Everlane Muscle Tank | medium (made in the US)
Everlane wide leg cropped pants (gift from Everlane to review) | size 10
Birkenstock Birko-flor sandals
I mentioned last week that I’m rather “over” social media. I enjoyed not checking instagram or facebook while I was in Florida and thought I might maintain that hiatus once I returned home. I didn’t. Obviously, since I know many of you follow me on Instagram and saw that I posted this outfit I wore yesterday 🙂
What’s my problem with social media exactly?
I am an envious person. Hello!!! Scorpio!!!! There, I said it. I’ve always compared myself to others, and I wish I didn’t. Even though I know better, and I don’t indulge in it as much as I did earlier in my life I still get jealous. I see other people’s homes, lives, clothes, vacations, and I WANT that.
Social media makes it SO EASY to live in that destructive place if you let it. Instagram especially.
Often, when I do post on Instagram, I’m constantly checking to see who’s liked my posts and if I got any comments. I do that here, on the blog too, because I want to engage and have a discussion about whatever I wrote with whoever chooses to add their own perspective. But on Instagram, it feels more about approval, and being “liked” – quite literally – than it is about engagement.
And the “new” bloggers (ones that started since 2012-2014 or so) have been told that it’s all about “engagement” (and by that, advertisers/PR firms mean “likes”, not true engagement) on social media if they want to earn advertising campaigns or sponsored posts.
Since I don’t make much of my living off advertisements and never do sponsored posts, I have never cared a whip about getting more followers or likes, beyond earning them organically. I use social media as a way of engaging with my readers wherever they are. And I like to get glimpses into your lives too; it’s all about a deeper connection for me.
I appreciate the engagement on Instagram particularly, and lots of you comment there and not here, for various reasons I absolutely understand: it’s quicker, easier, and more instantly gratifying. I love that about Instagram. But it’s also strange/annoying that I’ve worked so hard to build up this little corner of the internet (Grechen’s Closet) since 2004, only to have it ever so slightly eroded by social media in the last five or so. It feels that way sometimes, especially since I’m quite old school, and honestly don’t “get” what the kids are doing on social media nowadays….
And I just don’t like who I become when I get sucked down the Instagram rabbit hole (as I did last night. Right before bed. Ugh). I don’t like how I feel, and what I start thinking about my own success, life, or home. I know it’s a matter of perspective, and it’s ridiculous to compare myself in that way. But it just happens sometimes. Instagram is also wonderful at instilling desire for things you would never have considered before – that’s the power of images.
So, I have shifted the way I think about social media, and am trying to detach myself from the results of what I post, not constantly checking for validation and “love,” simply appreciating every like, every comment, and enjoying looking through other people’s posts without getting too involved in them. It’s like a form of meditation for me now, Instagram; whenever a negative or envious thought comes up, I put it in the canoe and send it on down the river…
What are your thoughts on social media? Are you active on Instagram? Facebook? How do you deal with feelings of envy or comparison?
If you are on Instagram, and want to engage with fellow readers, please leave your username in your comment 🙂 Mine is grechen
I use facebook to see photos of my family & friends because they’re all over the world and I don’t get to see them in person as often as I’d like. I don’t use any other social media….(well, I use Pinterest but not in a social media way – more like a hoarder’s scrapbook of house plans for my fantasy life)
I love seeing your outfits and should (ugh, horrid word) use IG so I can see them more often, but then, eh, I have too much to do as it is and I have the blog bookmarked on my “daily” folder, and I’m a Taurus and we hate change 🙂
Social media – so many feelings! I feel like I’ve been through the rabbit hole. Had an active blog for a few years, made some great friends, went to blogging conferences, etc. And then, as Twitter + IG+ FB appeared, it all became more intense. And less fun. A grind.
It’s felt like a firehose of images and information. Sometimes it’s just too much.
I love reading your blog and others where I get a sense of the person behind it. Same with certainpodcasts. But I’ve dropped many many blogs from my reader and many more have stopped blogging too.
Envy and FOMO are part of it for me – I realized that I wasn’t feeling great about myself or my work when I spent lots of time on social media. And it became a default to fill time or deal with anxious feelings. It also happened at a time when I moved cities so it became a bit of a crutch to avoid getting out and meeting people.
So how have I changed? IG, twitter and FB are off of my phone. I still check in too often (for me) on my desktop. I also am doing more in the “meat world” that isn’t necessarily IG-able. Playing/learning bluegrass guitar, reading, playing tennis, improve my swimming, etc. Walikng my standard poodle too!
What do I still do? Twitter has been great for being more politically active and following people I’d never have met otherwise. A few blogs that inspire me personally or my photography or my love of theater and books. Same with a bit of FB.
It’s like anything – everything in moderation and with the right intent.
