I planned this post a couple weeks ago when I was still at home, aka still had my life in check, and every time I’ve sat down to write it I’ve hated it. The sentiment remains – bloggers are going to be at least a little bit different in their real lives than they are online and this is just something we should, and somewhat do, accept and acknowledge. However, my approach to this post has changed because I’ve been AWOL for nearly two weeks. I’ve missed my last two posting days because life has gotten in the way and, on a scale of 1 to 10, I am 852 stressed right now. The blogs gotta take a back seat while I prioritise my irl life ahead of my online one.
We already know that this blogging thing is all about relatable vs aspirational right now, whether you’re perfecting the balance of the two or appealing to either end of the spectrum you know that there is a general ~vibe~ that bloggers have to be truly themselves online and not fake. All true, I can’t discredit the importance of being genuine online – especially when it’s to an audience who trust you, but can we acknowledge that we are at least a lil bit different online on our blogs and ‘gram captions than we are irl?
It’s not a bad thing at all, but if you think I walk around saying happy sunday! to my friends the way I do in Instagram captions, babe you are wrong. I feel like there’s a certain patter you adopt as a blogger, a bit like when you’re working in retail and you’ve got your typical hi, how’s ur day been, dya need a 5p bag? chat for the customers and the ugh I cba for this, why is Gemma being such a bitch today? ffs this dress we are selling is ugly af chat with your work pals. Oh, and if you worked at the same store as me then part of your patter was also to try and sell a credit card. Lol. I digress, there’s a sorta typical routine bloggers stick to in terms of language used to interact with followers and other bloggers and there is absolutely nothing wrong with this. It’s not fake just because it might not be said in real life, spoken conversation.
There is pressure on bloggers and ~influencers~ now more than ever to be real and not mislead your followers and this is something I completely understand – if you’re promoting a product just for the sake of it and not because you remotely like it then that’s when you’re misleading your audience, but if you’re being this peppy gal online when you might not be the same 24/7 outside of your blog and your social media accounts, this can’t be called fake or misleading. We all go onto Twitter and Insta and see some drama every so often where a blogger is called out for being fake, and a good half of the time the blogger is so not being fake and it’s a reach. If someone seems bubbly af online and you bump into them in Topshop when they’re alone and stressed and carrying 15 things then they might not be as bubbly and that doesn’t mean they’re fake or creating a false persona online.
But now onto the realisation I’ve had recently whilst neglecting this blog because I’ve had a dozen other things to do for uni that obviously must come first. I struggle to be online me when I’m not doing well as irl me, which is actually proof that online you (or at least me) is based off of irl you. It’s too draining for me to sit here and type up a post, edit pics and come up with an Instagram caption when I’m struggling to do the work in my life that is a necessity. This blog is not a necessity, and arguably nor is my degree, but I’m making my degree my necessity because at the heart of it my blog is, and always will be, my fun lil hobby. I can’t give time to my fun lil hobby knowing that I am neglecting things I need to do. I couldn’t even if I wanted to. The reason I’d sit here and try to write this post over and over and end up hating it every time is because I couldn’t be online me if I hadn’t sorted our irl me. I had too much guilt (and still do tbh lol) about spending time I could be writing and revising on this blog and everything that goes with it. So I unintentionally took a break. Barely scheduled tweets, barely posted to Instagram. I haven’t put up a blog post since I got back to uni – when my prev one went up I was still in the car back here. It’s been nice to know that I don’t have to worry about this on top of other stuff I have to worry about, but I have had guilt over neglecting this blog too.
The difference between neglecting the blog and neglecting everything I’ve got to do for uni (other than the obvious that uni is uni and my blog is just the fun side hobby) is that I literally cannot be the blogger me right now. I can continue to write and revise for uni no matter how I’m feeling, but I can’t do all the blog stuff if I’m not feeling it, because online me is different to irl me. Online me hugely relies on irl me but I can’t think up funny / cheerful / bubbly / sassy / all of the above Instagram captions when my mind is locked into doing work, and I can’t be bothered to use my free time to write a post or schedule a bunch of tweets when I either feel guilty about having spare time and feel a need to fill it with work or want to enjoy my spare time whilst I can.
We’ve pretty much come to accept that social media is a highlights reel – the best photo from the 200 you took is the one that gets posted, you’re not going to tweet about the mental breakdown you had over your nail breaking, so we need to accept that someone might not be the exact same irl as they are online. Balancing your life with your online presence is hard, I touched on it in a post thinking I’d just about managed it and of course this last week or two I’ve barely touched Instagram, gone days without scheduling tweets, not had time to sit and reply to blog comments, and missed my posts. If I’m having a busy and/or stressful time I’m not going to broadcast it to the world, I’m not going to write a blog post about how much of a struggle everything is at the moment, I’m going to take a step back and sort my life out before coming back to my blog. The online persona bloggers have is real, it just might not be 100% of them. I can easily hold my hands up and say that some of my blog patter makes me cringe when I’m just chilling in my own time and reading back on a post or an Instagram caption, but I wouldn’t have been able to write it if that wasn’t part of me. I feel like I can justify investing time into this right now so that’s what I’m doing and I can happily and easily sit here doing the whole writing a post, editing the pics and planning the ‘gram and twitter posts to go with it. Online me is curated around the highs and has to be slotted around things that are a bigger priority for me in life. A blogger’s online self is just part of their irl self. It’s not not their true selves, but it’s only a portion of it so don’t go calling people out for being different in other contexts.
I love when I hear and see bloggers speak candidly about trying to maintain their blog life with their life offline, when they can admit that they are different irl. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with it and I am v happy to hold my hands up and say that I’m not exactly the same person. If I ever walked around saying Happy Sunday!!! I’d want someone to slap me, but Imma keep saying it on the ‘gram because that is low key a part of me.