The impact of social media and the lessons learnt
I’ve been posting about my style on Instagram since February 2019. Straightaway, you learn that compared to others, you’re behind. Behind on followers, behind on the style game, behind on concepts & ideas, behind on relationships that others have already formed. Just behind.
What happened to me (and what I think happens to others) is that you want to play catch up. So invariably as my interest lay in fashion, I started buying more clothes. You get this overriding sensation that as your wardrobe stands, it looks insignificant compared to your peers, to those who are showing up all over the hashtags and have thousands of followers already in the world you’ve decided to be a part of.
So I did. Buy more clothes that is. And without actually realising it (I was really wet behind the ears when I started on Instagram) I was now part of the ‘influencer’ industry. The funny being that I only started using this platform to help promote my now ‘not posted to it in like forever’ YouTube channel.
As the months rolled on, I started thinking more about what my followers and what any potential followers to my page would ‘want’ to see, so I bought pieces accordingly. A lot of them. I got to the point where I thought showing new outfits on every post was the ‘done’ thing. I want to add here that not every outfit I posted was ‘entirely new’ but I was definitely shopping more. This was a negative and a positive thing for me. Negative in that, I got carried away. I wanted to ‘fit in’ and like a new kid at a school that is already two terms through, I wanted to do things that I thought would please people. I guess initially, I lost my identity a little bit. At this point I just want to say that I’m being as honest as I can as I think I’m not alone. The ‘positive’ part was that sometimes you have to go to the darkest of places and make a lot of mistakes to eventually see the light. The may sound ‘cliche’ or like some sort of huge revelation but like most things, there’s a process. I guess this was mine.
As I spent more time on ‘Insta’, just like anything you do ‘too much of’, you start to get bored. Bored with posting, bored with seeing the same content, just bored. The whole process just becomes monotonous. I liken it to loving something like Christmas but knowing that if it was ‘Christmas everyday’, just how boring would that be? The excitement just dwindles. If you use Instagram, everyday, you’ll understand the absolute power it can wield as it’s a numbers games. Growing your account means more followers. To get followers, you need to post pretty much every day. You also need to comment back to those accounts that have kindly commented on yours meaning the time it takes can be completely consuming. So, I started to take breaks from it.
However, it’s actually when you take these breaks, the breakthrough happens. You have thinking time and there are questions you do actually ask yourself like ‘why am I doing this’? I often ask myself questions. The type if someone else asked you, you’d without hesitation smack them in the face questions. But I’ve come to realise, they are so important. It can take so much soul searching to find the answers or come close to them but the things that have revealed themselves to me in time, have really enlightened me and helped me not only to understand certain things, but also what I really should and shouldn’t be doing. What I want to do as opposed to ‘following the crowd’. For me this is the biggest part, as being different is something that isn’t a bad thing at all, it actually makes me the happiest because it’s who I really am.
I realised during one of these breaks that I didn’t have to put out a picture of a new outfit every post. That’s not what people liked about me. They liked me, my sense of humour. Yes they liked my ‘sense of style’ but I already had wardrobes full of that. My consistency, support on their accounts, my level of engagement, that’s why they were following me. So this ‘need’ I felt initially to keep buying clothes wasn’t a) something I was doing for me and b) if I thought buying clothes was the reason my account was growing, I was wrong there aswell.
So, having said all that, in January a whole new me emerged. The ‘responsible fashion’ me. To understand the exact reasons that led me to this point, please check out Part 1 in this series. I don’t like to overly use the term ‘sustainable’ as I feel like I’m a novice and don’t fully understand this word to it’s fullest. I’m constantly trying to learn more but I feel that with brands and the concept in itself, it’s changing so quickly that to use this word means that I know everything there is to know. I don’t.