Only 4 more sleeps…

…until I hand over the digital-writer-in-residence guernsey to someone new!

Socks(I thought the pic, left, of my rainbow bed-socks and pretty-in-pink book might be appropriate considering my mermaid story, the mermaid/unicorn hair trend, and Adelaide’s wintry mood.)

I have to admit, before taking up this digital gig, I enjoyed social media as I would chocolate. Sparingly. A little bit, every now and then, went a long way.

Since beginning my Mermadelaide digital story, thanks to the SA Writers Centre, I’ve been checking in on Facebook and Instagram daily. And I’ve found both positives and negatives from my self-imposed social media overload (I came up with the schedule!) – particularly from Instagram, which I’m relatively new to.

The negatives:

  • The ‘fakery’ – from spammers to people with ridiculous amounts of (bought) followers, and Instagram bots that automatically ‘like’ and ‘follow’ certain hashtags for businesses, regardless of the content…it can be hard to find the real among the digital world
  • The paranoia of watching the numbers – from seeing yohelpur follower numbers dip to the nail-biting wait for a picture’s likes to hit double digits … argh, the popularity contest feels like I’m back in school!
  • The distraction of having Instagram open on my phone and the urge to do ‘likes for likes’ and ‘follows for follows’ and trying to keep up with it all
  • The jealousy – so many people’s lives look magazine-worthy online, and the peeps so hip. It can be overwhelming seeing a world’s worth of (filter-enhanced) photos on your phone, like migrating from school to uni and suddenly feeling like a little fish in a big pond. Although, funnily, when I walk down the street, everyday life just looks the same as always to me… (Did I also mention ‘Instagram shoulder’, brought about by constantly hunching over my phone?)

The positives:

  • The eye-candy – we are built to appreciate beauty, and why should magazine stylists and big brands have all the fun with flat-lay pics and out-there photography? So much to visually feast on!IMG-2
  • The inspiration – through Instagram ‘likes’, I’ve discovered the pages of everyone from a Russian ballerina in New York to a globetrotting paddleboard hula-hooper. Makes you want to try harder to live your best life, and as a writer, the fly-on-the-wall aspect offers plenty of creative inspiration!
  • The connection – it’s another way to keep up with the goings-on of your friends, family and acquaintances, and can even lead you to developing more of a bond.
  • The fun of using your sense of humour or creativity online, and sharing it with the world – instantly. (Even better that you can ‘tweak’ your words a little, after the fact…)

Once ‘Mermadelaide’ ends – THIS SATURDAY, June 25! – I will, admittedly, be switching off from Instagram for a while. And going back to just dipping into Facebook a few times a week.

But I’ve found the experience invaluable – thank you, SAWC! – and if anything, it’s confirmed that my usual relationship with social media works a-okay. That is, letting it add a little somethin’-somethin’ to my life, but not running it. (Oh, and it’s also inspired me to write a short story involving a social media-obsessed heroine.)

Let’s hope more creative storytelling can cut through the look-at-me, product-flogging digital ‘noise’ in future (even better than I can attempt!), and really make an impact – offering something refreshingly different.

(To check out Luna the mermaid’s journey, visit http://bit.ly/250WENP or http://bit.ly/1R9xZwN pretty please.)

IMG-25

 

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