I always find these posts kind of self-indulgent but I don’t want this to be about excuses. This is really about documenting why for myself but also to share something that I think is relatable with you. I started in 2011 and I saw my blog as a portfolio – an entry way into the fashion industry, if you like. I never made a secret of that even in interviews, except it was the wrong attitude to have. What I mean is that if you always view something as a trial run, you’ll never really take it seriously. I was lucky enough that blogging was so niche back then that I was gaining up to 2k views in a day, some posts had 100+ comments, this is something near impossible for an average newbie. It became especially difficult after the rise of Instagram.
People are saying that blogging is dying out and influencers are on the rise. And right now, they’re not wrong. When people are looking for the quickest way to be popular they look to Instagram for results. So that’s exactly when I decided it was time to start up my blog again, all the way back in 2015. But why did I stop in the first place, at a time as critical as the rise of social media? I hope these reasons why people take a break from social media might resonate with you. At least they are personal to me and may explain a thing or two about how you’re feeling:
1. I lost my voice
You know, like metaphorically. Living in another country other than the UK where I grew up has been such a foreign experience to me. You may think that’s natural but considering this is where I was born and what people consider to be my ‘roots’, it makes it harder knowing that you don’t fit in. What was worse was not understanding my purpose, on an existential level and also on social. Combine that with constant unfamiliarity and it meant I lost touch of my goals and what I wanted to communicate to an audience.
2. The superficial popularity
In every workplace, be it freelancing or in an office, I know drama is unavoidable. But put a ton of girls with egos online and it becomes high school again. Then there was the whole concept of a virtual popularity count. Like the idea of my 700 Facebook friends, 3/4 of which I don’t recognise, made me anxious enough to delete that platform for a year. Then imagining 10,000 Instagram followers being able to keep track of me just made panic. I also was naive and didn’t realise that there would be a payoff to withstanding all the gossip and bitchiness, although that in itself is one of the reasons why people take a break from social media. In the beginning, Instagram was a photo app more than a community and it was full of crappy filters and NSFW pictures. No one expected it to be at the 700 million users it has now (I’ve updated this post in September of 2017).
3. Not being good enough
When people say that social media is unhealthy and it’s a bad source of inspiration for young girls, I roll my eyes. I think that’s such a narrow view of what’s out there – I’ve seen so many messages about self love and healthy habits. There was none of that when I was a teenager. So saying that I felt I wasn’t good enough actually had nothing to do with looks or numbers. I felt like I was embarrassed to share content that lacked vision. Posting selfies or changing room shots just wasn’t me. I am an artist and not in that pretentious way, I actually draw and paint and I thrive off of it. To me, fashion has direction and emotion and my photos weren’t conveying that. They seemed contrived, flat and done for the sake of it. I had to stop and press reset.
Photos by Yibin Huang