The other day I stumbled upon the Instagram account of a fellow blogger. One of my favourite things about Instagram is that you can easily connect with other like-minded people and create networks of friendship and support. I loved her style and her Insta feed so I followed her. Later that day she popped up in my feed with a new picture promoting a blog post she had written about a certain issue she had with something* she had noticed about some other bloggers. To my dismay, I realised I was in that category (*disclaimer: for the sake of anonymity I won’t go into anymore detail).
I immediately clicked though to read the post. It was very strongly worded, and unapologetically of the opinion that bloggers who fell into this category were doing something wrong. I should have left it there. This girl was entitled to hold this opinion, and entitled to discuss this opinion in the very type of support network I mentioned previously. But for me, this became a personal attack that offended me deeply. I began obsessing about the issue, and turned to social media to settle the score. After over an hour of searching, and having read through streams and streams of comments with bloggers and followers alike discussing the issue, I finally unfollowed the girl and put my phone down. I was left feeling down and having wasted a whole evening on the opinion of someone else.
As human beings, we are programmed to seek validation. The whole concept of blogging is built on the idea of pleasing people, and seeking the validation of others in the form of a ‘like’ or a ‘follow’. It is completely normal to want to please people, but at the end of the day, we cannot please everyone. Social media affords us an interconnectivity that we have never before had. It is such a new territory that has both good and bad elements. The good elements are the people we can connect with, the networks we can build and the opportunities we can seek out. The flip side of that is the fact that we have access to so many more people (and their opinions) than ever before. In real life, we naturally gravitate towards people who hold similar views to us and live in similar ways, but this isn’t the same on social media. This means opinions that conflict with our own are presented to us in the same numbers as those that align with our way of living.
So how do we learn to balance those two differing sets of opinions? My advice would be to do the exact opposite of what I did: ignore it. Take constructive criticism, listen to your followers, sure. But don’t get hung up on the small population of people who don’t do things in exactly the way you do. Do what is right for you, because at the end of the day, as long as you aren’t hurting anyone, the only person you really need to please is you.