All in a Muddle with Social Media


 

Day Sixteen:  Mine Your Own Material


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Scrolling through the examples for this task, one jumped out and said ‘me, me me!’  Amongst the suggestions for using your own posts on social media as inspiration for writing about how we now document and live our lives online, the one clamouring for my attention was how using social media feels.

This is something I think about way too regularly and still am none the wiser about!  How exactly do I feel about the world of social media we live in and how can I use it in a way that works for me without the unhappiness and stress which so often seems to dog my relationship with it.

My relationship status with social media…well as Facebook would say…’It’s complicated’.  I love and hate it, part of me enjoys the world it opens up to me and another part resents the time I use on it, the effect it has on my mental state.  Looking at social media can so easily trigger anxious or depressed spells in me, make me feel isolated or sad yet it can also make me laugh, feel cared for and connected.  Just what is a girl supposed to do about that?!

I am on the big 3 (Facebook, Instagram and Twitter) and have different issues/likes about them all.  Twitter I don’t really quite get if I am honest, it overwhelms me and I can’t keep up with it.  I dip my toe in it every now and again generally finding it not my thing and moving on.

Instagram is by far my favourite and one that brings the least amount of issues to the table.  Sure I can occasionally get caught in the ‘how many likes did I get?’, ‘I wish my life was like that person’s’ etc and when I do, I step back and have a little break from it.  On the whole though I find Instagram a happy, welcoming place to be and have found some of my most supportive friends there.  I no longer try to catch up with everyone’s posts and have a little scroll once or twice a day, 9 times out of 10 leaving with a positive tummy feeling (on an aside, why are so many emotions felt in the tummy…or is that just me?)

Facebook is the big one for me, the one I really wish I could sort my feelings out for.  I loved Facebook when it first started.  It was a social place where people shared photographs with others, talked about what they were doing.  It was like meeting up with my friends and having fun, except these friends could be at the other end of the country or even across seas.  Over times though that has changed, Facebook has changed and it has become more bloated.  I spend less and less time on it and when I do pop by for a scroll, my feed is full of shared memes (often at someone’s expense), articles, bad news or people arguing  about the state of the world/the UK/the TV/whatever.

I am all for debate and think it is good that people do get involved in politics or protests and petitions, something though about Facebook seems to say to people ‘hey it is okay to be really rude and offensive’  I find this and the constant sharing of bad news or ‘shocking’ events hard reading and often leave Facebook feeling down or with my anxiety pushed right up.

Facebook to me is no longer about spending virtual time with my friends, ironically sometimes I feel like I am losing touch with them more and more because of it.  I simply can’t be bothered to spend much time scrolling through all the stuff that clogs my feed and so miss seeing actual updates from people.  Nobody seems to tell each other their news anymore, it is all ‘oh I shared it on Facebook’.  Friendships no longer feel so special.

In contrast I have people on my friends list who I never really talk to or interact with yet I feel that I can’t unfriend them because of connections with other people.  I’d like to keep my friends list to exactly that ~ my friends, yet it feels out of my control to do so.  I know I can unfollow people to keep the peace yet it stresses me knowing they are there and I berate myself for not having the balls to defriend them.

This all sounds like it is obviously pointing towards a break up with Facebook however the situation doesn’t feel that straightforward (as life never is).  Virtually all my friends are on it including many in other countries and I feel that if I left it, I would lose touch with some of them.  I suppose there is the argument that is how life is, people come into your life and some stay, some move on.  I like though that I can keep in contact with people this way, I like seeing what my friends in New Zealand or Japan are up to, I like the odd exchange of comments or likes.  I want that connection, the question is can I have it without all that negative stuff?  I am not yet ready to give up Facebook, I need to find a way of making it work for me though or I will reach that point for long.

See I told you I was all mixed up about social media!  What are your feelings about social media?  Do you use it and if so, how do you balance the real and online worlds in your life?  Am I alone in finding it all such a muddle?!

