Tag Archives: Instagram

Does Curating Your Feed Come At A Social Price?

I remember when Instagram first started and I thought to myself, “Why do we need a place just to post photographs? Isn’t that what Facebook is for?” Little did I know that it would become one of the most popular social media platforms in the world. However, over the last six months, I haven’t enjoyed it as much as I should and I started to put so much pressure on myself. So, instead of complaining about it, I did something about it and that’s what today’s post is going to be about. (I understand the irony of that last sentence because I know the first paragraph coming up, is me complaining) 

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Before you roll your eyes, I’m not talking about engagement. The amount of Instagram posts, blog posts and tweets I have read about “the lack of engagement” is shocking and quite frankly, very boring. I understand that the platform has changed recently and less of our followers are seeing our posts (I talk about how this hasn’t been the case for me later on in the post) but the constant stream of complaints is too much. Putting your new post in your Instagram stories but colouring half of it in to make me click on your profile and go to the new post, is not going to make me like your post. If anything, it’s going to make me swipe through. I understand why people do it; maybe it’s a tactic that works to get more people engaged with posts, but for me, it’s extremely frustrating. 

I have got caught up in the Instagram hype before. The platform was exciting and fun for such a long time but there was a time where I got obsessed with having to post twice a day and I always worried that I didn’t have good enough content. It’s that “comparison is the thief of joy” quote that comes into play and I can relate completely. My flat lays were never good enough, I didn’t think that my content was interesting and I saw so many other people who were so careful with what they posted that it became this beautifully matched theme. I started to question why I was bothering. Thankfully, I seem to have dug myself out of that hole before it got any bigger. It’s now is a place that I post on when I want to, not out of pressure (on myself). If I don’t post for a few days, I really don’t mind now. It’s the quality over quantity that I believe we should all be focusing on. 

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For the last few months I have struggled between two bridges. One bridge is supporting as many bloggers as I can and the other bridge being that I want to curate my feed with what I want to look at that fits my style, my personality and how I want to live. You can’t do both, trust me, I have tried.  

I felt guilty at first because I am a former people pleaser so that started to creep in a little; you don’t want people thinking you don’t like them especially with those you know locally. That’s the biggest pressure I put onto myself and I absolutely hated that I couldn’t get past it for a while. We preach so much about how important it is to put ourselves first especially when we talk about topics like self-care so doesn’t this fall into that too? What’s more important; following lots of accounts so you can say that you support everyone but missing out on the content you actually want to see or is it more important to see content you prefer but feel less involved with the blogging community? Do you even feel less involved because you don’t follow everyone? Do you have to follow everyone to feel involved? 

I would be the first one to stand up and say if my content isn’t your style or if you find it completely boring, then unfollowing me is the best thing for you. I could never be offended or annoyed at someone who didn’t enjoy my content anymore. I wouldn’t want anyone following me because they felt like they had to or they thought I would hate them if they didn’t. At the same time, I don’t want people to automatically think I don’t like them (because that’s not the case) just because I’m no longer seeing their content or simply because their content is just not for me, that should be perfectly okay. 

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I’ve never been someone to have one of those applications on my phone that tells me who follows me or unfollows me. I have no interest and I believe it can be quite damaging to your self-esteem if you are constantly checking who is unfollowing you. There’s certainly no judgement on my part if you are someone who likes to check that type of information but it’s not for me and really, is it any of my business why some-one doesn’t want to follow me anymore? 

I was watching Just Laura Jayne’s Instagram stories recently and she talked about the fact that we didn’t need to follow every single local blogger because we still see them at events and some we don’t even talk to even if we do follow them. I definitely felt the pressure to follow every local blogger or every blogger that followed me, even if their content wasn’t even close to what I wanted to see. Doing that meant my feed wasn’t curated for me, it was curated simply because I wanted to feel like I was a good person. It’s almost like we’re putting this platform on a pedestal and using it to show how connected we are like we used to do with having tons of Facebook friends or having the perfect top friends on Bebo. I shouldn’t have to prove how connected I am to an interest by how many of that same community I follow.  

Curating my feed took quite a few days; I wish I had saved the exact number of accounts I used to follow but I know it was close to the 2000 mark and now it’s around the 500 mark. I’m really happy with the changes I have made because I’m seeing more varied content which makes the platform more interesting again and it’s more “me” now. I’m following more accounts that post about home interiors, minimalism, wellness and health and you have no idea how nice it is to see more posts that I feel more connected to. 