Grechen Reiter says
haha! i don’t share anything there that i don’t here, so you’re not missing anything anyway 😉
i use facebook that way too, just to keep up with relatives or friends that are far away.
I only got instagram so that I can follow all ES-related things (ES’s account and the SellTradeES account), and despite my obsession with it for fashion-related things, I mostly just post hikes that I go on. I almost never take pictures of myself and am not super into writing about myself on social media. I always ask “who am I trying to tell this to/looking for validation from? Maybe I should just personally contact the people I want attention from.” That usually dissuades me from posting much.
Oh shoot, I forgot Twitter – I do use that, mostly for work (following my field, tweeting at conferences etc) But I can go days and days without logging in.
I think the biggest thing for me is that reading (actual books, or a kindle when I travel) has been my favorite form of escape since I was 3, and I’ve never found anything online more tempting than a book to me 🙂
Were I to have a tombstone, it would read “Just let me finish this chapter” 😉
Grechen Reiter says
yes, moderation and right intent are key.
and i do the same thing – if i’m bored, or anxious, or procrastinating, or whatever, i check instagram. and i never ever feel BETTER about myself after doing that. i also usually check instagram if i’m out walking dagny and she’s taking too long in one spot (LOL), but i made a conscious point just a few minutes ago when i took her out, to NOT take my phone out. And i didn’t. I also didn’t miss anything SO IMPORTANT I HAD TO CHECK RIGHT THEN – haha…we never do, do we?
good idea to take them off the phone! it’s so much easier to get sucked in on your phone. i used to be very active on twitter in the early years, but i haven’t been on it in many years.
same with IG! just got an account to ES-stalk (which is totally dangerous). I follow almost no actual people. I got off FB years ago, not only because of it made me feel bad about myself for wanting some sort of validation, but also because it makes me super uncomfortable to see others’ lives in such intimate detail. Like, I just shouldn’t know the entire life trajectory of an acquaintance from elementary school! Also, I hate being tagged on any social media. I’m private and don’t want 1000+ people to know whose party I’m at.
needless to say, I haven’t lost touch with anyone who matters to me.
twitter is my political tool and news source. before this administration it was not on my radar at all.
Did you read my rant on this a few weeks ago? (Here: http://www.stylewise-blog.com/2017/05/self-objectification-and-personal-brand.html) Because we are speaking the same language. Since then, I’ve started to look at Instagram as an advertising tool. Share the post and get out of there! I am happy when people comment and message me, but it starts to take over my life if I’m not careful. I am actually thinking the dramatic algorithm change will help people unplug a bit eventually since you can’t game the system like you used to. I’m fine with smaller communities, which is why I still like commenting on blog posts.
I’ve been blogging since around 2010 or so and didn’t have Instagram until a couple years ago, so it’s been weird for me, too. I don’t intuitively get the point of Instagram like some people in my peer group and below do.
In many ways, I feel too old for social media, in a good way. Facebook started for college students after I had already graduated, so I missed that, and I’ve just never joined. Honestly, being in touch with people from high school gives me the creeps. 🙂
Sometimes, I feel like I missed the boat, as someone who went to college in the late 90s and early 2000s. Back then, I was just working hard to find a steady job, and I’ve often thought that if I did it again now, I’d choose to major in something like media studies or journalism. I find the internet and social media so fascinating, but more as an observer than a participant. Instagram seems so exhausting to me, and my life is just not that photo-worthy these days. Maybe when I was younger and had more “adventures,” but I’m okay with watching from the sidelines.
P.S.: Hi Sandra!!
I’m using FB less and less (too many nasty political posts….some of which I’ve been sucked into!) and Instagram more and more because I can post as well as view images that inspire me. Either medium keeps me connected to pics of my grandkids and where/what my kids are doing. But they’re all using Instagram more, too. I find fewer “mean” comments on the accounts I follow, at least, and that makes it a fun activity for me. I like interacting with people I “know” from blogs I read, but I don’t concern myself with likes. It pretty much holds steady where I’m at, anyway. I’m Mamavalveeta03 (of course!)
Yup! Twitter is my political connection.
You’ve inspired me, Sandra! I’m taking social media off of my phone. I’ve got it on my iPad and that’s enough!
I was at a concert about a year and a half ago and realized most of the audience were looking at their phones, not the band. I took Facebook off my phone the next day. I still check it on my laptop. I lurk occasionally on Twitter and only signed up for IG when I was applying for a job that might have required me to know of such things (I didn’t get the job… not because of IG though!).
I usually put FB back on my phone when we’re travelling out of the country. We were in Paris last year during the bombing in Nice and it was helpful to assure friends and family quickly that we were okay.
