Anyone who runs a website, business or digital space seem to use this as an excuse as to why they haven't been able to abandon their socials, which is fair enough if you ask me. It is essential in this day and age to stay connected and create online content in order to run any sort of show, but how much of your time is actually spent being creative and connecting on socials, and how much is mindless scrolling and distraction?
Now I am in my final year of university studies, where I must squeeze every meaningful second out of my existence and put it to work; that meant learning how to get focused and not side-tracked by pointless tasks on that little device in my pocket. So to start, I turned off all my notifications (except calls) on my phone, and I began stripping it of apps whilst cancelling my accounts as I went along. For me, this meant social networking sites and apps that didn't enhance my life. What I mean by that, is that they didn't help me to connect with people in meaningful or creative ways. Twitter did nothing for me, I was never going to be a Tumblr kind of girl, and SnapChat was way too much of a distraction. Anyway, you get the point; I deleted a lot of sites - but not all!
I, like every person who has a business, band or brand page on Facebook, felt that I couldn't go without that outreach, and messenger was just the handiest wee tool. But regardless, my personal Facebook, and feed, were little to be desired after. I would spend about 2 minutes clearing emails and notifications, and a half hour scrolling through depressing, boring and useless jabber on that site, so it had to go. I set up a private page, with nothing on it, no friends, no news and no distractions. This allowed me to control the Facebook page, and have access to creative forums which are incredibly important.
Did you know that you can delete Facebook, and keep messenger? What a blessing.
After just two days, I was seriously benefitting from my minimal app usage. Much more productive, and whats more interesting, it was like a weight being lifted from my shoulders. I didn't realise just how anxious those little tings and beeps made me. The itch and irritation that came along with that flashing red light.
But just where did this leave me with my social media life? Well, I have Instagram and this very platform you are reading from. Blogging gives me an amazing booster for getting creative, making things and having a voice and I can't imagine a time where I won't wish to use it. Instagram is great for all of the same reasons, but it's more immediate and depending on how you use it, it can be very personal.
And now, something I want to play around with on VENT is YouTube. If you have been here for long enough, you might remember VENT vlogs, and cringe whilst doing so. They weren't absolutely terrible, they just mostly weren't great. Don't get me wrong, I'm not striving for greatness as I will never call myself a YouTuber, and I doubt I'll be in it for the long game, but it seems to work really well with my studio practice for TheASMRtist. It gets me carrying a video camera around, videoing real things that are going on, and creating videos based on that, and if that inspires me to create some short video work for my degree, then I'm winning. So far that idea has worked a treat.
What I think is so great about applying myself to this new project is that I can share snippets of my life, not just aesthetically pleasing bits, or particularly interesting, but real. It's like when you're parents got their first video camera and filmed absolutely everything; most of it's out of focus footage of nothing really, but nothing was for show. Now I treasure my family videos and snippets of life from way back when. I'm a fool for nostalgia, so hopefully this idea will be right up my street.
A big up to Rachel Ryan (a Dublin-based YouTuber) for inspiring me to start making a videos, and to start sharing more authentically. So that's why I invited her to share her opinions on the matter below and hopefully inspire more to #ShareTheRealYou!
I love social media and I feel like it’s getting an especially bad wrap at the moment simply because people are using it wrong. To me sites like Twitter, Instagram and Youtube have provided us with a platform to connect with people in a way that was almost unimaginable up until a few years ago and we don’t appreciate that. We’ve become complaicant with what we’re sharing, choosing content we feel will appeal to others in order to get those precious likes rather than sharing what we really care about. That’s not to say that all you should only be talking about politics or human rights issues, everyone enjoys a good outfit post or selfie, but maybe before we post things we should look at it a bit more critically. Does what I’m posting reflect who I really am? How is this post going to affect those who see it? Am I contributing to this unrealistic expectation of life that social media has been warped into creating?
I met the lovely Megan two years ago (still can’t believe it’s been that long) online when I commented on one of her videos. Last week we met up for the first time irl and had a brilliant night and now I’m going to visit her in Belfast next week. Through the internet I was able to meet this amazing lady who, without places like Youtube and Instagram, I may never have met. If you follow someone you like and think you would get on with don’t be afraid to reply to their tweets or comment on their videos, just have a chat! It’s such an amazing way to get to know new people and connect in a way that hasn’t been there before.
I really believe that if you hate social media you need to take a look at the people you’re surrounding yourself with. They are just platforms for people to post whatever they want and if your news feed is full of crap maybe it’s time to do a big ol sweep of your friends list and just keep the people who you actually like in real life and want to share things with. Lets be creative, lets use these platforms to meet new people and learn about other cultures and broaden our horizons. Lets not just follow or talk to people with the exact same view points as us. Lets challenge each other to be better and spread ideas that can help to change things.