My problem with social media

Over the last month, my relationship with social media has changed. Whereas once upon a time, heading on to Twitter to express my concerns over something, finding comfort in scrolling aimlessly through hundreds of tweets and just generally, zoning out of real life was my solace but now, I find myself… resenting that very thing. And it’s not only Twitter, don’t worry Twitter bby, I’m not singling u out. Some days, I can’t bare to look at Instagram and the thought of going on Facebook? Oh, hell no. My relationship with social media has changed. But why?

It’s no secret that I struggle massively with self esteem and self doubt problems. I wrote a pretty long and extensive post about that here. And on my bad days, being on social media can make it worse but of course, that’s not uncommon. But I only really noticed, I mean noticed how much of a negative impact social media was having on me last month. When you’re faced with beautiful people, gorgeous blogs, immaculate photography every single day it can be hard not to feel a little shite about yourself. Add crippling self doubt, rock-bottom self esteem and ripping yourself and every aspect of your being apart at every chance you get on top of that, well… that’s just a recipe for disaster really, isn’t it?

I know, I know, you shouldn’t compare someone’s “highlight reel” to your “every day” or however the saying goes but you can compare your selfies to someone else’s selfies. You can compare your blog to someone else’s blog. You can compare your photography to someone else’s photography. You can compare your success to someone’s else’s success. It may seem such a stupid, futile thing to some people but the longer I’ve been on social media and blogging, the more I’ve noticed now negatively affected I am by the stupidest little things that we rely on to gain self-worth. Like likes on a selfie or comments on a blog post. I’m focusing more and more on these insignificant little things and it’s not making me happy.

On a particular bad day a few weeks ago, I can’t remember what triggered it but it resulted in me having a huge rant on Twitter then abandoning social media for the rest of the day. It also resulted in me crying in the bathroom whilst I was trying to have a nice day with my boyfriend on his rare day off. It resulted in me mentally ticking off everything I hated about myself, everything that I wasn’t compared to other people. Everything I wish I was better at, everything I’ve done wrong, every way in which I am failing. To someone who has a pretty good grasp on their self worth, this may seem silly. And man, I am glad that you find that silly because that means you probably have never experienced these debilitating thoughts. Thoughts which, sadly, have often led to me wondering what the point is.

I don’t really know what the aim of this post was; just a general ramble that I needed to get off of my chest. I also understand how valuable and brilliant social media can be. If it wasn’t for social media, I wouldn’t be running my own business. I wouldn’t have had a lifeline when my anxiety was so bad I thought I’d never escape from that black hole. It’s been a lifeline for many, many people. It’s given people careers, inspiration, motivation, help, guidance, a platform to tell their story and a way to discuss important issues and educate people. It’s brilliant. There’s no denying that. And I’m grateful to have my platform and I’m grateful to be a part of it all. This is my issue and something that isn’t new. It’s something that I’ve just noticed hasn’t improved with the use of social media.

It’s so easy to compare yourselves to others these days. It’s easier than it ever has been before. A perfect life is right there on the screen in front of you for the world to see. The flawless selfies, the beautiful holidays, the big house and the dream car and the groups of laughing friends, the perfect relationship. We all have our inner demons that we have to contend with on a daily basis. And those with the seemingly perfect life has their too. We have to remember that the next time we’re tearing ourselves apart. But anyway, I’m not writing this to give some worldly advice on how to deal with this. Because if I knew, I wouldn’t be in this state I am now.

I’d love to hear about your relationship with social media. Love it or hate it? Has it changed since you started blogging? or over the past year? Let’s chat.

Looking for some new blogs to read? Check out these 2 amazing ladies!
Joyful Antidotes
The Lilac Linnet

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92 thoughts on “My problem with social media

  1. I can really relate to this!

    I will admit that due to my anxiety, everyday insecurities get heightened and social media sites such as Facebook and Instagram can tend to swing those insecurities into full action. For me it gets to the point where I’ll feel insecure over how much ‘likes’ someone gets on a photo- as if me getting less likes makes me a less likeable person! I know this is not rational thinking but when I’m at my lowest or if I’m having an anxious day, that’s when my insecurities come out to play!

