GOOD READ

So­cial me­dia has given us ex­cit­ing and in­spir­ing plat­forms for shar­ing our cre­ativ­ity on­line, but how do we use it con­fi­dently – and keep hav­ing fun?

Mollie Makes - - Contents - Words: HAN­NAH CARR Il­lus­tra­tion: LISA CONG­DON

Have a happy, healthy so­cial me­dia life

To post or not to post? That is the ques­tion, not penned by Shake­speare, of course, but con­tem­plated by many of us in our so­cial me­dia age. Plus, how much should we re­veal? And how do we keep it en­joy­able? So. Many. Ques­tions.

So­cial me­dia has opened whole worlds to us and our worlds to oth­ers, but it’s left us with lots to pon­der. Un­der­stand­ably, all these queries can leave us feel­ing un­sure when it comes to shar­ing on­line. Well, no more! We’re ready to take back con­trol of our so­cial me­dia lives, to feel com­fort­able, em­pow­ered and happy when post­ing on­line. You with us?

THE BIG RE­VEAL

As mak­ers, so­cial me­dia seems cus­tom-made as a great place to share our crafts, whether we’re sell­ing them or want to show­case the hob­bies that bring us joy. In­sta­gram alone is full of awe-in­spir­ing makes and per­sonal posts from the peo­ple be­hind the prod­ucts. But how much is too much when it comes to shar­ing?

Artist, au­thor and il­lus­tra­tor Lisa Cong­don ( www. lisacon­g­don.com) and Tara Swiger ( www.taraswiger. com), who o ers ad­vice to handmade busi­nesses, both agree that our fol­low­ers want to know a bit about us as well as our crafts. Tara sug­gests tak­ing time to plan the di­rec­tion of your so­cial me­dia and list­ing what you do and don’t want to fea­ture – some­thing you can re­visit, even if you’ve had an ac­count for a while.

Mean­while, Lisa em­pha­sises that a com­fort­able level of shar­ing di ers from per­son to per­son – it’s all about do­ing what’s right for you. Lis­ten to your gut but be brave too. “What I usu­ally like to re­mind peo­ple is that if you have a sink­ing feel­ing you’ve shared too much af­ter a post, maybe you have. On the other hand, maybe you’ve also just shared some­thing un­com­fort­able that will con­nect you to peo­ple who deal with the same is­sues or anx­i­eties.”

Lucy Ni­cholls of fash­ion and life­style blog Shiny Thoughts ( www.shinythoughts.net) takes a pause be­fore post­ing. “I sense check be­fore I post a cap­tion as to how I may come across to peo­ple such as my old school friends or my di­rec­tor at work.” Want a sec­ond opin­ion? You could also show con­tent to some­one you trust and ask for hon­est feed­back be­fore you post it.

Some­times it’s all about con­text. If you don’t want to re­veal too much day-to-day, you could take part in an In­sta­gram chal­lenge, us­ing its prompts to share more about your­self dur­ing a set pe­riod along with other mak­ers. In­sta­gram Sto­ries are a great fo­rum for shar­ing more about your­self as well. “I love In­sta­gram Sto­ries be­cause I can share bits and pieces of my life for short 24-hour pe­ri­ods with­out over­whelm­ing peo­ple with that kind of stu in my reg­u­lar feed,” says Lisa.

FIND­ING BAL­ANCE

It can be tricky to find a happy medium when it comes to the fre­quency of our posts, par­tic­u­larly when we feel pres­sure to keep up with the so­cial me­dia Jone­ses. There are ever-chang­ing al­go­rithms to con­sider too…

Lisa has a re­fresh­ing ap­proach to this: “Hon­estly, I don’t pay very much at­ten­tion to the al­go­rithm pres­sure.” Tara agrees: “Fo­cus on en­gag­ing peo­ple… and don’t spend time gam­ing the sys­tem.” Both make their own rules that work for them, with Lisa post­ing nearly ev­ery day. “It’s part of my busi­ness prac­tice and so much a part of what I do that it’s as ha­bit­ual as brush­ing my teeth.” Tara tries to post daily, Mon­day to Fri­day, so she’s con­sis­tent and can con­nect with her fol­low­ers. “But if I feel poorly that day I don’t fake it.”

Re­mem­ber, it’s fine to take a breather. Lisa pays at­ten­tion to how so­cial me­dia makes her feel and has a break when she needs it. And, Lucy re­minds her­self it’s about post­ing con­tent she’s happy with, not post­ing for the sake of it. For her, suc­cess on In­sta is about “the qual­ity of your con­tent and the sto­ries you tell”.

Hold on to your sense of en­joy­ment and it’ll shine through. “For me, cre­at­ing a cu­rated gallery of my life’s colour­ful mo­ments is what brings me the most joy,” says Lucy. Tara agrees: “I love In­sta­gram best when peo­ple are hav­ing fun with it and post­ing what they love, so I know the same must be true of my feed.”

Af­ter all, whether you’re a ‘Gram­mer, Snapchat­ter or Face­book fan, you de­serve a happy so­cial me­dia life that’s packed full of in­spi­ra­tion and en­joy­ment.

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