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Funnily enough since making these changes, I find that more people are seeing my Instagram stories. Now, I’m not sure whether this has anything to do with minimising my followers but it’s certainly a nice surprise. I’m really happy that it’s something that I feel like I can be open about and put into my own words because it’s something I had struggled with for such a long time. 

As for the title of this post, does curating your feed come at a social price? It really depends if your followers determine your worth. If you’re doing it for you and you’re seeing more of what you want, then it’s not coming at any cost. If someone unfollows you because you don’t follow them anymore then that’s something you shouldn’t worry about because they’re in it for different reasons than you. However, if you slowly but surely see your followers drop and you feel bad about unfollowing the accounts you used to follow, then yes, you are paying the social price. At the end of the day, it’s all about how you view yourself on a social platform. 

I would love to know your feedback on this because I certainly can’t be the only one who felt the pressure to follow everyone, whether that was on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram. It’s important not to take these platforms too seriously but at the same time, I can understand why someone would feel worried about unfollowing a certain person or a group of people. Thank you so much for reading today’s post and if you have any similar posts to this, you can always catch me over on my Instagram or Twitter. (Oh and all of today’s photographs are from Pexels.com)

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Fear and Emotional Attachment On Social Media.

As human beings, sometimes we’re programmed to over think in certain situations, and I would say I have been dealing with this lately, more so on social media platforms. I think intently about what I want to post on platforms and not only how it could affect me in the future, but what it was like at that present moment. Over the last few days, this thought has been stirring up quite a lot and I’ve found it very hard to put it into words, so forgive me, my head is a little scattered. 

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Recently I went down for a lovely weekend trip to Dublin with my boyfriend who had organised the entire trip and it was a complete surprise. We had a lovely trip but not once did I feel the need to post about it on Twitter or Instagram at the time. I didn’t feel the need to lift my phone for a photograph like I normally would and this behaviour for me, it wasn’t something I was used to. I’m not attached to my phone but as someone who loves to share photographs of what she does, where she eats or where she visits, I was conflicted. I took a small number of photographs but it wasn’t anything significant.

I love having memories, even the upsetting ones. The feature on Facebook where you can look at your posts from a year ago or however long you’ve been on Facebook, I almost have to put up an emotional barrier to stop myself getting attached to certain memories. As much as they can hurt sometimes, it’s nice to have a memory of a place I visited or an activity I took part in that day, in photographic form. That’s where my issue lies, it could be seen as fear. Do I put something out in the social media atmosphere that while I love it now, could be upsetting in the future or do I continue to post what I would normally but try and let go of an emotional attachment? 

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I could consider myself an emotional person. Having been in therapy for a few years, I know that this isn’t a bad thing, it’s very much the opposite. It shows you aware of your emotions and you are passionate but it’s also a curse. I’m very sensitive so when it comes to criticism, I have gradually learned not to take criticism personally but that is still very hard and it takes time. Looking back on a memory can be very rewarding but if I have an emotional attachment to something I have posted about, then those emotions can go into overdrive. Having dealt with symptoms of depression and anxiety over the last two years, my emotions if they aren’t controlled quickly, can spiral out of control and it can take time to come back from that (depending on the situation). 

Both scenarios that I spoke about earlier, aren’t what I want. Posting on social media while having that fear, is living in the past of what has happened before but worrying about the future. Continuing to post and trying to cut off my emotions is telling myself that my feelings are not important and I should avoid feeling sad or disappointed. Surely that’s not the way to live my life? When you realise that negative feelings and being upset are part of life, why should you try and shut them off because they’re uncomfortable to deal with? 

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Living in the moment will never be one hundred percent sustainable for me and I’m completely fine with that. I will never not worry, I can work on my personal development skills alongside my emotions to combat my stress and worry in particular ways but I am under no illusion that I will be able to cure my worry of predicting the future or thinking too far back into the past. What’s more important right now is that I am aware of this behaviour because while I can’t control every single emotion, it also lets me think more intentionally about what I post online and why I post it. That is more important that fighting the internal battle of trying to let go of emotional attachment or pushing against the past and the future at the same time. 

