Behind the blogging mask

We’re all aware of the fact that social media doesn’t always necessarily give us an accurate portrayal into someone’s life. We’ve all been that person to swoon and lust after someone else’s Instagram only to be reminded by some wise Pinterest quote that we’re only seeing their highlight reel – not their every day. It doesn’t matter how many lavish holidays people post about, how many Michelin Star restaurants they’ve eaten in or how many spa breaks they have, chances are, we’re not going to see them post about the time they did their laundry or the cat was sick on their jumper. 

I want to stay on the subject of “what we don’t see” because that’s what I wanted to talk about today. Because quite frankly… I’m feeling like a bit of a fraud. Don’t get me wrong, I will never be one of these bloggers who gets jetted off on luxury press trips, who has 4 holidays a month and numerous lunch dates with friends. I never go shopping because well, I hate it. I eat McDonald’s and I like reading more than going outside. I’m open about my mental health struggles and the fact that it’s caused me to lose a lot of independence and a lot of friends. In that sense, I try and keep it real as much as physically possible. I want to be someone other people can relate to and think, “sh*t, that sounds like me!”. I don’t want people to look at my perfectly curated Instagram feed (which it is not) and feel sad that they’ll never “have that”.

However, I have been known to post about my blogging achievements on Twitter quite a lot. Which is totally fine and something I’d always encourage people to do. In this industry, you’ve got to be your own biggest fan sometimes. My blog is my biggest and most proudest achievement. Never in a million years did I think I would reach an actual audience just by rambling on the internet. Or have brands like Boohoo send me something. Or actually make money because a company wants me to promote them. So if you’re proud of something, go and shout it from the rooftops is what I say!

And lately, I’ve been hitting a lot of milestones. I’ve passed 7,100 blog followers. I’ve had my best ever months for page views. I’ve also had some of my best months for income since becoming self-employed with my blog over 2 years ago. Which is all brilliant and I’m proud to be able to share those things with you. But… here’s where we get to the actual point of this awfully long and rambly post... I’m still riddled with anxiety. I’m still hauled up in my bedroom some days. I’m still terrified of being by myself. I’m still terrified of the world around me. I’m still, to put it plainly, pretty damn unhappy sometimes. I’m still comparing myself to other people (and other bloggers) on a daily basis. And I still have crippling self-doubt, low self-esteem and no self-confidence. 

I may look and sound happy and chipper on Twitter when I’m cheering myself on about hitting another goal, about being super motivated and inspired with my blog and about all the dollar I’ve got rolling in (HA) but the sad reality is, I’m not always. I’m happy about achieving those goals, obviously because I’ve worked hard for them but in general, in life, I couldn’t be much different from what you see on social media and on my blog. And as I say, I like to keep it real, so that’s why I’m writing this post.

I’m writing this post for anyone who feels like they’re putting on a mask on social media because babes, we all are. Even the people who are trying to keep it real and show as much of their “normal, boring, mundane life” as possible still don’t show everything. We don’t show the hours spent crying over an argument, when we get out of the shower and rip ourselves apart in the mirror or when we’re too anxious to eat even though on social media we say we’re “so excited!!!” about wherever we’re going.

There’s no right or wrong way to “do” social media. If you want to share your deepest, darkest secrets then you absolutely can and if you want to rose-tint your life, that’s cool too. Bloggers are under so much pressure to be real but you’ve also got to have something to give, show off your talents, be inspirational, a role model, an “influencer”. How about, just for a change, we just be us? Whatever that might mean to you. 

I’d absolutely love to hear your thoughts on this post. Do you feel like you hide behind a mask on social media? Do you think there’s a lot of pressure on bloggers?

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77 thoughts on “Behind the blogging mask

  1. This is SO true. I totally believe in being open and upfront both on and offline, but I agree that in many situations people get a “curated” view of a person regardless. However, I don’t think it makes you a fraud. I love your blog and how you are so truthful and honest, I think there is a fine line between curated reality, and coming across as false, or overly perfect and you have in no way crossed that.

  2. I love this post, as it’s something that I can definitely relate to. I feel like a lot of the time blogging is seen as all happiness and fun, but in reality it’s spending 3 hours trying to fix a really specific HTML problem or stressing about getting things out on time. It’s so important to try and be real as much as possible in my opinion.

    Megan // https://pixieskiesblog.wordpress.com/

  3. First of all I’m very impressed that you have so many followers and I think that is a testament that people like honesty… I’ve blogged for a few months now and feel I am opening up more and more. It’s all about balance and what is true and real to you! Trust me, I have days when I just want to stay under the duvet and watch Netflix and not talk to anyone… less so lately actually and… some of it is because I’m writing now and communicating with other people about different subjects! Congratulations again and your post is very inspiring 🙏🏻😌

      1. I had one yesterday afternoon! Sometimes we have to listen to our body… I’ll try and focus on my gratitude list, yoga, meditation and running if I have the time… important to take a time out once in a while. Hope you have a great day and make the most of it your way…🙏🏻😌

  4. This strikes a chord. Not just bloggers but all who use social media. Maybe there should be a Bad News Tuesday or something (if not already) where everyone posts about the bad things – cat was sick, husband was horrible, nothing went right etc

  5. You are so right, it is so difficult I find especially with Instagram when you are seeing people who do look 110% all the time and are always at some luxurious location. I think it does add that element of pressure on ourselves even though it really shouldn’t.

