Social media can be a dark place. Between the hilarious tweets and the adorable animals, there’s a perception that other people are out there living their best lives 24/7, while I’m sat scrolling through an app on my own in my PJs on a Friday night.
It’s true that no-one can be out having fun all the time, and I think we all know that. We all know how staged an Instagram photo can be. It doesn’t make it any easier to stop comparing yourself, though. This is something that I’ve been getting bogged down in lately. My followers haven’t been going up like they used to. My vlogs aren’t getting as many views as quickly.
Does any of that matter? No. Do I blog and vlog and social network for anything other than fun? No. So why do I get hung up on it?
I think that humans are wired to compare themselves to other humans. Sometimes this can be a good thing; we learn from our elders and treat others how we want to be treated. But somewhere along the way, this has morphed into something more sinister.
That person you just followed has an amazing job with incredible stats online – any they’re only 19. Being a teenager feels like quite a while ago for me, and I’m lagging behind their success. How can I not compare?
For me, the biggest thing is with YouTube stats. I adore looking at statistics to work out what works and what doesn’t. It means that I’m often analysing the amount of views that I get in the first day or week of a video being live. In turn, that means I often notice someone else’s stats and there’s always that tiny voice in the back of my head that wonders why they have had more success than I have. Are they more charismatic? Do they talk about their personal life more? Are they thinner? Do they take better photos?
It’s a dark hole to fall down.
Sometimes, if I don’t get five likes on a tweet, I wonder if I’m not being funny enough. Maybe I should delete it. If a new vlog series doesn’t get as many views as my last one, I wonder what I’ve done wrong.
But other times, and this is most of the time, I love creating content so much. When I get a heart-felt comment from someone, I spend there rest of the day with a big grin on my face. People take the time out of their day to watch my videos, and sometimes they even tell me that they like them. One of my videos inspired someone to apply to work at Disney, and now they’re going out to live there for a year. I’ve had lovely messages from families that say they gather together to watch my new videos.
It warms my heart so, so much.
I can’t be sure, but I feel like a lot of people who create content that I enjoy feel the same way as I do. In reality, we’re probably all as confused and insecure as each other. After all, even if you’ve got 100,000 subscribers, there’s always going to be someone with 1,000,000. There is no finish line. We’ll never be happy if we go chasing stats, and yet I do it a lot.
Are you guilty of comparing yourself on social media? There’s one thing for sure: you shouldn’t feel guilty. We all do it. Realistically, we can’t stop ourselves. But we can notice when we’re doing it and stop those thoughts from falling down that dark hole.
I’d love to hear what you think – and I promise that I’ll try not to care too much if you don’t.