Okay so a couple of months ago an article I wrote was published by The Uni Bubble. Back then I was in the middle of a (long term) blogging hiatus, but now that I’m back I’ve decided to repost it on my own blog. I’ll leave the link to the original article at the bottom. Enjoy!
This is the age of social media. We exist in a world of snapchatting pictures of your clean eating, live streaming gigs, Instagram businesses, and retweeting everything your favourite celebrities or online influencers tweet. Social media is supposed to be a positive haven where you can connect with people who share the same interests, expand your knowledge, and stay up to date with everything that’s going on in the world; so why is it still so frowned upon? Why do people roll their eyes at excessive posting and view their social media addicted peers as “arrogant”? Why do people turn their noses up at others who use social media to try and change the world?
Posting a lot on social media doesn’t mean you’re unhappy with reality and trying to paint your life as being better than it actually is.
I speak from experience here, and maybe you won’t agree with me, but hear me out. Have you ever thought about how people use consistently posting online as a coping mechanism for depression and perhaps other mental illnesses? No, I’m not talking about excessive meme sharing here. I’m talking about the selfies, food pictures, travel updates, uni updates, shopping hauls, pet pictures, soppy (and maybe sometimes a little bit sickly) boyfriend/girlfriend appreciation posts.
Positing positivity does not necessarily mean that you’re trying to escape your negative life or mindset, it can quite simply be because you’re trying to recover. Spreading positivity should be contagious and it isn’t right to judge someone for doing that. These are all things that I myself post to remind myself that not everything is shit. I am not trying to “escape reality” by posting photos of my fancy lunch, new books, my peach iced tea from Costa, or pretty nature snaps. I am not trying to make my life sound better than it is by writing a status about getting a first in an assignment, about a holiday my partner and I have booked, or using the hashtag “date night” alongside a selfie which shows myself looking (and feeling) good after a long time of not bothering with my appearance.
It is nice to have somewhere to post about all the things that make me happiest and be able to share all of my achievements. When I’m in the midst of a depressive episode I can have a scroll through my Instagram or Facebook feeds and be reminded that I’m not alone, my depression and anxiety are lying to me, and that life can go back to being bright and happy again. I have spoken to so many people about this matter who are all in the same boat as I am: their social media accounts remind them of who they really are, why they deserve to be alive, and how far they’ve come during their darkest days.
Being happy and wanting to share that with the world should not be confused with arrogance and showing off. I’m a firm believer in people learning to keep their judgemental attitudes in check and realise that unfollow buttons do exist and there’s no shame in using it if you don’t want to be kept in the loop on someone’s life.
Using a social media platform to speak out isn’t just for celebrities.
I’ve heard it all before: “do you think you’re famous?”, “why do you post about stuff like that? You can’t change anything”, “nobody takes you seriously because you’re just a normal person”. Or my personal favourite: “she acts like she’s Instagram famous, but she only has just over a thousand followers and it’s pretty cringey.”
If celebrities can use their platforms to speak out about the things they’re passionate about then why can’t we? Not being a household name doesn’t mean that you can’t use your social media platform to help change the world. You don’t have to be famous to inspire people, and you don’t have to have hundreds and thousands of followers to be an influencer. I have had people message me to tell me that they admire my mental health advocacy, ask me for more information on the eco-friendly changes I’ve made so that they can do the same, and just to tell me about how proud they are that I’m using my voice and my platform to spread awareness, positivity, make an impact, and educate people. I also have online friends who I admire greatly for their mental health, environmental, and LGBTQ+ work; none of whom are famous! They’re doing it all off their own back because they’re passionate about making these change.
Fame doesn’t automatically grant you the permission to use your platform to speak out about what you’re passionate about. Being passionate about something, anything at all, grants you the permission to use your platform to speak out about it. Whether you have five million followers or five, you can still make a positive impact and people don’t have the right to accuse you of using your passions as a stepping stone to gain online recognition and fame.
This is the age of social media. We should all, famous or not, be using our platforms for good: to make an impact, change the world, educate people, and spread positivity and awareness. There’s too much negativity online and in real life, so it’s time that we change that.
Don’t let anyone’s opinions stop you from being authentically you. Don’t let anybody’s negative opinions about your social media feeds shame you into stopping posting about things that make you happy.