Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Follow Me: An Insight to Social Media Seen Through the Eyes of an Almost Forty-Year Old Woman


I am going to start by saying that I wanted to disclose my age in this post because while reading it, if you didn’t know my age, you would think that I was thirteen…but keep reading please…

If you search on Google, you can find tons of blog posts and you tube videos telling you how to get more followers. I just saw a quote the other day that I think totally applies to this post: “Having a lot of followers on Instagram is like being rich in Monopoly”.

 I will admit I was one of those people who until maybe last year didn’t realize that “on Wednesdays we wear pink”. I didn’t even know why people said that on Instagram when posting their pictures.  I had seen the movie Mean Girls a couple of times, but couldn’t quote the lines. But yet, there I was a couple of weeks ago watching the movie on the tenth anniversary because everyone else was doing it…

As adults, the need that we had when we were younger to feel accepted, popular, loved, admired, wanted, etc. does not go away. I think given the availability of social media outlets, we crave that popularity even more sometimes. But sadly, just like in the movie Mean Girls, there will always be groups like “The Plastics” who only let certain people sit at their table or hang in their crowd. On social media, it’s the same thing except for the “table” is a “hashtag” or it’s a picture that someone has posted.

Recently some pretty big things started happening for Curvy Girl on the Run blog. I have over 100 followers now.  While this may not be a big deal to some, it does mean a lot to me as the author.  This means that this many people find my blog worthy enough to read and keep up with.

And on Instagram, I now have over 2000 followers.  While I see celebrities and superstars on there with millions of followers, a girl like me thinks it’s amazing that 2000 people want to follow me and see my pictures posted each day.

So what is this post about? I just want to put it into perspective of how I see things and how I feel when I am in the midst of social media.  I, of course, am only thinking that others feel the same way as me when I started thinking about it.

I have shared my story about how I joined Instagram and was private for a long time.  I liked the filters and used those when taking pictures when I was in CA a couple of years ago working. I did not want to share my pictures with everyone else nor did I want to be “friends” with people that I did not know.  I just wanted to be left alone and take pictures. That summer, I went on severance and began to focus a little more on my style since I had some time to do things around the house like clean my closets or you know, start to “find myself” more since I wasn’t working and was looking for a job. Last year in the summer, I went public because funny enough, I entered a contest that I didn’t win (I never do!) and had to have a public profile. I then started to follow other people that I found had things in common with me-primarily fashion and sharing their #ootd. I gradually started gaining followers-I remember when I hit 100 and was like wow! Now, I find myself having more followers than people did when I initially started following them a year ago!  People, I never in a million years thought that I would make it this far doing what I love! And bonus! I am in a community of not only fashion, but also friendship and I am able to share my faith and be myself!  This was evidenced recently when I had an outpouring of love when asking for prayers on Instagram in a certain situation. I have also seen this recently in the love and remembrance that was given to a family that lost their 3 year old son.

But there have been some trivial things that have been bothering me lately about social media-primarily Instagram. I find myself wondering why people follow me and then I lose them.  Have I done something wrong? Was my outfit not good enough today? I start to get down in the dumps about people unfollowing me if I dwell on it too long. Why do I do this? Why do I care? I have a loving family and good friends and have a good job and I just don’t know why I let such trivial things bother me.  I think we have to think about the fact that most of these people you do not really know. You don’t know their situation when they follow you.  You don’t know if they just want to see your outfits and learn from you or if they have ulterior motives. You don’t know much about them like maybe they had a loss of a job and maybe seeing your posts saying you bought more clothes when they don’t have money is too hard for them.  Or maybe seeing you with a family member that they just lost in their life is too hard for them. Maybe they did only follow you because you were having a giveaway. The bottom line is that we cannot and should not be so concerned about a number. Trust me, I know how many followers I have and can see when I lose them. And yes, I already know this is ridiculous but just keep reading…

Why am I worried that someone doesn’t “like” my pictures? I have noticed recently there are a couple of people who follow me and never like my pictures but like other peoples’ pictures all of the time. They used to always like my pictures and now they are becoming more of a “ghost follower” and not liking or ever commenting on anything I post.  It seems they also comment a lot on others but not on mine. Or why do some brands repost some people’s pictures as a “model” for their items and not mine?

