NAVIGATING SOCIAL MEDIA ISOLATION
I wrote a story post on Instagram the other day, about how we deceive others to better deceive ourselves and it got an overwhelming response and seemed to particularly resonate with content creators. I thought I’d make it into a blog because we all struggle daily not only with knowing what to post on OnlyFans, or how to get subscribers, but with social media distractions, comparing ourselves to others and feelings of unknown negativity.
This all started after I read an article on confirmation bias, which quoted heavily from a psychological study from the 1970’s. It looked at the way we seek information to support our own beliefs and ignore information that doesn't. How we tell ourselves we’re smarter than others, or better looking, how we project who we want to be to the world in a self serving way to create social advantage.
I found it fascinating and incredibly relevant to me right now. One of the first things I ever wrote about when I started admitting to having struggled with my mental health for years, was how horribly isolating and triggering I sometimes find social media, even though it’s my job! It’s hard when you work from home creating content as you are not having that human interaction like you would normally have in a traditional workplace. It is so so easy to fall through the cracks and not notice when your mental health is suffering because of social media.
Right now for me, isolation feels just like how I felt that Christmas when I started writing about my mental health. Feeds full with people doing SO much, living out perfect isolation lives (sounds MAD, but you know what I mean) everyone has become a chef, a homemaker, or an athlete overnight, tagging endless friends in challenges. It’s all so jarringly perfect that it makes it difficult to find the motivation to switch into sexy content creation mode, especially when you are feeling nervous or anxious in your everyday life.
The most problematic thing for me personally, is that people like me are part of the problem! I am one of those people pressure posting, pledging positivity, informing people on social media marketing, keeping up with my actual job of working in social & being paid to do so, to be (quasi) influential and honestly, SO much of it is bullshit!
I just want to remind anyone feeling the same, that people really only share their best bits. The life you see is their highlight reel! Influencers, celebs or anyone with a slightly larger following even MORE so because they usually, feel like they have to and it’s their job. You know it as a sexy content creator - we are the masters of honing a fake confident image to make money from selfies - while secretly crying about our image and getting obsessed with how to get in the 0.01% of OnlyFans. We all do it!
Over the years I have worked with tonnes of influencers alongside knowing a lot of people with pretty large followings, especially in my old place of work for a huge media publisher. Most people nowadays follow at least a handful of influential people, and a lot of the time, we try to emulate them or their style of content creation. They are people that we look up to, but their real lives are nothing like you would imagine. I can tell you now; I have watched some of the HAPPIEST couples you see on IG cheat on their partners and act like they live the PERFECT life on social media the next day. I’ve listened to travel influencers bitch and moan after coming back from 7 star getaways in the Maldives about how much work they had on, and how they saw NOTHING. I’ve watched influencers switch from one personality to another one entirely in front of the camera in a matter of seconds.
I even did it myself! I used to present like I had THE PERFECT LIFE on social media in my last relationship, and really it couldn’t have been further from the truth. Try to remind yourself, if you feel alienated from socials right now, so many people will only ever feed you the story that they want you to believe because they want to believe it too. Just like I did. I wanted to believe my life was perfect, even though I knew deep down it wasn’t.
A lot of the time, when you look at people at the top of their game with the best fan pages, it’s simply a mask that you are seeing. They do this to protect themselves and their real identities from the world. A lot of the time, that’s all that we are doing too. We naturally lie to ourselves to deceive ourselves, and that’s ok. It helps build confidence, and actually can aid motivation, so it’s not always a bad thing.
We very rarely get to see behind the scenes, so do not punish yourself for having a totally shit day sometimes - ESPECIALLY NOW! Social media and social media marketing is HARD work; it is hard being bombarded with terrifying world news at the same time as images of perfect lives, perfect content, perfect bodies…when most of the time we just want to wallow and feel like an utter ball of shit. It’s okay to struggle sometimes!
The study I read went on to conclude that if we can get ourselves to believe something first, we’ll be more effective at getting others to believe it, so I’m working on turning this into a positive, to challenge my thinking; to learn. To understand that everything we see might not be 100% legit, but it's often how we cope with our own (often challenging) realities.
This mindset forms a huge part of the work I’ve done around mindfulness over the years, I need to believe it’s totally ok to take time off and away from social media, to spend time living in the now with people I care about and not be affected so much by the unreal expectations of the online world. It is only by taking time away that I can celebrate all the good there is out there that has come from being active on social media and sharing so much.
So many of you reached out to me after my Instagram story, and they were so heartwarming to read! The responses to my story really showed me why I share my truths like this, and how lovely it is to help so I made a list of things that you can do when you are struggling with your socials.
SOCIAL MEDIA SURVIVAL
SOCIAL SAFETY BLANKET - Think of social media like a safety blanket. It’s wrapped around real life there to protect you from the grizzly reality of the real world! It’s lovely and soft and warm, but you can pull it off at any given moment. You do not need to indulge in it everyday, social media scrolling is often habitual, so if you’re using it for work limit your time on there and stay focused.
USE IT TO LEARN - learn from things that make you feel bad and try to understand why. I am triggered by things certain people say so, I mute or unfollow them. I then try to work out why they make me feel that way or what can be done differently perhaps to not get a negative outcome. I then fill my feeds with content that interest me, and try to improve my craft! I read about influencer marketing, and influencer tricks or ways in which I can help people promote their OnlyFans on social media in this ever-changing landscape of bans and blocks!
MAKE IT POSITIVE - Look at your fellow content creators and see them as friends who can help you, not competition. Reach out to people with the best fan pages and try to learn from what they’re doing right! Pay people compliments, and build up those networks in the process - opportunities come from strong connections.
LAUGH - Remember social is a very fake place, it’s ok to laugh at others and yourself! Sometimes I have to tell myself this, because at the end of the day IT IS ONLY SOCIAL MEDIA. If you throw your phone out the window it no longer exists.
THINK BEFORE YOU REACT - I have had too many moments in my life where I have reacted before I have had time to think and it has not EVER served me well. Surviving social media right now, with all that extra time on your hands is hard - but you do have more time. If someone is annoying you, if you’re frustrated because you’re stuck with no fans, don’t react or lash out. PROCESS and work out why you might be feeling that way first, and how you can get help.
NOT EVERYTHING YOU SEE IS REAL - THE MOST IMPORTANT TAKEAWAY FROM THIS! Look at yourself - you put your best content out there, your sexy content creator persona - remind yourself everyone is doing the same. DON’T get fixated on percentages - it is a marketing trick, for all you know they might be making it up!
CREATE TO GIVE BACK - If you can, help others whenever possible. Create to give back to people, and turn your social space into a place where you give and take creative ideas - help newbies with OnlyFans advice for example, but don’t ever feel pressured to be a super human and take every class you see in your live feed right now.
AVOID SOCIALS WHEN YOU ARE IN A NEGATIVE HEADSPACE - Staying away from the internet altogether is something I have to do sometimes, and that is HARD when it’s your work, but essential for me to survive keeping up with my job. It reminds me that it’s all not real, and that I am in control with what I consume.
DON’T START TOO MANY NEW THINGS - If you weren’t doing 8 HIIT classes a week before isolation, it probably isn’t a great idea to start that now. Don’t feel pressured to become someone you’re not just because social media is telling you everyone else is!!