    Thanks for sharing!

  2. When I read your post, I got reminded of another one that I had read on Medium a while ago. Here it is if you would like to read – https://medium.com/personal-growth/life-has-no-scorecard-2ffa0318e482. My relationship with social media is an impassive one. That is to say, I like to control it, but not be controlled by it. There are days when I just don’t log in and I feel perfectly fine and then there are days when I see something and immediately hate it. But then the key is to move on, to let only those things affect you that are worth your time and effort. 😀

  3. True. I have to keep some of the heinous torture I went through to myself as it is not positive. I have been told off at rock stars houses over dinner for having experienced things that their attempts to make out they went through not only bought the dinner… but the table and several houses around such tables.
    Yep….
    I am just grateful every morning that the bastard who did it to me neglected to steal my toilet paper too.
    My laughing at myself about it upsets all the voyeuristic wood bees even more.
    Gotham deserves a new class of welfare recipient.

  4. This is such a great post, Jenny! I suffer wth my mental health and it certainly can be exacerbated by social media. My favourite saying is ‘comparison is the thief of joy’. – which I absolutely think is true of social media. I think my relationship with social media is love/hate, however, it has also meant that on really bad down days, it’s allowed me to interact with people who feel the same way which has brought me some comfort!
    Kate x

      • Still got to put our feet on the ground. A lot of trial by social media out there helps Napoleon and Snowball… take another farm… by default. Faith can move mountains. We still got to use our spades

  5. I think we can all relate to this post. Especially those of us who are deep into the middle-age years. Most days, I can barely remember to wear deo, let alone put on make-up and brush my hair and yet everyone is on social media looking beautiful and having a fabulous time. It’s hard not to compare yourself. To be honest, I hardly use social media to be ‘social’ anymore. For me, it’s all about work: building my author platform, increasing my reach, etc. I’m so sick of looking at it for ‘work’ reasons, I don’t want to open it for ‘fun’. And don’t get me started about the negativity on social media. No one even mentioned the German elections on my social media because everyone’s obsessed with football! Seriously??? Meanwhile, I’m terrified that 13% of voters voted for an extreme right party. Oh boy. I’ve turned this comment into my own rant. Sorry!

    I just want to add that I enjoy your blog and social media. It’s one of the few blogs that I make an effort to read.

    • Thank you SO much! That’s such a lovely thing to hear (especially on such a morbid post haha!) it’s definitely not just the “middle years” for sure. I’m only 25 and the crippling self loathing I experience more often than I want to even admit ruins my life at times because I can compete and compare to some of these girls I see online but… like you, I HAVE to use social media for work. My business is online so I can’t get away from it! xx

  6. A really true post, and I think a lot of people suffer this in different wave lengths. I spend a lot of time during the week on social media whether its advertising, moaning, being nosy or generally just catching up. I do tend to shy off social media at the weekends as I think it’s good to have a break and some time for yourself, as it’s so easy to get caught up with others peoples lives and forget about your own well being. It can really consume you and I can really relate to not feeling good enough, sometimes those days are just a pain in the ass and you have to remember how far you have come! Your blog is amazing and something to be proud of, not compare! (Easier said than done!)

    Sarah | http://www.sazsinclair.com xx

  7. I have such a mixed relationship with social media – on one hand, it’s an excellent way to connect with like minded people, find inspiration for everything etc but as you said, it’s very easy to forget that social media isn’t representative of real life and the immaculate pictures are much more staged than they seem..and no wonder it can negatively impact the self esteem of so many people. Thank you for sharing your thoughts – it’s very important to be honest and open about these issues!

  8. I do like social media, but I think it takes up so much time. Like if I take a picture I have to put it on snapchat, then Facebook, then Instagram and it takes like 10 minutes just to plaster one photo everywhere. Or if I post a bookish photo I’ll put it on insta and my blog. In order to gain new followers and keep up with old ones I spend hours and hours a day posting on blogs and on Instagram, it’s good but it takes up so much time and effort.