    I always felt not too bad about it because I’m not aiming for that style of blogging, but then I discovered some bookstagram accounts that made me feel totally inadequate so it does tend to spring up on you even if you think you can avoid it ☺️

  6. I can relate to this. It can be a difficult balance to strike. I’m not a natural self-promoter but as a writer I recognise the need to do that. It’s not something I’m entirely comfortable with sometimes and I do wonder what people will think, but then ultimately it’s about wanting to achieve my goals and doing what it takes to get there.

  7. Yet another great post! You are not a fraud at all. We naturally want people to see us at our best, particularly strangers. Opening up to the world makes us vulnerable and us humans don’t like that. I’m a very open person and my blog is about my bad days and times as well as my biggest achievements. I gather that if people don’t like seeing me at my worst, then they’re not really the kinda people I need in my life. 🙄

  8. Thank you for sharing these thoughts and I totally understand this idea you have of being a fraud! That voice can be so persuading when you try to ‘keep it real’ online and then comparing your online posts with your ‘real’ life… and then finding that the reality within the ‘keeping it real’ post is but a small fragment of your actual feelings, as you said: a post in which you share your excitement for going out that ignores the side of your inability to eat anything because of your anxieties.

    As someone who also experiences a lot of anxieties, I generally tend to leave these gaps between irl and url (and that’s not only because I’m a bad ‘influencer’ who basically doesn’t post much to begin with…). I think for me it’s healthier to not constantly dwell on the more negative feelings exciting things automatically generates for me. This is indeed a sort of censuring of my ‘online existence’ compared to my ‘real life’ but I rather have a soft mask between what I consider myself (which is already plural and ever-changing) and that what I post online than me trying to measure myself or give everything of myself to this digital space. That would be a big mess. Haha!

    Sorry for the ramble, but it’s indeed also very good to be mindful of your ‘online mask’ and to remind people that there’s more behind the perfectly curated pictures on insta! Yay for mindfulness. 😉

    Love,
    Dominique

    http://www.fashionedbypluche.blogspot.com

  9. I don’t know how you do it, Jenny, but whenever you write a post like this it always comes along at exactly the time I need to hear it. I’ve been feeling very “I’m not good enough” recently. That my blog isn’t particularly interesting and that my Insta feed is dull. There’s so much pressure on bloggers/influencers to present a shiny happy face, full of positivity when most of us will have stuff going on in our lives that’s so far from that it’s laughable. Thank you for writing and sharing this. You are one of my biggest inspirations on here because you are always so honest. And I’m not saying that to put pressure on you, it’s to let you know that you are doing an amazing job, whether you’re reviewing the likes of Boohoo or just sharing your thoughts. xxx

    Lisa | http://www.lisasnotebook.com

  10. Great Post! You probably could (and should) write a book about the lack of authenticity in social media and the effect it has on the audience. I bet there are a lot of internet entrepreneurs who could tell you similar stories.

  11. I think we all know these days that social media is mainly highlights and real life isn’t that glossy and lovely. It’s totally okay to only show your best parts. And I think doing something like blogging, having frequent wobbles or doubt and wondering if you’re good enough is totally normal. It’s good to talk about the not so great feelings too. But I hope you know that SO many people look up to you as a blogger, myself included x

    Sophie
    http://www.glowsteady.co.uk

  12. I think you’re doing tremendously well Jenny but I can totally understand the feeling of anxiety when it comes to blogging. I experience it a fair bit too and it can be tricky at times! Just keep doing what you’re doing lovely! X

  13. I think this is true for everyone, even those who appear really confident! Everyone experiences self doubt but it’s even harder when you have always had low self esteem, I know. Keep going, you are doing great! X

  14. I definitely hide behind a bit of a mask on my blog, and I am definitely one for tailoring what I write. I guess this is more so because I prefer to keep my personal and working life separate from what I write. I try not to stage photos though, unless it is a flat lay, as I don’t feel it gives the best impression of somewhere I may have visited etc, but that may be because I am still fairly new and haven’t worked with any brands as of yet!

    Keep doing you though, your blog is great!

    Aimsy xoxo

  15. Great post. I think lots of people relate to it. People always share what they want to share on social media but it doesn’t give a real account of their lives in many respects.

    What I like most about this post is how honest you are. Keep doing what you’re doing because many people as shown in your recent statistics love your blog.

  16. This is true. I stay at home a lot, don’t go out or travel much and sometimes I forgot that some people who post a lot of their trips/outings are just like me..it makes me feel insecure but I gotta remember that not everything we see on social media is real and no, no one is wearing a mask but people like to show their positives which is absolutely alright!

  17. I love this post! I think that we all know that social media can be a little bit of a pretence and naturally we all post our highs more than our lows. I love hearing about the achievements of others though so definitely don’t feel bad! Congratulations on all of the achievements!