Ok, I have been working up to do this and your post today has been a big sign to finally post in your comments. I love your blog! I found you a few months ago and have consistently enjoyed your blog posts. I find that I am always happy to find your blog in my in box. I like your frank opinions and honest reviews. I am a huge fan of Eileen Fisher, 3/4 of my closet is her, and like that you love her too. I have found new brands to try because of you. So, you have an older fan in Dallas and I am grateful for your thoughts and opinions. Thank you!
Hah! Good for you!
Hi Catherine! I found Grechen through you btw.
I think when you’ve grown up without social media (the performative aspect), it can be more draining. It’ll be interesting to see the next generation’s take on it. There’s living a life and then there’s performing that living of a life.
As for me, it was a challenge to not get wrapped up in the number of shares/likes/comments.
Grechen Reiter says
welcome cynthia!! thanks for leaving a comment 🙂
and i’m so happy to have a fan in Dallas…
I’ve stopped using all social media other than Instagram, and might use that one a bit too much. But I’m a visual person, and it appeals to me. I’ve met some really sweet people, some of whom I chat with daily/weekly, and like that you can use it to find commonalities to build connections. And I like fashion/style, and am crazy about textiles, and not many people I know irl do so it’s a good place to exercise that set of interests. Also, cat pictures.
I’m an IG person myself. I have two diff accounts but the one I use for posting “fashiony” stuff is @clotheshorsey. And I only “blame” Grechen for influencing me on the fashion front. If it wasn’t for her I likely wouldn’t have heard of Elizabeth Suzann and about half the other items I wear! 🙂
I’m on Twitter too but I use that mostly to catch up on the day’s events. Facebook…not so much really except for looking at those darn cute dog videos!
Gretchen, I think your focus on keeping your site true to you vs. high engagement numbers is better for your long term mental and financial health anyway…. so be proud that your success isn’t tied to looking young/cutting edge trends, all those who are must spend all their energy worrying about aging naturally and buying the right things (which sounds miserable).
Personally I find myself lurking on social media (mainly Instagram). Most of the time I just enjoy the pretty &/or ridiculous pictures, but it definitely is hard not to feel jealous (yeah being human!). I try to remember that rather the enjoying that seemingly perfect moment those people are wasting the moment getting the “perfect” photo. As for material things/wealth, I grew up with a dad who managed uber-wealthy home remodels (like 10-30 million dollar remodels of what were often not very large houses in the SF Bay Area)….the people always seemed miserable (especially the ones who inherited the money…as well as celebrities). Due to being disabled, I probably have the worse jealousy with photos of people traveling or being active…I’ve been trying to work on not looking when my health is bad because it will literally send me into depression for a few days. I do have a Facebook account but having signed-in for years (at least 7 I think). Social media is in theory a wonderful tool for keeping in-touch with actually friends and family that live far away, but I stopped caring about it when my friends would share that they were going to take a shower before leaving to meet me for dinner on myspace during college (I really don’t know what you are doing in real time in the few hours I am not with you thank-you-very-much). My dislike of social media has caused some social strain as a millennial, but life is too short to waste of perfectly filtered selfies and I actually like eating my food at it’s intended temperature rather then documenting it. End rant.
The phone thing really gets to me. I went bike ridding in Central Park a few years ago with my spouse’s family and most of them spent the whole time on their phones (sad and dangerous…especially because almost all of them weren’t very good bike riders). The worse was his sister and cousin that took non-stop selfies, you couldn’t even tell where they were in any of their photos, just highly filtered and strategically angled photos of their faces. I insisted on getting a cell phone before I would get my drivers license in high school, because I wanted to be safe “just in case” (obviously I was nervous rather then excited to drive)… to this day I still think this is the primary function of my phone. The fact that you were able to let people know you were okay is amazing (also, very happy you were safe). Social media has amazing potential, it really should enhance our lives, not rule our lives.
Grechen Reiter says
i love your instagram posts!! (just left a comment on it LOL) and i agree, i love the interaction there, and many people who don’t come over here. or at least don’t comment here 😉
Grechen Reiter says
i love seeing your outfits lately!
i’ll take the “blame” gladly, ES looks great on you.
Grechen Reiter says
absolutely agree – and my first phone was that big motorola that came in a case that HAD to stay in the car because 1. it was too heavy to carry around and 2. making phone calls was SO EXPENSIVE i could only do it in an emergency. which as you said, was the main reason to have the phone in the beginning.
the “phone” thing irritates me too, but it seems to be everyone, not just people of a certain generation, or whatever. my husband is constantly on his phone (mostly for work, or news, he doesn’t do social media) as is my dad and sister. but again, it’s not for social media, it’s for knowledge and work, or “connection” to the world at large. i don’t understand it, really, because i want to connect with the people in my immediate vicinity LOL
it’s also a comfort thing, which i’ve found myself doing more lately, and am trying to catch myself – i love to be alone with my thoughts, or just alone, so i’ve never really needed to be “doing” something all the time, but lately, i’ve noticed that i pick up my phone if i’m in a long line, or walking dagny and frustrated, or whatever. trying to step back from that…
Grechen Reiter says
lol at your comment about eating your food at it’s intended temperature. i totally agree 🙂
i want to throw something at people i see instagramming their food at a restaurant. really?? if you don’t document it, did it not happen??
