Ok, so obviously lockdown isn’t something any of us would have asked for, and it has been an unbelievably tough time, but I have tried to find the positives, and one of those, for me, has been my change in attitude towards social media. I won’t try and deny it, as somebody who runs a lifestyle blog and also works in social media, I was 100% addicted before lockdown. I would check social media in the morning before I got up and last thing at night. I would constantly scroll, without even taking in what I was seeing sometimes. Social media, and more specifically Instagram, had become my crutch.
I had become obsessed with the numbers on Instagram, despite previously writing about how they weren’t the be all and end all. Every milestone somebody else reached reminded me how far I was from my own arbitrary goals. I put too much pressure on myself and, as a result, my content became stagnant, the captions too forced, the hashtags giving away my desperation to succeed. I had reached a point where I had begun to despise the app and everything it stood for.
Then lockdown happened, we were all forced into confinement, and something strange and wonderful happened. I began to care less about the numbers and I posted when I felt like it, rather than forcing myself to upload something, anything, daily. I took the time to comment when something resonated with me, not because I felt I should, and I posted stories of the highlights in my day, rather than making myself provide a stream of consciousness that wasn’t interesting to myself let alone anybody else.
As a result, my numbers actually began to increase. My followers slowly climbed, and the engagement on my posts soared, compared to the months before lockdown. Yes, this may be in part due to many people being at home on social media daily, but I also think it is down to the quality of my posts, over the forced quantity from before.
I won’t try and pretend that I am cured of my social media addiction. Yes, I have spent less time on Instagram and Facebook, but I have often found myself on Twitter instead, reading the negativity from others at our government’s ineptitude, and finding my mental health suffering as a result (I am working on this).
I have also transferred my attentions to another social media platform, one originally populated primarily by the younger generation, but now full of people like me, looking for an escape during lockdown. My TikTok account has grown in just over a month to just under 10k followers, which is mind-blowing to me, when I have taken years to grown my accounts across other channels. Yes, I realise this point completely negates my original comment about numbers not mattering, but it is still something I find so crazy.
Creating content on another platform has given me a release, allowed me to find creativity and to start anew. My confidence has improved, as I have found a niche on the platform which suits me perfectly. I create videos in blocks, which means I can upload reguarly without spending all my time on the app, and I have found a renewed sense of community with my followers, making sure to interact with the comments people have taken the time to leave.
Lockdown has been a complete rollercoaster of emotions, but I am grateful for everything I have learnt from this time. For the quality time it has allowed me to spend with my husband and children, for the renewed self confidence I have felt, and the overall improvement of my mental health – something I never would have expected during a pandemic, and for the lessons I have learnt about social media, and the importance of being yourself, being authentic and not focusing on how other people are doing as a comparison to yourself.