My Break-up with social media

How would your friends and family respond to you taking a legit social media break?

Perhaps you are not on social media often and they wouldn't think much of it.  Maybe your mom would text you in a panic to make sure everything is okay, and subtly imply she is concerned about your mental state.  There might be a possibility your significant other would be greatly concerned that something they did or said influenced your decision.  Some friends and family might suggest you are unrealistic and will even laugh at your attempt to break things off.  You will likely second guess your decision and wonder if you will really be able to follow through with it.  

This was my experience.  After reassuring my mom I was fine and making sure my husband knew this wasn't because of him, I made it through the rest of the day with lots of time left to spare.  I even went to bed early.  My day wasn't sucked up by the endless stream of Instagram and Facebook awesomeness.  Before quitting social media I would compare myself to Westley in the Princess Bride when he is in the pit of despair having his life being sucked away by Prince Humperdinks torture device.  I was spending so much time scrolling through post after post, feeling like a jerk if I didn't push the "like" button on everything that showed up on my timeline.  I was spending so much time doing this, that it was sucking my life away post by post.  Not that the things on Facebook and Instagram weren't important, because they were very important and it was hard for me to miss out the lives of people I care about.  I just knew it was more important for me to be more involved in real life, not social media life. 

 

 

Underground Social Media

So what finally made me do it? 

I knew I spent a lot of time on social media.  That wasn't any kind of mind blowing insight. Especially with my blogging, brand promotion, and photography.  I began to notice that I was becoming envious of people who are not on social media.  The people who don't post because they don't have an account.  I wanted to become one of them.  I imagined they had more happiness because they could do things without feeling like they should post about it.  They have a less is more thing going on, no one knows what's going on with their life, and that makes them even more intriguing. 

The biggest thing that influenced me to take a break was the underground social media world that I found to exist while I was promoting brands.  When I refer to the underground social media I am talking about the money maker side of it.  When you get into blogging and becomming an ambassador (a representative for a brand or company who promotes merchandise through their own social media profile/account) there is a whole other world people are unaware of and it can be tricky if you don't know what you are doing.  From big companies to small independent ones, marketing on social media is key.  So I don't knock them for that, but I do feel like a lot of people on social media do not know the ins and outs. Even with my experience of being an ambassador, I am sure there is tons that I don't know. 

If you don't mind losing money, but want to get more likes and followers on your own private account, then being an ambassador is for you.  All you have to do is collaborate with a brand, buy tons of their merchandise, and post pictures of yourself wearing that merchandise.  Then the brand will feature your awesome photo on their social media account and bam!  More followers!  If it was only that easy.  The reality is that if you don't have many followers they will likely not feature your picture unless it is crazy awesome.  In fact, most of the time they wouldn't feature pictures from their ambassadors at all.  They would feature pictures of people who have tons of followers.  Makes sense because they need to get their name out there, and what a better way to do it than featuring a popular social media account? The problem with this is the ambassadors pay their own money (usually at a discount but not free) to buy the merchandise and they don't even feature their picture.  So if you want a chance at being featured you better have loads of follwers ASAP or hire a professional photographer and have them take a picture of you hanging off the edge of some amazing cliff all while smiling and wearing a shirt that has the brands name on it.  Otherwise, there is no guarantee that being an ambassador will even help you get followers. All loss and no gain. Not only do they not feature your picture, but they have a steady source of income, you!  Now, not ALL brands use this tactic.  Lots don't even have ambassadors.  Some will send you the merchandise for free in hopes you will promote it.  The way to know if you are in a good partnership or collaboration is if they hold up their end of the deal.  Make sure you are getting a return on investment. 

Before I continue on with my post I want to say that my collaboration with Be The Rad was amazing. While I was an ambassador for a few brands, they were the one brand that donated most to charity, made their purpose about giving to others, and actually gave their ambassadors the recognition they deserve. I am grateful for the opportunity I had to be an ambassador for their brand. Also I want to be clear in saying I promoted a bunch of brands that donate to charity, and I was not an ambassador for all of them. There are a handful of brands that I promoted simply because I believed in their cause. And I still do. 

Okay ready for the rest... (game on) 

The part that bothered me the most about the underground world is how I let it affect my confidence in my photography.  When the brands didn't use my pictures, I tried to follow their recommendations and take pictures based on that instead of my own inspiration.  I felt like I would only be featured if I hiked a thousand miles to the bluest glacier, located in a private ocean, then have someone take my picture while I do a handstand yoga pose on the ledge at sunset. Sounds extreme, but that was the reality. Since I wasn't planning on doing that anytime soon I started spending more and more time trying to get pictures my brands wanted instead of expanding on my own artistic ability. My whole mission became lost and so did my unique and original photography ideas.  I was streamlining myself without even noticing.

Because of these things I was done being an ambassador, and I had little confidence in my photography skills.  I cared too much about what people thought about my photographs.  Art is when the photographer is able to take pictures of what they see as beautiful. Not changing their photography to blend in with all the rest.  I was super disappointed that I let others influence me in a negative way.  That is why I was in need of a social media break.  To find my confidence again, reinvent my mission, and take pictures that I think are awesome regardless of the amount of likes attached to them.  My social media break has made me see how little it matters.  Life is what matters, REAL life.  And being present matters even more. Seriously, there is nothing more important on social media than the conversations that are happening right in front of your face.

 

 

Fishing is more fun than social media

Lemonade stands are better money makers than social media... not really! But lemonade stands are still better.

Boxing is more awesome than social media

Buying a new house and making it ours is so much better than social media

The Monster Jam rocks compared to social media

 

There is a time and place for social media. It's not ALL the time and it's not ANY place. Because I wasn't on my phone all the time I noticed the crazy amount of people who were. I don't want that. I have enjoyed my life without social media and hesitate to get back into it. I look forward to wishing people happy birthday again! But I am glad I can live my life without feeling like I need to post about it. And as for the "like" button, popularity contests are for Miss America contestants and politicians. Remember that!