My two social media platforms of choice are YouTube and Instagram. I follow a lot of people who on those platforms to make content and get paid for it, usually through advertising.
Now, I don’t actually know these people and I can’t judge them personally. I can, however, judge their content to decide it I want to follow it or not.
Sometimes I learn a lot from following people. There are good educational videos on YouTube. And I’ve learned a lot about home renovation and DIY and design from Instagram.
But I was on the social media today, and I just didn’t want to see other people live their lives and value things that I don’t value very much.
Some people have their fancy homes and their fancy vacations. Some people have eyelash extensions and clothing brands. Some people have the best productivity hacks and seem to have everything figured out and are happy all the time. Some people live alternative lifestyles, milking cows or running through sparkling meadows. Most influencers obviously have a whole lot more money than I do.
And my life is messy and sort of embarrassing sometimes. I am interested in obscure things that few people actually care about. I don’t have things figured out and I struggle with a lack of direction and insecurity. I like living in a really boring way.
My best moments of living are with my children. My best conversations are with family members and neighbors. Sometimes I wonder if I would be happier if I just closed out of social media.
This isn’t a new social media problem. Before social media, we had television and radio and magazines and books and newspapers that told us how to live. Influencer is a new name for something that has existed for ages: people who we don’t know telling us how to live our lives.
And in some ways, social media is better, because I can always unfollow the voices that I don’t want to here. There are more options, meaning I can find and seek out voices that resonate more. But that also means that I can find myself in an echo chamber, without learning and growing and seeing new perspectives.
I think my conclusion is I only like influencers on rare occasion, and mostly to educate me about something I didn’t know about.
I don’t want to be told how to live, and I don’t want to live like anyone else. So most of the time, I’m just happier if I spend time with the people who are in front of me.