    • It does take time and effort but that’s certainly a small price to pay in my opinion and needs to be done in order to grow your blog etc. I doubt anyone who’s REALLY successful did it through a fluke and only posted once a month! (: xz

  9. I have a love/hate relationship with it too. And I can’t even get started on the comparing. It’s a day to day battle, not really on looks (although Instagram “models” with their half-naked selves need to go) but in book sales, reader participation, etc. Blogs are my exception to the rule, though. I love coming here and reading. It’s Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram that give me a headache most days.

    • I agree – on a whole I find blogs SO positive, motivating and inspiring. I’ve never once read a blog and felt crap about myself afterwards. It’s certainly Twitter, Instagram etc but unfortunately it is the “looks” element I struggle with the most as I suffer from really bad self esteem xx

  10. I can relate to this so much. I used to compare myself with others and feel worse. I like Instagram more than Facebook nowadays. I like the mental health community on Instagram and on blogs. I support them and they support me. It’s helping me so ooo much and I love the people who share the good & the bad. No life is perfect.

  11. It’s hard to not compare yourself to others, I do it myself. I just have to remind myself that everyone is at a different place in their success (blog) and that not everyone’s lives are as happy as they always look. Mine certainly isn’t.

  12. Thank you for sharing your struggles. I relate in that I go through the same love/hate with social media and my entire self. I’m sorry you go through these things, too. I hope you’re on the “up” now. ❤

    • Thank you, I’m sorry to hear you struggle too. Unfortunately there’s never an “up” there’s just days and you just gotta deal with however you feel that day. But thankfully, today I’m okay (: xx

  13. I can definitely relate. I’ve actually talked about this on my blog as well. For me taking a break really helped. I got off everything for about a month and got my perspective readjusted. It’s hard to resist comparison but I try to admire people more than compare and I’ve gotten a lot better.

  14. I relate to this post so much! I had to have a break from social media earlier in the year because it was making my self esteem even worse than it already was, but I’m so glad it did because it really helped!

    • I’m so glad to hear it worked for you! I really wish I could do that and discipline myself to take a proper long break from it to see how it would impact my self esteem and mental health but I work for myself and my business is online so that’s not an option 😦 xx

  15. Such an interesting and well thought out post! Even as someone who has good self esteem (this hasn’t always been the case) I find myself comparing my photography, ability to pose, way with words, lack of humour, etc, etc, on social media. I’m very glad I grew up in a time before social media had really taken hold. I was a teenager when MSN Messenger was a way to chat to your friends and the only social media site I used where I wasn’t talking to people I knew IRL was MySpace! And even then I didn’t really talk to many people! I don’t know how kids manage to keep perspective these days, with all the influences and pitfalls of social media. Xx

    Tania | When Tania Talks

    • I’m exactly the same! I loved MSN and MySpace and SO glad I grew up before social media. Honestly that’s one of the things I am most grateful for. It’s difficult enough being a young teenager – imagine it now with the added pressures of social media? xx

  16. I can totally sympathise with you on this Jenny. Over the past year I have deleted my fb as it just is not healthy for me. I like Twitter as it seems not quite as “happy happy ” as fb always seems to be. For me it’s best to stay away at the moment. It must be difficult when you job revolves around social media and you have to use it.
    However there are many positives with it and for me it is the like minded friends I have made here. I think that is the same for you?
    I love your blog and neverland tours are brilliant. So from me to you, positivity vibes that you are a beautiful talented friendly helpful lady. Remember that when you have the doubts and bad feelings.
    Amanda.

    • Awh Amanda, that’s such a lovely comment, thank you. I agree, I have met some amazing people through blogging / Twitter. That’s a huge bonus for sure! I’m glad you did something positive for your mental wellbeing by deleting Facebook. Even if it’s just for a little while, we gotta do what we gotta do (: xz

  17. So, I totally understand what you’re feeling. I feel exactly that way about Instagram and Pinterest. I heard all these things about how Pinterest is the best for blog traffic and how people grew exponentially. That really didn’t happen to me when I decided to clean up my boards and take pinning seriously. However, I do have to say that I think I’m starting to rework the way I think about these platforms (well maybe minus Instagram- still working on that). For example, I follow huge websites on Facebook like Vogue or Thought Catalog. I find them very similar to the kind of content that I want to produce so I got there specifically for inspiration and to share what I like (both as myself and as Girl In Gamba). On Twitter, I mainly want to connect with bloggers. I don’t have any blogger friends in my personal life, so it’s really nice to read posts (like yours!) that really capture the true frustrations that come with being a blogger. But for the many days that I feel like I’m not a very good blogger, there are those days where I totally feel like I’m the stuff. I know it’s hard, but if you ever need support, I’m here!

