I’m pretty sure in blog etiquette, you’re not to start with a question. But that’s what I am going to do on this post. How’s your relationship with Instagram lately? Are you feeling like it brings positivity and joy or rather comparison and negativity? It’s not just about Instagram though, it’s about social media. How’s your relationship doing with it?
Social media is everywhere lately and it’s one of the main forms of communication between people. For us, we feel that social media is making our lives better but also ruining it all at the same time. We wanted to dive a little deeper into our thoughts about the topic of social media.
Social media making me feel bad
I’ve been an active user of social media for over 10 years now, although never pursuing it as a career or anything. It’s always just for the fun of it. Yet lately, I found myself wondering why I wasn’t enjoying my experience as much. And I’ve been feeling like this for a while now, just so unsure of what exactly I was feeling. But I noticed that I was finding myself in this comparison mode, overwhelmed with the amount of bringing value to your life teachable content, feeling like there was nothing relatable or genuine any longer.
The comparison game
I had to ask myself why I was feeling this way. I’ve always felt like I had a good sense of understanding that what I see on my social media feed is just a pure highlight and not real life. I knew the people who were living the life that I wish I had, worked hard to get there. They had taken a different path than I and that was fine.
The comparison thing hit hard for me when we started to work on our bus. Like most people, we searched social media for inspiration on design and what we could be done in a converted school bus. For a while, it was fun. We sent each other pictures back and forth, creating ourselves a little collection of bus photos. But it was about this time that I started to feel pressure and the comparison game started to happen.
Obsessing over interiors
It’s funny that around this time I came across this article on my Twitter feed about how this millennial who figured out why we are all so obsessed about interiors. It was such a good read, I found myself nodding and even laughing at the article. It was our inspiration for this week’s podcast episode. In the article, the author paints a picture of how your scrolling through your feed, you see a picture of a nicely decorated interior. You can picture that lamp in your home to find out that the lamp costed way much more than what you would ever pay for a lamp. You can’t help but wonder how are they able to have these things? But at the same time, it brings you peace as you get to be noisy in someone else’s home just for a minute because you know that’s just not your life.
It happened with our bus build
When it comes to our bus build, I can’t help but laser focus on how other people have styled their buses. I’m intrigued by the paint color, the decor, bedding or even throw pillows that add that personal touch, that make the bus home. The reality is that the majority of the buses you see online are beautifully decorated and put together. But there are so many other buses that just don’t look like that. I remember talking with my friend who lives in a bus about this. I had asked her why she didn’t show more photos of the inside of their bus. She responded that she didn’t feel like it was picture-worthy, or people wanted to see it because it wasn’t pretty. At the time I didn’t understand, but now I do.
As I have become more and more aware of my feelings, I noticed that I had similar feelings towards interior pictures I would see. I would see these other moms online, in beautiful homes that feel fresh, nicely decorated and flow. This would make me feel like such a failure in a sense. I would question why did we have to struggle to be able to afford a home let alone a simple apartment. Why did our home look so junkie and not cohesive? Why was I so bad at decorating? All the questions I had no answers too. Just questions that made me feel horrible about myself.
The power to control your user experience
I learned an important lesson from this time of my life. It was that I have the power to control my experience on social media. Let me explain. As much as the creators of these platforms have designed it for users to be addicted, by creating an experience where you lose track of time in the scroll, ultimately they do not control you. The algorithm can try its best to guess what content you would enjoy, but you have the power to choose to participate in that content or not.
Getting back control
To be able to exercise that power more, there are certain things that we feel strongly that needs to be done. The first is to turn off the notifications. It’s been said over and over again, but it is true. The notifications are just invitations into the experience of the app. Of course, you can choose what you want to do about it, but not having to make that decision? Colby would call that decreasing your decision fatigue. The fewer notifications we get, the easier it is to not think about the app.
Unfollow because you can
Secondly, it is 100% ok to unfollow people and accounts that make you feel like crap. Colby has unfollowed a bunch of bus accounts because of this. I unfollowed travel accounts. Unfollowing is exercising your power to bring you back into control. Finally, follow only categories of things that don’t make you fall into the comparison game or influence you negatively in any way. For me, I love to follow a lot of food photos, not only because I love to find new recipes, but because it doesn’t influence me emotionally. I love a good animal photo as well.
It is up to you to take action to make your user expense a more positive one. No one can do that for you. Social media doesn’t have to just be a negative thing. It has brought so much good as well. It’s easy to forget, to get comfortable with you not taking charge of the decisions you make. Even the small ones such as your relationship with social media. But we want to tell you that it’s a big deal. Because when you can get in control over the small things in your life, can you imagine what you could do next?