I will also tell you that if someone follows me who is private, I don’t follow them back unless if I know who they are and they have asked me to follow them back. It’s simple etiquette to me.  I respect your privacy but don’t unfollow me when I don’t follow you back. You are the one who is private.  Remember I also was private when I first joined IG but learned the more that I used it that I no one could see what I was posting when I was private.  I then switched to public and just monitor what goes on my page. I also hate when someone follows you just so you follow them back.  You do that and the next day, they are gone.

I like to give credit where credit is due.  If I copy your outfit, I will say that I saw it on you and give you a shout-out. While I am pretty creative with my outfits, sometimes it is a look that I have seen before and I do try to give that person the credit. I also don’t steal pictures or ideas from people.  I recently got my feathers ruffled when someone stole my style challenge and tried to recreate their own.  I am not naming names but yes, I thought it was super tacky and on the inside, I was glad when I didn’t see anyone repost it.  (I realize that sounds mean but I worked incredibly hard on my challenge for May and building my brand and just doing something to have fun!). They outright stole the challenge even using multiple exact phrasing of my days. I mean a style challenge is about having fun! Why are you stealing mine? Make your own!

I’ve also seen hurtful comments on my page before and recently, someone had the nerve to let me know on every food picture whether or not it was “healthy” or “unhealthy”. I have had people comment on my weight or point out to their friends that “until you lose those unwanted pounds, you should follow her for inspiration”. You guys, I am not even lying that people have actually said these things!

Enough about Instagram! Thanks for letting me vent! The bottom line is that I am flattered and honored that you follow me (I hope you do!) and I am so grateful for the friends that I have met through social media.  I am also grateful for the ability to be myself and show others how I dress this body that I was given.  I don’t ever want girls to feel the way I did growing up and I don’t want women not being proud of what they have been given. The whole reason I do what I do is to inspire others.  There are not enough role models out there that are different and proud of who they are!

I recently saw a quote that says “The number of followers you have does not make you better than anyone else. Hitler had millions, Jesus had 12”. I think this sums it all up for me.  I am grateful for those who choose to follow me and allow a little piece of me into their lives through social media.

While of course I want more followers (because who doesn’t?), I have been taking a different approach lately and just letting it go.  I think I have done pretty well for myself and I get this opportunity to fulfill a goal and have a purpose helping others. While I may not be the top-rated blogger or person on Instagram, I am thankful for you allowing me to do what I do. I hope I have inspired someone just a little bit while getting to do what I love.

I have to remember that I initially joined this community to be part of just that-a community of women who build each other up and encourage each other and inspire each other.  I also have a young son who is impressionable and I have to talk with him about social media and how to use it properly.  I see so many stories of people bullying other people on social media that sometimes, I just want to call it quits. But I started this for a reason and 99% of the time, I am fulfilled and that is what matters.  I have to be a positive role model to my son and show him not only the dangers of social media, but also the fun you can have when using it correctly. He also needs to see his mother using it in a positive light so that he can be aware of how women should treat themselves and each other.

While I know that this is a more serious post and not a light and fluffy one about fashion, I appreciate you all taking the time to read it! I know there will be those that read this and feel the same as me.  I hope you realize you are not alone and know that each and every one of us brings something special to the table.  I think that I find myself way too caught up in the numbers game sometimes and don’t really always think about why I started doing this in the first place. It’s supposed to be fun and I am aiming to keep it this way!

I do what I do to inspire people and this outlet of my blog (and IG) is just that-it is an outlet for my creativity and passion for learning and teaching and showing the world how to be a better you. I need to take a step back and care for me and make sure my attitude is in the right place so that I can accomplish my goals and dreams to help and inspire others. I hope you will do the same. Now I'm off to yoga! 

Thank you for reading this and following along with me!

Sandae

9 comments:

  1. Wow, well said Sandae! You covered some really good points and as a blogger, I have noticed a lot of the same things you mentioned! Btw..glad to have met ypu on IG.
    Delilah
    www.pumpsandstudz.blogspot.com

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  2. This is a such a great post! I am fairly new to Instagram and blogging and many times have felt the same way. Love reading your blog posts and seeing you on Instagram! Keep doing what you are doing!