SS: Sunday Saves (#72)

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Hello everyone, Happy Sunday! It’s quite chilly this morning so a very large cup of tea and a big bathrobe is needed. I hope you’ve all had a nice week so far; I’m back with another Sunday Saves where I highlight three posts that I’ve read through the week that I think you should be reading too. I’ll be talking about things you get excited about as an adult, unfollowing people online and talking about your faith.

1) The Curvaceous Vegan (10 Things You Get Excited About When You’re An Adult)

The way I talk about new bedding is the way I used to talk about new Barbie dolls as a child. Amie talks about things we get really excited about as an adult, bedding being one of them and I couldn’t agree more.  Also, who doesn’t love being a fresh new cooking pot or taking a trip to IKEA? Such a relatable post.

2) PageTwentyFour (Why You Should Begin Unfollowing)

Over the last few months, I’ve really looked at who I follow on Twitter and Instagram. I wrote a post about Facebook friendships and deleted so many people I never talk to (You can read it here) In regards to Instagram, I looked at who’s stories I would constantly skip and if I wasn’t interested, I would unfollow them. If I seen a stream of tweets from someone who was either talking about something I didn’t like, I wasn’t interested in or was quite frankly bored of seeing on my feed, I would just unfollow them. Does that make me a horrible person? Of course not, you might feel differently about that, but in my eyes I don’t see the harm if I’m not longer interested in seeing what you have to say. It doesn’t affect you in any way and if someone felt that way about me, I would expect them to do the same. Paige talks about something similar in her post but she talks about it in the aspect of accounts that can affect you negatively and make you feel bad about yourself.

3) Extraordinarily Mundane (Jenny’s Faith Story)

My relationship with faith is an unanswered one. I used to go to Sunday School when I was younger but the only time I go to church is when there is a wedding, a funeral or a christening. I don’t know if I believe that there is a higher power out there but one thing that I’ve noticed while reading blogs and writing them is that I don’t see a lot of people writing about their faith. I came across Jenny’s blog post and while I don’t relate to her story, I thought it was interesting that she was telling her story of how she began to believe in God. So if you’re looking for more bloggers talking about their faith and religion, I would recommend Jenny’s post.

That’s all for this week’s Sunday Saves! I hope you enjoyed and as always, go and give the posts a read if you can, I really think they’re great. And if there are any posts you think I should be reading, tweet me over at @RetroSnowflake 💛

SS: Sunday Saves (#63)

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Good morning everyone and welcome back to another edition of my Sunday Saves! If you’ve never read a Sunday Saves before, I choose three posts each Sunday that I’ve found throughout the week to talk about. This week I’ve decided to have a #NIBloggers special, and if you’re not sure what that is, it’s a hashtag used mainly on Instagram and Twitter for Northern Ireland bloggers. Being from Northern Ireland myself, I always think it’s great to highlight local bloggers as well as national and international bloggers. So this morning I’ll be talking about Instagram worthy feeds, becoming more ethical and tattoo stories.

1) Retro Rose (Is It Insta Worthy?)

Miriam Rose’s post about Instagram is something that I think we can all relate to. She speaks about some of her thoughts on Instagram including if you have nothing to post, that’s perfectly okay. I went through a period of panicking when I didn’t have something to post at least twice a day and I see on Twitter other bloggers who worry when they haven’t posted in a day. I soon came to the realisation that just because I don’t post in a day, it doesn’t make me any less of a blogger (or a person). She also talks briefly about themes and keeping to the same editing style which in all honesty, that wouldn’t be my cup of tea but whenever I see someone who has kept to a certain filter or style, I praise them because they have almost the perfect feed.

2) Lauren The Day Dreamer (Why I’m Trying To Be More Ethical)

I love that Lauren has decided to try and become more ethical! It’s something I’m trying to do myself; I haven’t ventured into any charity shops to buy clothes yet but I’m in the same boat as her. I tend to wear the same clothes over and over again and I’m definitely nowhere near as fashionable as Lauren so my sense of style could be labelled as boring but comfy clothing but I think I need to have another look at my wardrobe to see what I actually need and what I actually wear. Shopping elsewhere other than my regular H&M might even open my style habits up further too!