April’s Instagram

Rolled up wallpaper samples for product photography

My favourite photo of mine on Instagram in April

My enjoyment of using Instagram is continuing to grow and grow.  Using it to both publicise my button jewellery as well as show my photography and life is something I take great pleasure in.  Add in the lovely feel of community I get interacting with my fellow crafters, seeing all the amazing photographs out there and getting to have a general nosey into the life of others and…well…I think I have finally found the social media for me.

Having followed an Instagram challenge in March (click here for the #marchmeetthemaker summary), I did approach April a little concerned – would I lose focus, struggle to find photos to put on every day, run out of ideas?  Thankfully these fears proved groundless.  I love finding things to include on my feed and seeing what gets responses from others on there.  The photos that for me got the biggest responses this month were these two:

Business cards for Mr B's Button Jamboree

New business card design

Nippori station, Tokyo

Nippori station, Tokyo – our old local station

Okay we are still talking small numbers…everyone has to start somewhere though!

I am experimenting with my feed at the moment and trying to use either the same or similar filter for all my photos.  I kind of like the effect (what do you think?) although I am finding that what works for my more general photos doesn’t always work for all photos especially my product ones.  I think I will try this for a while longer and then maybe try a different approach.

To finish off today, here are a few of my favourite photos from my Instagram feed last month.  To see more, why not head over to Instagram and follow me there!

Instagram summary April 2016

A few of my Instagram highlights for April

#marchmeetthemaker summary

 

You may remember that I have been taking part in a daily photo challenge on Instagram  called #marchmeetthemaker.  Well we are now on the last day of the month and so my first Instagram challenge is at an end.

It may have been my first challenge, I certainly don’t think it will be my last though.  Taking part in a challenge where I have had to create a photo each day based on the prompt provided has helped stretch me creatively and I have thoroughly enjoyed it.  I have seen my follower numbers increase and met some great creative friends in the process.  It has helped me to start develop an identity for my Instagram feed and given me plenty of food for thought in terms of developing it as a marketing tool for Mr B’s Button Jamboree.

So here is the summary for days 16 – 31 of the challenge.  Check out the original post here for days 1 -15.

I couldn’t resist the opportunity for another time lapse video for day 29: In Action

MarchMeetTheMaker on Instagram

 

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Having initially been very reluctant to join Instagram, I am now completely in love with it as a platform and hopefully as a way of marketing my little shop.  I used to view it as something used by beautiful and young people who particularly liked sharing photos of their food.  Towards the end of last year though I had a look and realised it is so much more.  Being someone who loves photography of many different types, Instagram opens up a whole world to me of inspiration, enjoyment and community.

Partly to improve my Instagram photography and to encourage my creativity, partly in start engaging more with the creative community on Instagram, I have joined in with #marchmeetthemaker set up by Joanne Hawker.  I thought it would be good to do a half term ‘report’ on my involvement so far.  It has obviously done me some good as I have increased from 49 followers at the end of February to 96 today…only 4 away from 100!

 

Day 11: Post run was my first attempt at a time lapse video – I have discovered a new love I think!

How much time?!

I wrote a week ago how I was planning my social media attack.  Well I am continuing merrily along with it…well I say merrily…doggedly may be closer to the truth.  I am determinedly sticking to my schedule, following my courses and focusing on one platform a week.  This week my focus has been on my Instagram account and I feel now that I have a better idea of what I want out of the account, how to improve my photos and have already gained another 13 followers…on my way to my target!  Taking part in #marchmeetthemaker has helped to give me a focus too…for this month anyway…

Instagram feed

Here is how my Instagram feed is starting to look now…I think it is starting to look better and more coherent…do you? (okay maybe the cat game spoils it slightly!)

It has come as somewhat of an unpleasant surprise just how much time I seem to need to devote to social media in order to see my products noticed by potential customers.  When I started up my business, I had this image of spending my days either crafting or doing non-business activities.  The amount of time I have devoted to social media and how much I need to focus on it in the future has come as quite a rude awakening especially for someone who didn’t really spend much time on it before.  Hopefully putting the effort in now will reap rewards later both in terms of reducing the time I have to spend marketing on social media and of course in more sales!

I have found some time for crafting though and hope to have some new products ready to sell very soon – yay!