    Jill
    dousedinpink.blogspot.com

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  3. Love your words Sandae! Thanks for sharing! I can relate to so many things here. I especially appreciate your perspective on letting go and not getting so caught up in IG!

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  4. Well said. I have also have gotten mean comment to. Congrats on your follower on your blog and IG. That is awesome.

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  5. Thank you so much for posting this Sandae! I have felt the same way about all the things you've mentioned, the numbers, the ghost followers, the why the heck do I even care, and the setting an example for my daughter. It is important we have serious conversations with our kids about social media, it's a big part of life now whether we like it or not and it brings dangers that we never had as kids growing up. I also want to say I'm sorry that you've had such ugly comments towards you! I luckily haven't experienced that but it's probably because you have many more followers and when people are popular & successful there will always be someone out there to try to bring them down! Thank you for your daily inspiration! You are gorgeous & one of the most stylish women on ig hands down! Sometimes I really think about quitting ig and focusing on real life, I mean.im not going to post an ootd everyday for the rest of my life right!? But then I remember it is just for fun and technically I can walk away at any time so why the heck not if it makes me happy :)
    So for the enormous comment lol
    Xoxo,
    Your IG Friend mventura12♡

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  6. Can we please be best friends?!? LoL You ARE the real deal! Thank you for that! Every post I read, every IG pic I like is because you are true to yourself. I'm not a size zero nor will I ever be but even though I'm considered "Plus Size" I still believe you should always dress to impress. You my dear always dress to impress! Following your account this last year I have gained more confidence than ever before. I have had so much fun participating in your style challenge in past month. I have loved how creative I have been with digging through my closet. I have you to thank! The sweet comments from others and yourself do put a smile on my face but I’m mainly doing this challenge for myself because fashion is something I enjoy. I’m sure “friends” make fun of me or have chosen to unfollow me but that’s their choice. Thankfully after reading your blog post I have started to let go how much it bothers me with not having as many followers as others. I wonder is it because I’m a Size 14? Is it because I don’t buy designer handbags or expensive jewelry? Who knows and who cares…..I could wonder for days. I’m doing this for myself and that’s all that matters!

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  7. You are amazing! I love your daily posts. I'm guilty of becoming a ghost follower at times but then will jump back in the game. Lol I too get worked up about why people unfollow me. It's silly. Xoxo

    Joelle

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  8. I am not new to Instagram but I am new to having an open page. I was given a sweet nudge by a friend to have a public page because she felt I had some interesting tidbits of knowledge for mommies, teachers, just women and maybe even a man or two. My husband, BFF, coworkers, and even my mom are urging me to start a blog because, they say, I've always had a way with words. I haven't yet and I could say its because of the technical stuff but you and I both know that's an excuse. They have blogging for dummies for goodness sakes! When it comes down to it, it's really just fear. Fear that no one will get me, fear that I'll be one in a million or fear that I'll get a nasty comment or two. I like to think I don't care what people think but let's be real if you're on Instagram you do care. I don't have thick skin but with my new venture as an open page I've learned to not take things personally when people don't follow you back. It's just a dance I realize some people can't follow more people than they have followers. That day will come when I'm ready to open 'bloggers pandora box'. Until then I'll be inspired by great women like you!

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  9. Thanks for sharing this! It is so easy to get sucked into worrying about followers, "likes" and all the rest ... I think you summed it up really well with this insight. I have been stressing a lot about not having a lot of readers on my blog, or following me on Instagram (which I use in part to promote my Etsy shop) but the thing I had to remind myself is that, social media is social! When I pushed myself out of my little bubble and began interacting more with other people (like doing the Style Me April challenge), lo and behold, I found that I was naturally connecting with people more. Not in any way comparing this to your experiences, just sharing my story too to note that social media can mess with our heads in weird ways if we don't keep a good sense of perspective on it. And I am so sorry that people had such hurtful things to say to you. Good for you that you can take it in stride and not let it get you down.

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