3) Sarah Louise Writes (My Tattoo Story #MentalHealthAwarenessWeek)

We all know that I love scrolling back on people’s blogs, not just looking at their latest posts and this is exactly how I came across Sarah Louise’s post about her tattoo. I don’t have any tattoos and I don’t know if I’ll never have one because I’m too indecisive, I’m more of a piercing woman myself but I loved her story behind the tattoo. I’ll let you go to her post to read her story in full but I think it’s so special to hear about the stories behind people’s tattoos because not many people open up as much as Sarah Louise has, especially when it comes to mental health.

Thank you so much for reading my post and remember to go to the featured blog posts to give them a read too. To catch up on my other Sunday Saves, click here and you’ll have another sixty two to keep you busy. If you want to keep up with what I’m up to during the week, I’m over on Twitter and Instagram. Have a wonderful day! 

Ice Lolly Delight at the Linwoods Hemp Protein+ Launch Evening.

Towards the end of July, I had the pleasure of being invited to one of my favourite cafes in Belfast to go to a launch event for a brand new hemp protein powder made by a local Northern Ireland company. The product was launched in Tony and Jen’s and if you know me or follow me on Instagram, you’ll know I’m quite fond of their pancakes.

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(The lemon meringue ones were replaced with cacao ice-cream one day and they were amazing!)

20170804_150347(The mint and cacao pancakes have been my absolute favourite so far, and yes, this is a double stack!)

While you scroll back to the pancakes again, I’ll tell you about the new product they’ve been making. With it being the Summer, who doesn’t love an ice lolly during the Summer months? That’s exactly what’s been going on in the special kitchen on the Lisburn Road; they have been making healthly popsicles that have been packed full of gorgeous ingredients. One of the ingredients being one of the Linwoods Organic Hemp Protein powders.

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(My favourite is the blue bag pictured on the right!)

Linwoods Health Foods are a local company based and founded here in Northern Ireland, which I think is what makes this just a little more special. We’re always saying we should celebrate more local businesses, so isn’t this the perfect way?

On the night, you got the option to pick between four different flavours. I ended up having two lollies (I had no dinner before I got there, so my decision was justified!); the first being cacao and mint (My favourite by far!) and the second being peanut butter and banana (My favourite smoothie combo!). This is where you got to be really creative with your lolly.

20170804_133807(Easier than ‘Snap Crackle and Pop’ right?)

Whether you’re a Notella person (like myself) or maybe cashew sauce is more your drizzle, you had the chance to add a sauce or two, add some ground nuts or sprinkle some raspberry sparkle over your lolly to really make it shine. Being a blogger event, you have to make sure your creation is Instagrammable so they had four mini perfectly laid out booths for them, but I am a fan of a marble background so I went there each time.

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(This was my first one: cacao and mint. From what I can remember, I drizzled it first in Notella, sprinkled hazelnuts and almonds over it and added an extra drizzle of cashew sauce over it.)

Jenny (one half of the lovely Tony and Jen) gave us an brief overview of their restaurant towards the end of the evening explaining why they choose to eat the healthy way, how the collaboration with Linwoods came about and then she showed us the process of how you make the lollies.

The goody bag we received at the end of the night were great! We even got our own little ice lolly moulds so we could make the recipes at home with the little recipe cards we received for the different versions of the lollies (See below!) We then got treated to a big bag of our own Hemp Protein+ and a few of Linwoods snack foods; all of which I have tried and I couldn’t wait until I got a good photograph of, sorry!

20170804_133709(When you turned it over, it gave you all the ingredients you needed, which wasn’t many to be fair, and how to make them.)

As I’ve mentioned before on the blog, I haven’t been to too many blogger events before and I’m slowly getting over my nerves of being shy and slightly to myself (I wrote a blog post on how my shyness could be perceived) so I feel like I pushed myself out of my own comfort zone by just walking up to someone new and introducing myself.

One thing I loved about this event in particular (apart from it being all about healthy food that I could eat) was that it was interactive. It wasn’t just someone handing out samples and telling you about the product so everyone had the same photographs or same experience; you got to choose what flavour you wanted to eat, you got to choose how to decorate it, you got to choose your own experience.

20170726_195024-01(This was my second lolly of the night; I chose Peanut Butter and Banana with the same toppings as my first creation except this time I added a little raspberry sprinkling too!)