    • I use Pinterest but I’m not bothered in the slightest about it in regards to followers and blog interaction – I just use it for fun and I’d love to keep it that way. It’s great you’ve found somewhere to be totally motivated and inspired! (: xx

  18. Ahh, so much that I resonate with in this post. Social media has without doubt heightened my already prevalent issues with self esteem etc, and it can be really damaging. It’s even resulted in me developing completely stupid insecurities that I would never have thought of. I think that’s one of the biggest downfalls of social media. However hard you try, it’s just so easy to compare and beat yourself up, especially if you have that tendency already. Such a great post! x

    whatevawears.co.uk

  19. You’re absolutely right – it is so easy to get caught up comparing yourself to others, and social media has definite made this worse. Finding a good balance can be tricky, because social media has so many good qualities (staying in touch and connecting so easily to others for example) but can be so addictive! Great post – your blog is always so interesting, you should definitely be proud of it, and don’t feel pressure to change anything unless you want to! x

  20. I totally sympathise with you on this post! I actually wrote a blog post a few weeks ago about my attempts to make my online space a bit more positive. It’s so easy to fall into a trap of comparing yourself to other people and thinking what you’re creating isn’t good enough. I love social media so much for what it’s able to achieve and highlight but I could definitely do without the instagram discover page existing in my life! Maybe someday we’ll all figure out the right balance but until then at least we can take some comfort in the fact that none of us are going through it alone

    • So true! It’s amazing how everyone goes through these thoughts and feelings but never really says anything about them. I think it’s human nature to compare – it’s just up to us how we let that affect our wellbeing xx

  21. Jenna you know I totally agree with you! Social media can really bring you down, especially on a bad day it can make you feel even worse! I like to take the odd day off social, I still do my morning post on insta but I don’t scroll or anything, I just post and then leave everything be and honestly it’s so refreshing not to be checking your phone constantly! You definitely need a few social free days a month!
    PaleGirlRambling xo

  22. I just cannot go away from this post without first sharing something with you.

    Years ago, I was having a conversation with a friend via email.

    I was struggling badly with my feelings of doubt, feeling like I was not worth very much, feeling like my work as a writer was not worth very much, and basically taring myself apart piece by piece.

    This friend wrote back to me with the following words.

    They had such an impact on me, I asked his permission to use them in what will be the second book, in my Campbell’s Rambles Trilogy, which because I have another project ahead of it is being blogged at campbellsworld.wordpress.com

    Anyhow, here are the words he wrote to me. I hope they help you realize you are great just the way you are, and that if any changes get made it is only because you want them, not because you feel you should due to other’s and how they seem.

    (Thanks to you Mr. John Keane Now retired from The Seeing Eye.)

    “Patty,

    Congratulations on your success! Yes, success. All successful people (writers are people too!) get criticized – a lot. There is an entire industry based on criticizing books, movies, plays, sports, cars, etc.… the list goes on forever.

    Don’t let the criticism get to you. You put in the work, you made it happen – only you get to decide if it turned out the way you intended. No one else is qualified. Forge ahead, do what is in your heart, write your books, sing your songs, dance your dance – be you. Everyone else can worry about being themselves!”

  23. I have had a love-hate relationship with social media. Since deleting my facebook I have been so much happier and saved so much time. I would spend hours wasting time on facebook. I am slowly trying to limit my time on Twitter now.

    xx
    lovelytwenties.com

  24. This was such an interesting post, and while I mainly have a positive relationship with social media I do find myself comparing myself to others. I think it’s an incredibly difficult thing not to do sometimes as there’s always going to be someone that you think is better than you for so many reasons. It’s definitely a difficult one.

