One thing that I have really struggled with internally as I try to grow my blog is the whole obsession with gaining a “following.” There is this notion that to be a successful blogger, you need to have hundreds of thousands of followers on social media profiles like instagram, facebook, and twitter, as well as your blog. It makes sense that if we created our blog to share ideas and inspiration, we need to get our ideas and inspiration out there to people somehow. So the more people that we are exposing ourselves to on social media, the more people we are inspiring. Right?
Well, that is kind of where it gets sketchy. It is extremely easy to completely forget why you started your blog in the first place, and suddenly be obsessed with creating blog content and social media content that is solely designed to get more likes and followers. There are tons and tons of articles on the internet that explain how to get more likes on instagram or how to get more followers on your blog. These articles will give you tips such as having really amazing photographs or posting at a certain time of the day or posting consistently every single day. So all of a sudden, you become obsessed with all of these things you are supposed to be doing as a blogger so that you can be successful. You start looking at everything as an opportunity for a great instagram shot or a blog post idea, because you are under pressure to post something amazing that you are doing every single day!
It becomes absolutely overwhelming and exhausting. I have found myself many times looking at other bloggers on instagram and comparing myself to them, thinking that I will never get to their level of success because my life just isn’t as photograph worthy – I am not traveling the globe wearing glamorous clothing every day and having a professional photographer pose and edit my life to make it look amazing. So, in turn, I convince myself that I will never have hundreds of thousands of followers unless I start doing those things.
Among all of these obsessive comparisons and worries about appearing to have an amazing life on social media, you start to forget why you even started your blog in the first place. It no longer becomes about inspiring people and lifting them up with your ideas, but rather how to appear like you’re living an incredible life all the time so that you will get tons of followers like all of the other “successful” bloggers.
Not only does it become exhausting trying to make yourself appear perfect on social media, but you never know who you might be making feel unworthy by comparison. If someone looks at the photoshopped image of you in front of the eiffel tower wearing designer clothing, will they feel uplifted and inspired, or depressed and unworthy? Your viewers have no way of knowing that you actually had terrible travel anxiety that day and were extremely homesick and your shoes were super uncomfortable, but instead only get the picture-perfect version of your life.
I don’t know if you’ve heard of Essena O’Neill, but I followed her a while ago on instagram as a source of health inspiration. She has about 500,000 followers on instagram and 100,000 viewers on youtube. In the past couple of weeks, she announced that she is quitting social media because it is not real. She says that she realized she didn’t even know who she was without social media, because her life had become about constantly trying to create amazing instagram shots that will get tons of likes, or appearing perfect and beautiful online so she could get signed by a modeling agency. Everything she was spending her time on was not real.
I watched a couple of her videos on her decision to quit social media and I found it very inspiring. She has now created a blog called letsbegamechangers.com, in which she encourages a movement away from the fakeness of social media. She challenges everyone to take a one week break from social media just to see how much it is affecting your life, and how you feel without it.
I am definitely intrigued by this idea, and up for the challenge. I waste time in my personal life scrolling through social media and comparing myself to other bloggers. Think about all of the things you would have time for if you weren’t wasting time every day on instagram, twitter, tumblr, and facebook. You could do yoga or exercise first thing in the morning instead of scrolling in bed (I’m really bad about that one). You could have real face-to-face connections with people in your life instead of mindlessly looking at your phone. You could actually do things you enjoy for no other reason than that you love them, instead of doing things that you know will look good on instagram. It’s a very freeing thought, and I think it’s a wonderful way to reconnect with yourself.
I am also challenging myself not to get caught up in the social media race as a blogger, but instead focus on why I started this blog as i move foreward. My goal is to help other people feel inspired to live their best life, and to feel like living a healthy life is accessible and not intimidating. I will be keeping these goals in mind as I create blog content and social media content, rather than solely creating content that I think will help me get more followers. I hope that by doing it this way, I will create a real following of people who read my blog because it has great content and inspiration and it resonates with them.
I have been described in my life many times as “down to earth,” which is why I chose the title Down to Earth Dreamer. It is one of my favorite compliments because I believe it means that people feel that I am relatable, I care about other people, I don’t hold myself above others, and I want to be real. I have never been one of those fake girls that is obsessed with appearances. I like real connections, real ideas, and real people. So I will be going forth with that as the theme of my blog and social media – being real, and down to earth. I am focused on inspiring you all and lifting you up, not creating a fake version of myself online that will make you feel badly about your own life. Let’s inspire eachother and keep it real.
Thank you for reading,