This is going to be a rant. Which I feel can be taken in one of two ways. Either frowned upon as an uber moan and you’ll tell me to shut up. Or, it’ll be treated like a juicy bit of gossip to be consumed and devoured with relish! Hence why I love a healthy debate. I really enjoy watching The Wright Stuff of a morning on Channel 5. I start with an opinion and sometimes find myself swayed to the other side. As a person, I always seek to understand. I always say ‘never judge a person until you have walked in their shoes’. I enjoy receiving both sides to an argument to really discern how I feel about it.
My bone of contention is about apparent falseness in the blogging world. I can totally agree with some of this. It is a tragic consequence of the social media, online world we live in. Nothing is real anymore. I’ve been saying this for years now.
I was watching RuPaul’s Drag race last night. Season nine. One of the contestants was talking about how some of the drag girls get a lot of praise for how they look online. But then the fans get disappointed when meeting the artists in real life. This proves exactly my point. With apps such as Facetune that are basically the public’s equivalent of the media instrusty’s professional air brushing. And the Snapchat/Insta stories filters that make you look all dewy and enhanced. Not to mention that white powder marketed as ‘selfie powder’ for a flawless finish! The selfie spotlights you can attach to your phone. The list goes on. It’s no wonder we can’t tell what’s real anymore!
Here’s a silly clip of me, trying out filters for the first time and making a twat of myself! It even loosely references RuPaul’s drag race! Werk it like a queen!!
Then there’s phrases that get banded about such as ‘be real’. It’s as if the world is now so fake, we have to keep reminding ourselves not to fall into the trap! This sense of everyone’s feeds looking the same. It’s all too perfect. Too curated.
The way I post on Insta has always been organic from the start. I do not force it. I post when I have something meaningful to show and use unique hashtags on every single post! (‘What?’ I hear you cry. No hashtag lists? Yup. I have to rack my brains each time to come up with 30 related hashtags!!). I would not want to do it any other way. This way, there is no pressure to post so frequently and try to think of content. This way, I maintain my enjoyment of it. And I’d hope that comes across in my feed. I seem to get a good slow growth in numbers. I started my Insta in June 2014 with 0 followers. Currently, I have 212! That is slow progress but I’ve seen it grow steadily over the last 4 years. And I’m totally happy with how it’s going.
So when people moan that it’s all the same, it means you just need to search for more unique accounts. Those with their own personal style will possibly stand out more. We need to get used to the fact that it’s all saturated, diluted etc. The differences in style are much more subtle, which is why it can all feel a bit samey. It is so important to find and get comfortable with our own personal identity. To think about how you want to portray your brand.
Find YOUR style. Get comfortable with it. Be consistent in it. Revel in it. Celebrate what makes you, you. Share it with the world.
I feel I must also defend the use of the word ‘tribe’ and comments that it alludes to being part of a clique where we all lick each other’s bums. I’m referring particularly to ‘pods’. Where you all agree to like/comment on each other’s posts to beat the algorithm. You can take this how you like. The way I choose to see it, is that if a computer generated programme is dictating who I interact with in my feed, then hell, I will be the one dictating thank you! Basically, it boils down to relationship. When we like and comment on every post, the fact of whether we actually like each individual post is not actually the point! The point is, we have chosen people we like. That we want to see more of. That, because we are investing in that individual person, it should follow that we will generally like each and every post anyway! Which actually does beat the algorithm because you then see the people in your feed you have chosen to interact with on a frequent basis.
I’m in an Insta pod. I quickly found it was too much pressure to keep up with the daily liking and commenting. So I still stayed but I just don’t post any of my stuff in the pod. However, because I’ve chosen to still like and comment with the people in my pod, to get chatty every now and then too, it still works, it’s on my terms and I’ve really enjoyed building relationships.
Everything is as you make it. I don’t see my pod as a clique but so what if it is? I didn’t really have that in school. I was known as a weirdo. I was mostly an outsider, friends with everyone but no particular group to hang my hat on, so to speak. I didn’t settle with a group of friends until about year 10! And even then, we were known as the ‘sad’ group. (This is 90’s lingo for not cool/not popular. Again, the supposed outsiders). So maybe that’s why, as an adult, I’m totally embracing it!
As creatives, we see the world differently. And for that fact, it is of utmost importance to be with people who also get that side of you. To be part of a tribe, to me, is simply a sense of belonging. Of being in relationship with people who want to cheer you on. And where that feeling is mutual. That these people inspire you and you want to see more of them.
Don’t get me wrong, I love to be a rebel! I hate following the crowd and will never do something just because everyone else is. But we mustn’t get caught up in that to the point of missing out. For example, I love buying printed leggings from the many stores out there. #leggingsaspants is probably now something that you would be called a #basicbitch for! (Basic meaning one who follows the current trends without any of their own opinion).
But do I care? Hell no! I like what I like, if it happens to be a trend, then, yeah, it grates! Unicorns for example. I’ve always loved the fantastical whimsy of those creatures. But when it exploded as a trend, I was actually frustrated! My thoughts were ‘how dare they make this once uniquely quirky thing MAINSTREAM’!! (Said as if mainstream is a most dirty word!).
It once again comes down to balance. I have no problem in relishing being different. But sometimes, it’s quite nice to follow along and feel a part of something. We need to stop worrying what everyone else is doing and just concentrate on our personal styles. To be comfortable to say ‘I love this trend and I’m tagging along’. Or to say, ‘hey, that’s cool. But not for me thanks’. In a non derogatory way.
And as for tribes, pods, cliques. I think this boils down to being secure in who we are. If that means you are happy to go it alone with occasional, random support then go for it. If you need a stronger, consistent support group, then go find your people! Only you know what is right for you. So let’s continue to celebrate each other and allow those organic relationships to form wherever the chips may fall.
Please do comment your thoughts, I say again, I love to hear all sides of the argument and we are totally free to disagree with each other!
Useful links and credits:
The bloggers featured in the collage were all the connections I made on the photo walk and West Elm party at Blogtacular in 2016. To find out more about the conference go to: www.blogtacular.com. And please do read my thoughts on community from Blogtacular 2017 here: https://www.justcreativejulia.co.uk/blog/blogtacular-2017-find-your-community
To read their blogs, from the top of the collage photo going clockwise:
Adele of www.nestanddressed.co.uk
Natasha of www.graphiquefantastique.com
Jane of www.instagram.com/workmanjane
Steph of www.beyondthesofa.com
Jennifer of www.jennifergracecreates.com
Emma of www.makeandfable.com
Rachel of www.holchester.com
Jodie of www.maidenheadmum.co.uk
Jenni of www.thebearandthefox.com
I'm Julia, Just Creative Julia, jolly pleased to meet you!
Welcome to my creative lifestyle blog, established 2014. My main sections are: creativity including crafting, poetry and interior design; well being including mental health, recipes and my faith in God; personal including parenting and my general introvert deep thoughts. You can also have a browse in my mug shop and Etsy shop.