  25. Thank you for being so open and honest with us in this post, Jenny! I totally relate – when I first started on Twitter as a blogger, I was over the moon to reach 1,000 followers! I thought it was so amazing and I was so proud to have hit that milestone! Now I’m a lot more critical, I think more along the lines of “oh, why haven’t I hit that milestone yet?” rather than doing what I should be doing, which is to be happy and appreciate how far I’ve come! I always compare myself to others in terms of photography because I’m still learning in that area, but I will improve! 💪🏼 Social media can be both a blessing and a curse!

    Abbey 💖 http://www.abbeylouisarose.co.uk

    • Definitely agree! Thankfully, I’m in a totally different mindset in regards to blogging and followers now than I was say, 2 years ago. I like to work towards milestones but don’t break my back and worry endless at comparing myself to others. I think if we’re confident in our own abilities and post what we love then the following will naturally grow (: xx

  26. I feel exactly the same, when I first started to blog (I’m still new now) I really enjoyed jusr expressing myself for other people to read and enjoy it. As time has gone on I’ve now realised that sometimes I thinks oh why do i only have 500 followers, people have over 2k etc and that’s what makes me realise is that it isn’t about the numbers because I don’t write for anyone but myself and if people want to read it then thah makes it extra special! There always seems to be a stigma aboht what people should and shouldn’t write which has made it very hard to create posts sometimes xxx

  27. thank you for being so honest about this and your experience! I feel the same sometimes, out of all of them I find twitter and facebook the less draining because it’s usually just memes and stuff! But Instagram can get exhausting when it’s always beautiful people living the fab life and creating this unattainable image! x

    G

    http://www.teawithgi.com

  28. I have a love/hate relationship with social media. Twitter can be a great resource for finding information. I love that closed Facebook groups can be a place to share and support one another. It’s the negative things that some post all the time, several times a day, every single day. Unfollow … not worth it. I do draw inspiration from photos but grow bored with the perfectly staged photos.

    • I think everyone’s entitled to post what they want. If they think Twitter is a safe space and want to express how they’re feeling at that particular moment then they’re well able to do that. Even if it is “negative”. If people don’t like it they can unfollow. I was recently unfollowed for posing regular negative things because I was going through a really rough time and Twitter felt like the only place I could go and get some support.

      • I agree. I’m not saying people should never post negative things. How boring would that be? I understand going through a rough time. I’ve posted my share of grumblings. The particular person I recently unfollowed on Instagram is a family member, and (no lie) about 98% of her lifetime of posts are negative and passive aggressive. Social media has definitely increased comparisons. I’ve felt like a sloth, a slob, and not very creative after spending too much time on SNS. Also, the written word can so easily be misconstrued when perhaps the intent was not at all how it was meant. The absence of voice inflections and facial expressions play a huge role in that. 🙂

      • “… intent was not at all how it was meant” doesn’t make sense. What I meant to say was “perhaps how it is perceived was not at all how it was meant.” 😉

  29. I love and hate social medias, I hate the name and shame mentality, I hate the idea of heirachy. But I love that it’s great for networking and bringing people together. I also hate comparing myself to others x

    Kayleigh Zara 🌿www.kayleighzaraa.com

  30. I completely agree with you, I have such an on/off relationship too. Sometimes it is just too much, taking a break is such a good thing!!!
    xox

  31. My biggest problem with social media is feeling overwhelmed by it. I work, three days a week, in a 9-5. I balance blogging, social life, family, household maintenance, and me-time with that. And it doesn’t seem to leave me much time for social media! I constantly feel like I’m playing catch-up, especially with IG and Twitter. And it can leave me feeling quite stressed. But I, also, am very guilty of falling into the comparison trip. Forever comparing myself to the perfect photos on IG, the selfies with thousands of likes when mine only got 10. It’s hard not to, it’s almost human nature!

  32. I read something recently that said just 30 minutes on Instagram is enough time to make you feel bad about yourself – and I can totally see that. Comparison is the thief of joy though so I try not to let it influence my thinking too much. It’s hard to just focus on yourself though! xx

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