Own Your Social Media

3 Apr 2016

TattooedTealady Twitter Account

I shared a post recently about controlling your online experience and following on from that I wanted to share some thoughts I have about social media, and the way it's getting a little out of control.

It seems like every month there is a new must have app that bloggers should be utilising to promote their content, apps to gain followers on, apps to draw in a bigger audience. With the ease of smart phones and tablets, keeping in touch on the go has never been easier and with social media well and truly at the forefront of everyone's mind, it's easy to get caught up in the competitiveness and pretty big expectations that come along with using social media.
TattooedTealady Instagram Account

Your accounts, your rules
I've spoken about the unspoken rules of blogging before and I think it applies pretty well to social media, too. There seems to be this idea that to use social media, you have to use it a certain way. Present a certain persona, have a certain look, be the one that gets the most retweets or likes on Instagram. At the end of the day when you tuck yourself in bed, those likes and retweets won't be there to kiss you goodnight, so stressing about them all day everyday is the last thing you need to be doing.

Use your social media the way you want to use it. Want to share everything that passes your lips on Instagram? Tweet passionately about causes that matter the most to you? Re-blog risqué lingerie and half-naked bearded men? Pin craft ideas or create a board dedication to your love of your latest obsession? Do it. You're the one that sets up the accounts, spends the time keeping it active, interacting with others. Follow your own rules, because no one else matters when it's you pressing the share button. The people who follow you on these accounts follow you because they like the content YOU share. If they wanted to see what someone else loved and shared, they'd be following them.

Be yourself, but do yourself justice
You should always do your own thang when it comes to social media, but there's a few things we could all benefit from if we kept them in mind.

As the saying goes, be yourself, because everyone else is already taken (or something like that...). There's no point trying to clone another popular Instagram account or trying to get the most followers on Twitter by mimicking another popular tweeter. There are so many different ways to use social media and so many incredible, fun and varied websites and apps; let your personality shine through each one you have!

Share the things you love, support the causes that speak to you, interact with the people that interest you. You don't have to be nice 100% of the time, realistically no one is. Discuss, debate, but do so in a respectful way that educates rather than lectures and you'll be remembered as the person who changed an opinion for the better, instead of that weird one that made someone cry on Twitter.

You could be a completely different person online to the one you are in real life, and that's totally OK with me. Just make sure the person you are online isn't a total tool. 

Create content your way
There seems to be this secret rule that your Instagram has to have a theme or your Twitter has to be limited to certain discussions. Why? Is that a true representation of you, or the things you love and want to share? If it is, then that's A-OK. If it isn't? Don't be scared to create and share content that actually represents your likes and interests, to create the content you want people to see.

If you have ideas in your head but you're not sure how people will take to them, let them spill out and share them with your followers and readers. Some people may not be keen, others may really enjoy that quirky unique passion you have. It may entice new people to follow and interact with you.

Sure, some people may decide that they aren't keen on the things you're sharing and unfollow, but does that really matter? You should always want people to follow you because they enjoy the content you share and want to connect - if they don't, they weren't the right followers for you.

Create your own communities
Whatever the topic, no matter how niche, you will find an online community full of people who share the same passions and interests as you. Whether that's the different blogging communities on Twitter or the endless supportive communities on Instagram (mamas, I'm looking at you!), there is a community for you. Find them, embrace them, connect with people from all over the world.

Maybe that community which gave you a boost when you most needed it will inspire you to create your own? A way for you to return the support to others that they were so happy to give it to you in your times of need.

Follow who YOU want to follow
Honestly, the amount of times people I have seen people get in a fuss over who follows or doesn't follow them. I've been guilty of it myself.

Back when I first started blogging I was followed by a pretty well-known UK blogger and YouTuber, we used to tweet quite often and interact; I was stuck between ultimate fan-girl and trying to play it cool. One day she unfollowed me and my first reaction was panic. What had I done? Had I said something to her I shouldn't? Did I offend her? I was so worried I had actually upset her, that I contacted her, apologised profusely for whatever I might had done, made myself look a bit like a twit if I'm honest. Now? I couldn't care less who does or doesn't follow me, so long as those who do are doing so for the right reasons.

I am extremely limiting when it comes to people I follow. I don't have time to scroll through hundreds of Instagram snaps or thousands of tweets each day. I like to keep my Twitter and Instagram following lists each to less than a certain amount, because that's just how I like to use my social media. The way I see it, that's my prerogative.

Yet the amount of times I have had people kick up a fuss if I have unfollowed them, who have tweeted me aghast that I could actually click that unfollow button. I was even badgered for several hours last year for unfollowing someone I felt I no longer had any common ground with. Is that how you want to use social media? To me it seems fruitless to follow people who don't interest you, or who don't share the same likes, passions or vibes as you.

You should follow people for very simple reasons; you like the content they share, you like the views and opinions they have, the conversations they start. Maybe you follow someone because you just want to see what they're loving right now or because one day you might pluck up the courage to tweet them and say 'Hey, I noticed you like x, I'm a big fan of x too!'.

Don't follow someone for the sake of saying 'I follow suchandsuch'. Don't get offended if someone unfollows you. Don't take offence to a decision made on a website or app that has no real effect on your real life. For the love of all things wonderful, don't follow someone you don't like and actually severely dislike, because that's just weird. Follow people because you want to follow and create content that leaves you with a genuine following that keeps up with your accounts because they actually want to see the content you share.

Genuine followers are what truly matters; quality over quantity, every time.