If you want to find out anything more about the Hemp Protein+ Powders, you can click right here. If you want to find out more about the company itself, you’ll find it right here and finally if you want to find out more about Tony and Jen’s, you can find them on Facebook and Instagram.

Thank you so much for reading! All the recipes for the lollies will be on the Linwoods website and I can’t wait to make my own, I’ll probably be doing it in December, but hey, you can eat ice lollies anytime of the year, right?

 

SS: Sunday Saves (#49)

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It’s the end of April already! Just how? How are we almost half way through the year already? It’s absolute madness! Anyway, I hope you’re having a good Sunday so far and if you’re enjoying for Bank Holiday Weekend like I am, I hope you have a lovely extra day off.

Today’s Sunday Saves is focusing on the theme of social media changes: if you’ve been living under a social media rock recently, you’ll know that Instagram has been involved in quite a lot of drama and bloggers have came under fire not only from magazines and social media applications but even from each other so this theme seemed very appropriate.

1) My Life in Rose Tinted Glasses (What is the Instagram Shadow Ban?)

The words “shadow ban” have been flying around the past few days and honestly, until Francesca’s post, I had no idea what it meant. If you’re a little like me and need to be kept up to date with the latest changes and troubles to Instagram, this post is for you. It’s well explained without being too overly detailed, very easy read.

2) Maria J (Follow/No Follow Links and What They Mean for Bloggers)

As bloggers, there will always be a fine line when writing posts for companies who have sent you products. Some want more than others; some try and get you to change your opinion, some just want you to tell the truth and others try and get around it by asking you to put in a follow link. Like Francesca’s post, I had no idea what the difference was between the follow and no follow so if you’re looking a hand on what’s safe and what isn’t, keep this post from Maria saved in your favourites.

3) Kirsty Leanne (Why I Agree With Social Media Algorithm Changes)

Even when I just seen the title of Kirsty’s latest post, I thought “Oh that’s going to cause some controversy!” but as far as I am aware, it hasn’t. Reading her post, her points make sense and she sees this as a challenge, not a down fall. If you want to be successful, you have to work for it and easy engagement is not working for it. So if you’ve been feeling let down by the whole Instagram fiasco, go read Kirsty’s post and see if she can change your mind.

Well that’s all for this week’s Sunday Saves. Remember to click on everyone’s links and leave a little comment.. If you’ve missed any of my other Sunday Saves, you’ll find them all right here and feel free to have a look!

SS: Sunday Saves (#46)

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I’m back with another Sunday Saves and I hope you’re all having a lovely Sunday so far! If you’ve missed any of my previous Sunday Saves, you can find them right here! This week I’ll be talking about coffee shops, Instagram promotion and vegan YouTubers.

1) Lea Rice (How To Stop Feeling Guilty About Working From Cafes)

I don’t think it’s just bloggers that feel this guilt; I think everyone who just enjoys going to a coffee shop to meet up with a friend or spend time by themselves does feel that ounce of guilt when they tell themselves, “I really could just make a cup of tea at home, couldn’t I?” And it’s totally understandable to feel that way. We’re always told to save our money and one of those ways is to go out for coffee less; you can easily save a small fortune that way. However, there are so many benefits to getting out of the comfort zone of your own home and just treating yourself to a tea or coffee (a smoothie or milkshake too!) that you haven’t made yourself. Lea talks about the benefits and I whole-heartedly agree with her, so make sure you read her post and don’t feel so guilty next time you have a cosy cup of tea or coffee at your favourite coffee shop.

2) Phases of Robyn (Instagram Promotion: Is It Worth It?)

Promotion on Instagram is something that I had known about, from seeing it every day but I had no idea about the behind the scenes of it all. I didn’t know how much it cost, the process you had to go through, how long it lasted for or even if it was worth it. I’m so glad Robyn wrote a post on this because it will benefit so many other bloggers who are thinking of doing the same thing.

3) Okay Now Breathe (20 Vegan YouTubers You Should Be Watching)

Over the past year, I’ve become so much more interested in finding more plant based and vegan YouTubers to watch and Meagan has compiled the perfect top twenty list of YouTubers that she recommends. I can’t wait to have a big YouTube night to catch up on all these new videos that I need to watch!

Thank you for reading this week’s blog post and if you have any other vegan or plant-based YouTubers, please tweet me over at @RetroSnowflake, I’m due a YouTube clear out and I would love even more new faces!