    Soph – https://sophhearts.com x

  18. I am absolutely myself on social media. I have shown myself at my worst and at my best and everything in between. I try to be as transparent as possible. If anything, being myself all the time has made me care less about what others think. I have never had any negative feedback on Instagram, as that is the one I use the most but then I have never had any negativity on any social media. I’ve probably just jinxed myself!

    There is an overwhelming pressure on bloggers I think to have this pristine, idyllic life. Especially as a beauty blogger, I think they expect you should be 100% perfect with hair and makeup always done to perfection. Like no love, I barely wear makeup and my hair is usually a mess. lol

  19. Yeah I agree with most of your points. It does seem pretty conflicting. I haven’t yet felt comfortable about my milestones because I am constantly comparing my success to everyone else’s. It’s hard to define what is real but easier to censor things that you don’t want the world to see. I guess loosely speaking we can call that branding. But it can quickly become impersonable and that’s a pretty hard balance to strike! Thank you for the post! I enjoyed reading it!

  20. I loved reading this jenny! Social media can be the devil most times and you forget about the person behind the tweets or blog posts that have a life, that do struggle with things daily. I don’t think that makes you a fraud (although I get what you mean) I just feel most people don’t want to document the bad days which is why we don’t see or hear about it which makes it a taboo. Such an interesting subject to talk about, I really loved the post! Liz xx

  21. What a brave post – I love it! I find myself just acting like everything is great on social media, even when I’m sitting here doing nothing with no friends, because that’s the side I want people to see – and I know I’m guilty of it. Like you said, we all are. I guess sometimes so many things feel out of control that having the choice to present whatever side of you that you want is just one way of us trying to feel like we’ve totally got this (Not!). A very inspirational post – and I hope you don’t stop posting your achievements because you’ve worked hard to obtain them and deserve to make the most of them!

  22. This is such an honest and reassuring post, and I feel this too! I often have friends tell me that I “have my life together” or “have got it all sorted when it comes to blogging”, and I always feel like such a fraud. Every so often I go to rant to Twitter and reel myself back because I don’t want to be “too negative”, but that only reinforces my mask. I try and keep things honest, and I believe that I do. However, there definitely still is a mask when it comes to social media!

    Jas xx | https://thoughtsfromjasmine.co.uk

  23. Totally get you on this. I’ve been feeling the ‘imposter syndrome’ thing for a while and I know it’s cuz we try and write about the really good things. Even close family friends have said for example, oh your always buying new things so you can’t be struggling for money! So not true, the things I share are normally gifted items. Hey ho, I guess that’s the impression people might get but it’s not true and I try to keep it real on my Instagram stories. Great blog post as always hun!

  24. I definitely feel like I hide behind a mask on social media. On places like Twitter and Instagram, I always feel like I have to be positive and not share too much of the other side of things as people just view it as being negative or putting a downer on their timeline. I think it’s important to show that side though, as not everyone is positive 24/7 and life’s hard! This was so nice to read, it’s good to know someone else feels the same! xx

    Tiffany x http://www.foodandotherloves.co.uk

  25. This is SUCH a good post Jenny. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with posting positive-only tweets or talking about achievements, and I’m always proud of other bloggers when they’re smashing it! But I do spend time worrying that I’m falling behind. It’s never as simple as it seems on social media and it’s so important to remember that. Thank you for posting this!
    Beth x Adventure & Anxiety

  26. what an INCREDIBLE post, very inspiring. I think it’s so brave of you to talk about how there is so much pressure to seem like life is perfect and that you aren’t struggling to just get through the day. I known i still struggle, exhausted from trying to become a “successful” blogger. I think a lot of people will find comfort in this post. i do want you to know thought that, i think you’re doing an incredible job at this whole blogging thing. truly I am so inspired by you and by your blog. I know everyone grows at their own rate, but i’ll be shocked if i have half the success you do. just remember even on the days when you’re doubting yourself, there are people believing in you and are inspired by you xx lots of love

    mich // simplymich.com

  27. I am a lover of social media and “influencers”, heck I want to be one too and I think as someone who has what I guess you can say a not-so happy life it’s hard to see sometimes that other people are off to Greece or New York Fashion Week while I am stuck at home feeling sad and alone but at the same time you have to remember that no one’s life is perfect even though it may look it. Everyone has their off days where they struggle with something like self-love like we do.

  28. I feel like I’m quite real on social media because I don’t really know how to be anything else. But I also feel like not being me would make it easier to gain engagement, which is the sad thing.

  29. One of my faves of yours Jenny! I think all of us hide a little. I know I do it all the time, sometimes I write about the bad times but I will mostly emphasise the good parts in life. Regarding my holiday for example, I just wrote a blog post that sounds like I had the best time, we I did! But, there were a lot of struggles that I didn’t write about. Like you said, there isn’t a wrong or right way to do social media, it is totally up to you want you want to write about and share! Also, massive well done for all your blogging achievements! xx

  30. I think we all hide behind some sort of mask, to have the confidence to be completely you online when everyone is a stranger that can be impressed is weird, I know personally that im putting on a mask, im such a nerdy person but i am scared of how much of that i can show off before people get fed up.

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