Unfiltered is a series we showcase in our print mags each month where Brisbane readers share their stories about the good, the complicated and everything in between. This month, we discuss: social media.
MR TAKE IT OR LEAVE IT
I’ve had a fairly strange relationship with social media and am currently conflicted on what to do with it. I’m involved in a profession where it means more to have a sizeable presence than any real skill. As such, the industry is dominated by “influencers”. I understand social media is a necessity these days and I have actually gained sponsors through my following, but some days I do wish I could just delete it and move on. Every year I do take breaks and I’ve found this helps with the toxicity of the environment. Around three months of every year I travel internationally and do my best to resist my phone. The disconnection definitely helps and feels really sweet to actually take in the moment, without worrying about posting or engaging online.
MR MICRO INFLUENCER
Over the last couple of years, I’ve amassed a decent following on Instagram, posting photos of my personal style and my love for classic menswear with modern and contemporary details.
I developed an interest in menswear quite late. I was in my mid 20s but quickly got tired of the ever-changing trends from one season to another. I found the more sartorial part of menswear to be more sustainable, not just in terms of the environment, but also in terms of style. It also fitted nicely into my line of work as a lawyer. I do what I do because it’s my passion, but along the way it has developed into something more meaningful than that. I know its cliché but if I can help someone along their style journey or give inspiration to others through capturing images of essentially what I put on each morning, then that makes me feel great. After all, that is how I started my journey, and it motivates me to continue creating new content.
As my followers have grown over the last couple of years, I’ve started to attract attention from companies who want to send me product or pay me to post about their business. I’ve accepted a few invitations, but this has been the exception rather than the rule. It’s never been something that I’ve treated flippantly – unless the product or brand resonates with me and my personal style and what my followers have come to know and expect from me, I won’t accept an invitation simply to make a quick buck. If it’s not something I would buy with my own money, I won’t get on board.
People can certainly be quick to pass judgement on social media. I try not to get involved in that negativity. At the end of the day, everyone is entitled to an opinion and express their own personal style. There is far more positivity that comes from what I do that outweighs the bad.
MR THINKING ABOUT THE FUTURE
I was on ICQ (a messenger service from the late 90s where you could message random people across the world), then MySpace, Facebook, Instagram, etc. I’m a GenY’er, one of the first to grow up as a technology native with access to knowledge and connections at the click of a mouse. This opportunity has allowed me to explore the world and maintain friendships, access a range of opinions and witness countless hours of dog videos. However, as time goes on, the value I find in these tools diminish further and further. The places I used to find value, knowledge and connections, have degraded. Facebook feeds full of extreme social and political clickbait have reduced the amount of credible knowledge to almost zero. Whilst this unspoken social pressure to always put our best-selves forward has ruined any genuine opportunity of connection.
My experience of social media has gone from something fun to a driver of anxiety. I now have a timer on Instagram and have deleted the Facebook app altogether. My hope for these platforms is that they go back to their essentials – knowledge and connectivity. My prediction is that they continue to push extreme populism and social anxiety. The good news is, the power to choose how much it impacts you is in your hands.
MRS BALANCING ACT
I spend too much time looking at my phone. I am consciously trying to reduce this, so I keep tabs on my screen time. My partner hates me being on it and says “if there’s one thing that’ll come between us, it’ll be bloody social media” so I’ve taken that on-board big time. He’s always reminding me to be in the ‘now’ with the person in front of you, not people you’ve never met. Phone time has also hindered my exercise time, so I try to walk more, scroll less.
Having said that, I use social media as a business tool for research and to keep in touch with family especially. I also love looking at travel destinations and have screenshots of so many beautiful places I’d like to visit. And there are a couple of people I really dig, so they inspire me. Though I know there’s a lot of bullshit going on too. I do feel for those, particularly young people, with low self-esteem who may be adversely affected by what they see. We hear about the increase in depression, anxiety, loneliness and body insecurity being linked to regular social media use. Relationships have busted up because of it, others have gone into serious debt to keep up with the lifestyles they are seeing on social media. Each to their own but personally I wouldn’t expose so much of my family and home life – that lack of privacy and security freaks me out.
I do feel there is a shift happening. I think a lot of untalented people have become seemingly successful, however, at some stage reality comes into play – businesses expect results and returns, and followers want authenticity. I think people will give up the facade (of fake) because it really is unsustainable and I also sense, that as humans we’ll focus more on ‘our true self’ and our ‘real’ relationships.
Got a topic you’d like us to talk about? Email Courtney at firstname.lastname@example.org