I received a heartwarming message from a long time blog reader and IG follower asking how I juggle real life and an online presence. She asked “How or what do you do to make sure online ‘life’ doesn’t take over real life? Or, if you’re at peace with FB/Twitter/IG and they are not interfering or taking much of your real life activities, then what would be your best tips for us who are still trying to find the right balance of these two?”
There is so much in there and I’ve spent a great deal of time thinking about how to answer those questions but also consciously looking at how I use social media (especially Instagram). Over the past week I’ve found myself talking a great deal about why I started this blog and how I hoped A Life Un-Styled would be an online continuation of my real life journey towards living a beautiful life. Beautiful defined personally by Patrick and I based on what we value most.
There are instances when my online life takes over my real life and for that I’m grateful. When I moved to Canberra and later Dunedin, I didn’t know anyone. I had to develop friendships where circumstance (for instance in Dunedin where I wasn’t studying or working in an office) made it difficult to do so. I turned to Instagram to seek out like-minded people. Some of my dearest friends in both cities started off as Instagram or blog friends. When I was struggling with infertility and later in the first few weeks of Rafa’s life it was from my online community that I received the most support and love. There have been numerous moments in my life where my greatest support came from a group of online friends and readers. I don’t shy away from this. In smaller ways my online life does interfere with my real life – I might ask Patrick to give me a minute to take a quick photo before he drinks his coffee. I might stop mid-walk to take an Instagram story.
I certainly don’t feel that my social media presence interferes with my life. I’ve worked my love for Instagram into my life rather than working my life around Instagram (this is perhaps the best advice I can offer). I don’t go on a walk simply to have something to Instagram. I don’t get dressed up just to take photos for a blog post and then dress completely differently in real life. I photograph things that bring me great joy, things that I think capture what life means to me.
The only other advice I feel I can offer, which I follow myself, is to be really clear about what you will and will not post. With Instagram, I think of my photos in terms of categories and I encourage my clients to do the same. The criteria I have are: books, skincare, family portrait and style posts (to name a few). Yet within those I have clear ideas of what I will and won’t share. I’ll never share a photo of Patrick without showing it to him and getting his permission. I think people run into problems when they don’t have a clear sense of what they’re using social media for and when they don’t have an idea of the aspects of their lives they are willing and unwilling to share. I wrote this post on blogging and personal boundaries that you mind find interesting and related to the real life – online presence balance.
Is this something you struggle with?
Or perhaps you’ve now made peace with the two?
How would you answer the question my reader left me?