So. I’m currently in the process of transforming into a not-so-stay-at-home mum and full time blogger. I’m morphing as a person, going through some pretty big changes, many of which I’m sharing with you. I am in the social media world which means I am social, when I want to be (currently sitting in the waiting room at the dentist about to have part of my gums shaven off, didn’t ya know). Instagram is my real life but its not my full life.
Flash back to 2 years ago and the main criticism levelled at bloggers was that their content was not “real” enough. People felt alienated by photos of women sitting in immaculate living rooms with a throw casually draped over a wicker chair. “My home doesn’t look like that”, was echoing through the minds of people and sometimes, even the comments sections of Instagram. Nowadays, and thanks to the emergence of Instagram Stories during the Summer of 2016, we’ve got our hit of ‘real’ and we’re all sharing more and more authentic, raw stuff. So far, so good.
But now there’s a new type of ‘real’ that followers are wanting and it’s a deeper, more meaningful, more gritty one that lands slap bang in your direct messages*. Now it’s about ads, and it’s about identity. It’s about “did she get paid to post that photo of a bar of soap?” and “but hang on, you said you’re vegan but you’re eating cake in that photo”. It’s about apps that tell you whose unfollowed you. It’s about beating the almighty algorithm.
People want 100% transparency, and they want consistency. And whilst I can promise you the first, I can’t attest to the second. I’ve written before about how truthfulness is paramount to me. I show real life. And sometimes real life CAN be (and look like) a fairytale; sometimes it can be a pile of laundry and mop of greasy hair. Journeying one week to America; the next week to Aldi. Hiking boots one day; high heels the next. Wearing a leather bag (albeit second hand) in one photo; discussing a vegan toothpaste in another. Staying in canvas tents one Summer; the occasional cushy hotels the next. Whilst I might show you a corner of my kitchen, I’m not (yet) ready to give you a tour of our home. I have my own moral compass which I use to guide what I do, where I go, what I buy, how I work. (And to be clear, I turn down freebies most of the time, and say no to working with brands on a regular basis. Hartley jelly containing pork gelatin? Not on my grid.) And whilst challenging people in a controlled way is something I welcome and is changing the world in unforseen ways, being judgmental in a mode that someone would never do in the real world is not.
The problem is, people want to put people in boxes. “Ah! she’s the flexible working mum/ she’s the Earth mum / she’s the mum who talks about mental health.” And the problem is, that’s not how people work and that’s not how life works. I do promise that when things are important or interesting or relevant to you, I’ll update you because I have a responsibility to do so – I realise I have a ‘voice’: “I’ve decided to be an antisocial vegan”, “#Hosted”, “I quit my job“. But in the words of Clemmie Telford, “I am not a public service”. I’m a person and I truthfully and unapologetically share what I want to share (and work hard doing so). I’m journeying, learning and transforming every day. And I’d love you to be here too (just please don’t bite)
* OK, this has happened to me once but cripes, did it get me thinking. And kinda mad.