Online Life vs Real Life

Comparison is the thief of joy." - Theodore Roosevelt #RealBloggerBeauty

Today I’m joining up for #RealBloggerBeauty hosted by the beautiful Maya of Charmingly Styled (she’s also now one of my cohorts at Beauty Bets)! The mission behind #RealBloggerBeauty is to recognize that we’re all human and that even when a shiny life is projected on the internet, we all have insecurities, fears and heartache.

Bloggers sometimes get a bad rap for projecting a life of perfection. Recently there have been headlines about how social media is creating varying degrees of depression and anxiety for people because they see these shiny images on the internet and compare their own lives to them. You know how it goes: you’re at home alone on a Friday night, scrolling your Facebook newsfeed when suddenly you see a photo of that-one-girl-from-college. She’s skinny, tan and having dinner on a private island in the Maldives. It looks like something straight off a Travel Pinboard. Suddenly you realize just how boring and sad your life is. It hits you in the stomach and makes you want to abandon your 2-year cell phone contract. Why do you do this to yourself? Trust me, we all do this to ourselves.

But no one (okay, probably someone does, but in general, no one) posts photos of the bad parts of their day: the 75-minute commute to work, the 4 hour meeting that they wanted to cry through, the bills they can’t pay, the yard work they’ve totally abandoned (raises hand), or the unhealthy meal they are about to devour and thoroughly enjoy. We upload photos when we’re trying out that new trendy restaurant, not when we’re at home with a bag of chocolate covered peanuts, and it’s important to keep that in mind—-they might be having the time of their lives right now, but yesterday they were the one on the couch scrolling their newsfeed.

Projecting yourself in this “online reality” becomes an even bigger issue for bloggers—-for many of us our blog is a source of income or maybe a full-time job, and our social media becomes an extension of that. We spend a weird amount of time strategizing about how to promote our content on Pinterest, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram in order to get readers to our site and increase our traffic. The more traffic, the more potential there is for income. When social media becomes part of your job you become even more aware of what you are putting out there—you want everything to project the life that you write so earnestly about on your blog—-organized, clean, stylish, trendy, and definitely not messy. You feel the need to style your life just like you style your outfit. No one wants to see the 2 weeks worth of laundry waiting for me to wash it. And no one wants to see a bunch of clutter in your kitchen, either. Or do they? Would seeing the imperfection along with the perfection make bloggers seem more real, or would wiping away the shiny patina destroy the version of us that you thought you knew?

I don’t know the answer—-but I do know that initiatives like #RealBloggerBeauty might help us all recognize the need to separate our life from the online life projected by others. We all spend Friday nights on the couch with a bag of chocolate covered peanuts and 3 baskets of laundry waiting to be folded, we just don’t take photos of it.

You can find more bloggers teaming up for #RealBloggerBeauty by visiting Maya’s post and viewing the link-up at the bottom.

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