As I’m writing this post, the sun is blazing, the ladybirds are swarming, and if I really concentrate on my surroundings I can pretend it’s summer again. Brought back to reality by the whooping winter cough that’s been depriving me of my much needed beauty sleep for weeks on end, of course. But never has there been a better time to pretend I wasn’t supposed to publish this at the beginning of last month when the photos were taken because this week’s temperatures means I can still get away with winging the denim skirt and cropped shirt look. Speaking of summer, that time period is what instigated this mentality of numbers aren’t everything, and that’s what I want to drive home about.
The summer months tend to be the doorway for my most creative outlets. It’s warm, you can go outdoors into the natural light, it doesn’t get dark ’til 10pm, and my Vitamin D filled, motivated mind is brimming with new ideas. The trouble is, for as much effort as I put in, there’s not much to show for it. No increase in engagement, no sudden influx of traffic, followers still dropping like flies, and little to no changes seen in any social media surveillance. Only recently have I realised, none of that matters as much as you think it does.
As you will probably all know, this summer I visited Paris for the first time and that meant I had a chance to capture content that really came from within the heart of me and fit the boxes in which my preferences and passions lay. Content that I was happy with. Content that I truly enjoyed getting out there. And although it was something I personally relished in, at the forefront of my mind was that constant thought of impressing others and perhaps this being the opportunity to grow my platform further. Architectural art, notable backdrops for outfit locations, famous landmarks and the cliche poses was bound to grab people’s attention, right?
There were a few (very much appreciated) uplifting comments and praises from my avid readers but nothing out of the ordinary. No life changing recognition or sudden insta fame, and I don’t know what I expected because I’m well aware I’m not in the exceptional category of incredible content creators who boss it in every image and every sentence, but it was a kick in the teeth when I really thought I’d reached the best level of quality and received nothing in return.
Only when I moved on from that did I realise I’d been hyper focusing so much my real, sincere gusto took the back-burner, because no matter how much blogging and generating influencer work you’re proud of is a key vocation, becoming so transfixed and overwhelmed by the numbers side of things only turns you into your number one own worst enemy.
No one actively likes a decrease in their audience, that’s a fact. Spending hours perfecting that photo angle, editing, analysing, and feeling as though you’ve hit the jackpot, just to get zero response, isn’t pleasant. It is discouraging and it does make you feel like shit. Especially, if, like me, you’re a paranoid over thinker anyway, and you spend a solid portion of your day wondering why. What am I doing wrong? Are my photos really that bad? Are they not superior or varied enough? Have I just bored people to death with my lengthy ramblings because I don’t know when to shut up? Everyone must hate me. Yep, that’s the only conclusion.
It’s easier said than done, not getting caught up in the hype of a follower count. And it is difficult not to be at a loss when it feels like there’s always someone better than you. Someone getting recognised by the high end brands, building a massive following in just a few months, radiating with personality and unique traits that make you feel like the white crayon of the pack. But it’s also good to remember, no one does you like you do.
It’s got to the point now where I’m just like, why don’t I just post for me? Do what I want to do without worrying how many people are going to take interest or whether my monthly users will be impacted? Snap away without fretting about if my photos are luxe enough? Post what I like with no added pressure, no hidden meaning behind it, or try hard attitude. It’s quite the revelation, but it’s hitting me right where it’s supposed to. It’s turned my mindset right around. In today’s industry, you do need to go that step further to stand out amongst but I don’t think there’s anything wrong with doing that your own way and staying true to your colours. Forcing yourself to push the boat out isn’t going to do you any favours.
Right now I’m all about letting it all flow naturally instead of getting so worked up about every single thing I post. If that means my ditziness and overdramatic uncoolness and the rest of my ugly parts shows, then so be it. That’s just a central part of my ambition and overall nature.
Social media is often outlined with rose tinted glasses, anyway. It’s all magnificence and professionalism and ‘here’s what you can do to improve your niche and reach your goals‘. You can’t scroll through without Twitter without spotting the latest SEO strategy, and you can’t open up your Instagram app without an advert for a new E-Course popping up amongst the overly saturated pictures. Not that I think there’s anything wrong with that. Absolutely not. You do what’s most helpful for you and what suits you, individually. I just think right now that’s not the place I want to be at. I’ve tried the whole tips and tricks scheme and actually, have in fact found more long term fundamental results just by being authentic.
I want to post as and when I want to and not because I feel I have to. I don’t want to have to think I must be constantly producing 100% sterling content in fear of people losing interest and pressing the unfollower button. I want to post without thinking too hard and if that means crappy iPhone pics then that’s what it will be.
I want to stop caring about the negative impact of the algorithm. I want to interact with others in the community just out of pure goodness and engrossment, not for any gaining intent. I don’t want to be attached to Google Analytics and media kits and DA’s. I mean, it’s beneficial and it helps put yourself into perspective, but I don’t want to be seen as the lower grade of someone else. I like to think that if PRs and brands like what they see, they will contact you anyway, no matter what that number on the page says.
The opportunities I’ve had certainly aren’t based upon a few digits. Blogging is so much more than the amount of likes, followers, and views on your screen. That isn’t what makes you special. Your life, your worth, and your skill as both a blogger and a genuine human isn’t defined by that. Putting your heart and soul into everything you do and remaining true to yourself whilst forming experience is what makes you great.
Taking it back to the beginning is the direction I aim to go in. Remembering exactly why I started and reflecting on my blogging journey. I’ve never been one to intensely track my success in numbers but even as I implemented this into my approach, it wasn’t why I began to explore and develop my very own corner of the internet in the first place.
So, yes, I do lose followers quite rapidly. I’m not the chattiest or the funniest or flawlessly consistent and I’m past letting that one curated, fixated side take over my life. Feedback is amazing. An increase in likes and messages and followers are bloody brill but I’m done taking offence if I don’t see that regularly. It’s flattering to know people are recognising how hard you’re working and valuing that but if it isn’t your cup of tea, then that’s okay!
Since lowering my expectations in myself and my relevance, quitting the harsh focalising, and ridding of the tactical notion I’ve noticed a lot more genuine appeal head my way and that says more to me than anything.
I’ll never be mega popular, that’s just not who I am. I don’t have the lifestyle privileges to allow me to be on board with the top dogs who absolutely slay their way through their online career and I ain’t even stressed about it anymore.
Maybe people just aren’t a fan of my universal tableau and that’s fine, as long as I’m still being me.
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