Blogging is a strange thing sometimes. Actually not just blogging, living in an online world is strange
all the time sometimes. I think more so than ever, we’re all having to navigate the waters a little differently as we try and balance our on and offline lives, and I know myself, feeling isolated online was not quite something I expected.
There’s this weird thing we all do where you follow someone online, you feel like you know them well and then you realise…you’ve never even met them in real life, you don’t really know them at all. You scroll through your Instagram feed and write a comment on someone’s post with a bunch of smiley emoji’s….but you’ve got a completely flat, emotionless face as you insert those emoji’s. Weird, huh?
So with keeping an online presence and with our friends, friends of friends, acquaintances and strangers all having their own online presence as well- how do you stop from feeling isolated?
Be open about what you love.
I honestly think so many nice things about other people in my head, but I keep all of that in and don’t usually express it. I’ll see photos I think are incredible or read a post that I LOVE but I won’t say a thing. Why? Because I am batshit crazy. Just kidding, I have no idea why (maybe it’s because I think people already know when they’re doing good things?). Anyway, it recently occurred to me that I should be spreading that positivity.
If you’re a blogger especially, then you know what it feels like to work really hard writing a post, only for it to receive a lukewarm response. Then on the other hand, a single comment from someone saying that they loved the post or a re-tweet on Twitter can completely turn around your perspective and give you the warm and fuzzies. Because something as simple as that reminds you that while you may write posts, write a Tweet or post a photo alone in your bedroom, there are actual real life humans seeing that stuff and so when someone takes the time to give you positive feedback and connect, it means a lot! It breaks down the barriers and in an online world, there are a lot of barriers.
So if you read a post you love, re-tweet it, if you see an Instagram photo you think is amazing, write a comment telling that person why and if you feel like someone looks incredible in the photos they post, tell them! The more I do this, the better I feel and the more I feel like I’m part of a community of actual people, rather than 1 person writing a post that no one will ever read.
Show your true self.
We all know that on Instagram it’s a refection of our best selves, and for a lot of us our blogs are like that too. I don’t mean that people are untruthful or fake on their blogs, but do you see me posting a photo of me crying at 2am because I’m having a moment? Oh hell no, I really don’t think anyone wants to see that. For me, as much as I love putting my creativity into my blog and social profiles, I do sometimes feel like a bit of an imposter. My personality in real life is the same as it is through the posts on my blog (albeit I’m a little more over-dramatic in ‘real’ life) but there are times when I’ll be having some kind of a meltdown and it just doesn’t feel right to log onto my site and see all of these photos of myself where I’m all happy and you know, not wearing Mario Badescu drying lotion all over my face like I am for 90% of my days.
Then I wrote this post about my struggles with anxiety and an incredible thing happened, I was getting extremely genuine, lovely comments from people who either could relate or were supportive and it made me feel grateful in a whole other way than when I get typical positive feedback on my blog. It felt like people were actually accepting and being proud of me, as opposed to online me and that’s all because I opened up a little more. Now I’m not stupid (well, sometimes I am…) I know that online you should be careful about just how much you share, so don’t go crazy or you know, share your address. But if you are feeling quite isolated, like you’re going through something alone or like you’re just another number, try sharing something a little closer to the chest, be more genuine, take more chances and see what happens.
Go out of your comfort zone.
Not too long ago, I read a blog post where someone was talking about a pair of Harry Potter pyjamas they bought (stay with me, I promise this story has a purpose). In their comments I off-handedly mentioned that I would LOVE a pair of HP pyjamas and that person asked me if I’d like them to send me a pair. People, this was sending a pair of pyjamas all the way across waters, seas, strange foreign lands
and Narnia to get to me in Australia. It may not seem that big to you but I was floored. The kindness and generosity to me who was basically a stranger?! It made me SO happy. By the way, I got the pants and they are bloody amazing. You see, this whole experience has taught me that sometimes going out of your comfort zone, reaching out to people and breaking these supposed walls between us that exist online can be so beneficial. Who says you can’t send a reader a pair of pyjama pants? I mean, as long as you’re pretty confident they’re not a serial killer it’s pretty harmless and a brilliant act of kindness that can make someone feel special, and like they’re not so alone in a sea full of Internet users. If you’re feeling lonely, I’d really encourage you to be more spontaneous, reach out, break down the walls of what you think is ‘social etiquette’ online and go above and beyond sometimes, you might just find that you’ve made someone across the globe feel uplifted and included. Crazy what a pair of pants can do, eh?
Do you ever feel isolated online?