Whilst In London a short while back I mentioned to the girls I wanted to take the trip over to the v. pricey Belgravia to visit Peggy Porschens. A cafe which shot to fame last year for primarily its pastel pink floral exterior. I am sure the cakes are pretty good too. This cafe is an Instagram and blogger favourite. The perfect combination of bright, popping pastels, flowers, marble, tea and cake. Sounds heavenly, doesn’t it? Yet the experience I had whilst visiting this cafe was as far as I imagined it was going to be. It was a social media hell highlight and I couldn’t wait to leave.
I am conscious I am always slating Instagram on my blog. We all know Instagram is a showreel, we have all covered it and we know it. Although, If I am being truthful I am probably one of the platforms biggest fans. I use the app on the daily basis. If I was to have to choose between any of the social apps I would keep Instagram. But as time goes on the more I wish I could hate it. The more I wish I was never sucked in in the first place. Yes, it is doing wonders from a marketing perspective. As a business owner, I will forever feel indebted for the connections it has helped us build. Yet at the same time we need remember we are only seeing so much of something. A snippet into everyone’s lives they want us to see. Which is fine. I don’t want to see every cm of someone’s existence. Yet that trip, that short time I spent at Peggy Porschens changed so much for me. I actually laughed at how awful we looked as a generation. Had I been there with one of my grandparents I would have felt mortified at this representation. Had the place been empty, had I not seen girls vlogging the food they were not eating. The Instagram boyfriend who took 500 photos of his girlfriend outside the shop. The girls frustrated when someone opened the cafe door because it was ruining the photos. The group that didn’t even go inside to order anything, who sat outside on a rainy day having their photos taken, pretending they were there. The likelihood is I would have gone in. I would have ordered something, photographed it uploading it onto every platform available. This is the life I live, the life so many of us now live.
Right now, it is not a life I am proud of. It is a habit. A habit that makes us feel connected, accepted. As though we are achieving those success goals we all set. The success of being in the right places, attending the right events, liking the right brands. And whilst I could pull the plug on this ‘life’ I don’t want to. It would feel as though I was pulling the plug on a whole aspect of me. A section that perhaps needs to change but something I enjoy. After that trip, however, I knew I needed to go away and look at how I could make this work for me. The next time someone says, “we have to wait for Jade to Instagram this” it wouldn’t make me feel like a self-obsessed fraud.
These are the things I feel we can do to make ourselves feel better on social media
- Be Honest. From a blogging perspective, the Instagram accounts which are more vocal, honest and real are the accounts which continue to grow at a faster rate. Take Motherofdaughters for example. Clemmie’s photos of are of everyday real life and her captions function as diary entries rather than captions. There is no #blessed it is more #willIeversleepagain. We assume everyone around us is living this happy bubble life. We assume this because we never stop to share our own problems with people. We keep them bottled up so no one thinks we are struggling. Because everything we see is through rose tinted glasses. We don’t want to admit we can feel a little crappy sometimes. We assume that no one else does because the content we upload is merry and happy.
- Don’t worry about what other people are doing. Don’t feel as though you need to share anymore or any less of your life. If you are happy then that is all that counts
- Take time away from it if it is making your mental health suffer
- Be kind. If someone has posted a photo you like, tell them. Comment on how nice they look, how nice their outfit is or how well they have done something. If used in the right way social media can be a positive and effective way to build self-esteem.
- Only follow people you have a genuine interest in. Avoid following someone because they went to your school and you want to keep on eye on what they are doing. If they don’t make you happy don’t follow them.
- Again if looking at Instagram account doesn’t make you happy don’t do it. Simple as.
- Use it for good. To keep in touch with friends, make new friends, use it for inspiration on projects or gaining insights and advice.
- Limit yourself to a few hours morning and night to scroll through it
- Try and upload a true representation of your life. This doesn’t mean makeup-less selfies or documenting your midnight trip to Tesco. If you look at your Instagram do you think people would get a good indication of who you really are?
- Don’t worry about followers. The numbers on Instagram are as relevant as numbers on scales. They are no indication of who you are. Followers don’t represent what a good person you are, they don’t represent what a great friend you are or how hard you work. They are just a number. We are never going to be everyone’s cup of tea. Think of your Instagram as your space. Personally, I’d rather have a handful of nice people who care about me, who care about what I am doing, in that space than 20k. In that 20k there are going to be many, so many lovely people who do care, who do say nice things. This, however, is balanced out with followers who are just there keeping on eye on the rises and falls. Always remember numbers mean nothing.
This post is not a review of Peggy Porschen at all. As mentioned we did not eat at the cafe and I am sure on a weekday this little corner of Belgravia is as dreamy as it looks. This is an observation of a generation which so happened to hit me when there was no space for me to sit down and eat cake. Perhaps that was the fundamental flaw in it all…. who knows?