LOL! If you don’t take a picture of something before you eat it, then it doesn’t exist and the calories don’t count!
Grechen Reiter says
Yes!! Then I will definitely continue to not take pictures of my food.. lol
Christine M says
This comment is so not about social media. Grechen – how does that muscle tank fit you in the armholes? i hate loose armholes and it doesnt look great on the models on the Everlane site. Looks awesome on you though. And how sheer is it?
Grechen Reiter says
It’s not sheer at all, and it fits really well in the armholes . I hate that too, when they’re loose…
Maybe I shouldn’t ask (as I am in the process of eliminating useless IG posters to lighten up my feed) but what is ES? and ES buy and trade? Now I’m curious! lol Thank you!!
Christine M says
Thank you! 🙂
One of the many reasons I love you is your honesty. You’ve always put it all out there for your reader family, and I really admire that about you. Social media is ROUGH. And I make my living in it! It has a lot of good sides, but it also has a lot of downsides. And as a fellow Scorpio, I totally get sucked into the jealousy spiral as well. But give yourself some credit; you recognize it. You are aware of the pattern and that is half the battle. My therapist (who is a AMAZING) always tells me that I get really impatient once I define an issue, and I want to resolve it RIGHT NOW. But it takes a looooooooong time to change our brain and our thought patterns. I applaud you for actively working to make a difference in the way you relate to social media.
I’m very late to IG and resisted for years, but recently jumped on the bandwagon. I totally agree about it causing envy and it’s very easy to become obsessed with it. I find myself wasting a lot of time on it, and laughing at many of the “too perfect” photos. For example, I love to travel, but my photos are of things I find interesting or beautiful, and not really posted for the quality of the photos. I find it kind of ridiculous that many of the travel IG accounts with thousands/millions of followers seem to post photos that all look alike because they’ve been filtered/photoshopped to death, haha. They obviously get tons of likes for those types of photos though, so I guess it works for them.
I have to admit that I do occasionally take photos of my food or drinks, but mostly because I want to be able to remember specific things (I also laugh at all the food blogger photos that look as if they must have spent half the meal setting up just the right angle, etc). I’ve decided that IG for me is a nice way to simply track my life, kind of like the old paper version photo albums. ?
Anyway, I’m not a fashion blogger, and most of my photos are of daily life, travel/places of interest, with some cat and book photos thrown in, haha. I’m on IG as @ponceyhighlife.
I look forward to your posts and what you write about and like MamaV and so many of us that respond, we are so inspired by you. Just enjoy and take the positive from social media. When it gets too much or too serious, back up and reach out to people you love and who love you. That’s what I do and it works for me. My best friend Michelle and I ask eachother everyday, “What are you wearing?” For years we have been doing this and now Michelle comments on my posts on Instagram. She doesnt post.
Thank you for your honesty!
I suppose because I started blogging out of a desire to write, Instagram never became a substitute. Not in what I look at, not in what I post. Again, due to word love, Twitter is much more addictive for me. Especially, as others have said above, in the current political climate. I guess that rather than feel inadequate about my style blogging, I simply switched focus. I can now feel inadequate about myself as a writer! Way to go! Ha! But seriously, what I see is that bloggers who were in it for substance seem to be writing books. And I can imagine you doing that, a memoir, you are so thoughtful.
I’ve long enjoyed your blog but commenting for the first time because I totally understand what you mean by engagement. I enjoy IG and I post actively and check it a couple times a day to see what everyone I follow has posted, and many of the people I follow are people I connected with through my blog. I miss the discussions blogs engender though, and I find it always to be more thoughtful than whatever happens on IG. I think it helps to limit whom you follow – I tend not to follow the ones are that too professional because it’s actually quite boring and I can’t tell one account from another. When you follow people who genuinely interest you with the lives they lead, it doesn’t seem like an outlet of envy and want anymore.
Grechen Reiter says
thank you for your comment lin! I do agree with you on more thoughtful discussions on blogs…i prefer it, but i am getting used to some discussion on instagram. i just hate typing with my thumbs!!
and i am slowly culling who i follow – so i get your point there. so true…
Grechen Reiter says
i LOVE your writing. love love love it. no matter what you are writing about.
perhaps i should get more active on twitter…i used to be, but it’s been a while!
Grechen Reiter says
i love your outfit posts on instagram too 🙂