as the inevitable ‘Just @ me next time’ tweets have left me feeling disillusioned and confused about whether I want to be using Twitter at all.

Most of the people I have on Twitter are over 18, so why are we all acting so childish? Cliques will form inevitably, but the mentality of ‘If my best friend doesn’t like you, I don’t like you,’ is ridiculous. Form your own opinions. Don’t judge based on interactions that you haven’t seen for yourself. Arguments escalate on Twitter far more quickly than in real life and users are so quick to jump down someone’s throat.

Just remember that people make mistakes when they’re tweeting. Opinions don’t always sound the way they were intended and it’s so easy to get the wrong end of the stick.

So remember what your mother taught you: Think before you speak and If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all.

Rachel x-x-x

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