Trying to be social

I am terrible at social media.

There, I said it.

In my last post, I said I was planning to switch to Instagram to catalogue my sewing as I felt I wanted to record my progress and I didn’t have time to write regular blog posts. I have been doing this very regularly but every time I go to post a picture I find myself asking myself why I am doing it. Very few people follow me – mostly just companies who followed me to get a follow back to boost people viewing their product – and it is rare that someone likes my posts. I know that the key is to persist. You keep posting, using the relevant hashtags, tagging the relevant people, riding the latest bandwagons, following all the right people until eventually more and more like-minded souls find you in return. But I find it hard to persist when I feel like I am just posting into the void.

I also feel there is a lot more pressure to make my pictures pretty as so many other Instagram accounts are full of stylish and cool photos. I find myself wondering whether spending longer on the lighting or getting the angle right or investing in matching sewing supplies would make my posts more enticing but I’m not sure this is a rabbit hole I want to fall down!

I try to always tag in the designers of the patterns I’m using in the hope that they might share my makes, as they sometimes do, but have had no luck yet. I imagine they must get loads of people sharing things and tagging them and I’m not surprised to have not been singled out among the masses but every now and then I wonder if mine simply don’t get shared because they are not good enough.

This is the central danger of social media. It makes you seek approval you would have otherwise happily lived without and causes you to question why you are ‘unpopular’. It can make you feel invisible as you silently watch others get noticed, going unnoticed yourself.

I want to experiment with a Vlog now that I have more time, but it feels very alien to me, as I feel like I am talking to no one. I wrote a post on not really minding if no one really reads my blog, about finding that writing things and putting them out there was cathartic even if you do not think anyone will read them, but for some reason I do mind if no one reads my Tweets, follows my Instagram or watches my Vlog.

I tried Twitter briefly. I managed the Twitter feed for my department in my last job so it isn’t a new format for me but it was never one that I wanted to use in my personal life. I have some very funny friends with excellent Twitter feeds. They have really mastered the art of this short and to the point format. I am not one of them. I did not want to be one of the millions writing banal tweets that no one wants to read and that no one is reading. I was doing some research on historic costumes and so I joined Twitter and followed lots of exciting costume historians and museums and every time I logged in was a delight. My feed was full of beautiful fabrics and fashions throughout the ages. A few friends found and added me but I wasn’t tweeting. Now that I had a few followers I felt a lot a pressure to Tweet but had nothing to say. Eventually, my research at an end, I found that my feed being full of (still beautiful but) no longer relevant historic costume no longer suited my needs and I gradually stopped checking in at all.

I think perhaps if I was more active on forums, like the (truly excellent) Fold Line, that might lead people I’m chatting with to seek out my Instagram but I don’t yet feel confident offering suggestions or answering other, probably already more experienced, peoples questions. I haven’t felt confident enough to review anything yet either. I’m still at the ‘it might have gone wrong because I did something wrong’ stage when mistakes happen and generally think it is my own ignorance and not the pattern that is at fault. As my post on fear of failure will highlight, I also find it very difficult to ask for help as it means admitting that I do not know something so I haven’t posted any questions of my own.

I also know that I ought to comment on more of the Instagram pictures of people I follow but I feel like a bit of creep commenting on the pictures of people who are effectively strangers to me! It has taken a lot just for me to start liking pictures! I feel like my comments would be an unsolicited intrusion even though I know that the very act of posting something to a social media platform is to invite comment and interaction.

The multi-pronged attack also requires a lot more time. If you are active on forums, writing blogs, composing Vlogs and posting on Instagram – when do you actually find the time to sew?! I am still very slow at sewing and I don’t want talking about sewing to replace actual sewing!

In spite of all the evidence that perhaps all this sharing on the internet malarkey might not be for me, I have decided to attempt a Vlog and you can find post one here:

So far, I have learned from this that when on camera I use my ‘posh phone voice’.