I have always been an ‘internet person’. I don’t know why, but I have. In year 7 when everyone had a Piczo website, mine had to be better than my classmates’. As a young teen on msn (may it rest in peace) I interacted with countless people I had never met, never would meet and never cared to meet, from the same town as me and from across the world, just because I could. When we moved onto Myspace and Bebo, I had more ‘friends’ than most people I knew irl. I enjoyed interacting with people, I enjoying sharing words and pre selfie era selfies, and I enjoyed getting responses and, in a way, validation from my peers for that.
Those platforms died a sad death, and I started gaining hundreds and then thousands of followers on Tumblr and Twitter and Lookbook, and eventually I started this blog. I’m not an over-sharer when it comes to my personal life or feelings (not post Myspace bulletin era, anyway) but I am a sharer, and sometimes ‘real life’ people don’t like that.
I am still recipient of some contempt towards my ‘internet life’ from some ‘real life’ people. Very few real life people, but they do exist. In the abstract, the fact that I built this career for myself from scratch is something very admirable about me, but when it comes down to what I actually have to do (and more importantly what I enjoy doing) to keep it up, some are nothing but critical. I’m annoying, everything I do is for show, and I am “only motivated by getting likes and by other people who get likes”.
I’m not naïve enough to believe that everyone thinks my blog is amazing, or that everyone I’ve ever encountered likes me, and that’s fine. I know full well that people – both people I considered friends and people I didn’t know at all – took and likely still continue to take the piss out of me for it, and this is something that most, if not all bloggers have experienced. The fact that my blog and overall online presence has become ‘successful’, to the extent that I make my living from it, is a joyous ‘screw you’ to those people, but ultimately I don’t think that the fact that this is a job for me now should even matter. I should not have to use the fact that I now have to share online, which I do, as a defence or an excuse for wanting to share online.
I know myself better than anyone, and I know that I am not ‘only’ motivated by ‘getting likes’. Of course it feels good to have people appreciate and enjoy what I do and share, be that from a business perspective or a personal one, but the assumption that on a personal level I, or we as bloggers, only care about internet popularity is a misguided and unfair one. That being said; I do enjoy being online, I do enjoy interacting with other online people, I do enjoy seeing my follower count go up, and I do enjoy the validation I get online in the same way I enjoyed it back on Myspace. Is online validation what ultimately matters to me and makes me happy? Absolutely not. But I’m not going to apologise for enjoying it.
If I wasn’t an internet person, I wouldn’t have made some of the real life friends I made years and years ago when everyone was active on Tumblr and Twitter. If I wasn’t an internet person I wouldn’t have made any of the friends I’ve made through the blogging community. If I wasn’t an internet person then I wouldn’t be doing what I’m doing today, and so I am entirely NOT sorry for wanting to tweet every thought, Instagram a book I read, a record I buy, or a band I watch. I love being an internet person and I am extremely proud of where that has got me, and no matter how “self-centred” or “attention seeking” that might be perceived to be, I should not and will not apologise for it.
My internet journey has been exactly the same. I loved posting on Piczo and then seeing my followers rise on Tumblr because it meant people were enjoying what I was posting. No one loves getting internet hate just like no one hates getting internet love.
You’ve hit the nail on the head with this post. I’d very shocked if the people who love to criticise didn’t love the validation they got from being somewhat popular on the Internet. It probably all boils down to jealously! x
Jodie // Jodie Loue
This is a really interesting, honest and down to earth ‘essay’ ;).
I was exactly the same at school that I usually wasn’t the first to get involved in a trend like Piczo (also THANK YOU for saying that because I couldn’t for the life of me remember the name of it!) but when I did, I really ‘upped the game’. I was more the person to learn the ins and the outs and how it all works, I learned html to make mine look mint so I had something to flaunt about at school! I offered to “do other people’s sites” (for no money of course) and it acted like a popularity contest.
I’m now doing my Masters by Research in psychology and human connection and the Internet is a research area I would have liked to have gone into. Likes, friends, comments, online subscribers etc may increase our self validation and it can actually get dangerous for people’s sense of worth when they’re taking photos down for “not getting enough likes” etc. We’ve created our “online self”.
I think it’s really cool if you have earned your trusted following through quality of your content and hard work. I worry about bloggers who will post about anything (mainly blog ideas/how to blog) etc and do all the tricks like follow a load of people on bloglovin or Twitter to get follow backs, then unfollow them all (it does happen). I hypothesise that their blog will plateau then fall but then there’s not a lot of research out there about the knock-on effects of their wellbeing and sense of worth. Something I find interesting. And scary!
I have never read anything that so accurately described how I feel about the Internet and social media. Thank you for being so honest, and I think a lot of people agree with you and feel the same way! Im bookmarking this post forever.
I’ve really struggled to stop being embarrassed about sharing my blog and to be proud of how much work I’m putting into it! You’ve achieved the dream of making a career out of something you love doing and that is so worth celebrating. Everyone cares about the likes because everyone wants to feel like they’ve made an impact, and there’s nothing wrong with that! Lovely post, very genuine. Molly x
I love this post so much!!!! I haven definitely been an ‘internet person’ and it saddens me how some areas of society are trying to bend the general opinions of people on the internet into assuming people are only there for popularity which is so untrue in most cases. The internet is an incredible platform to build on so the people who push us down for utilising it are the ones who don’t have the motivation to do it themselves. Bloggers are becoming some of the most powerful influencers in fashion, a business worth millions. When people don’t take a ‘blog’ seriously, they obviously can’t see the potential our platforms hold. Keep doing what you’re doing because you inspire me!
Infinity of fashion// Lucy Jane
Fab post, thank you for being so honest! At the end of the day I don’t think your reasons for posting x, y, or z on the internet are important to anyone apart from you – as long as you’re happy and you’re not hurting anyone, why should anyone else even care!?
As an aside, I massively miss the times when it was socially acceptable to have a good ol’ Myspace bulletin rant 😀
Jess xo | The Indigo Hours
Hear hear! I came to this a good while before you did, but it was a similar sort of story – most of my “IRL” (ugh) friends now are the other misfit loners from my area who opened their hearts on LiveJournal and Diaryland, and that point about having created a business for yourself from scratch is SO TRUE: in my case, it’s because I spun a writing career out of my blog rather than my blog becoming my business, but damn straight we should be pretty fucking proud of ourselves.
love from a fellow #girlboss,
Lis / last year’s girl x
Oh my god, I was part of Piczo back in the days as well. It’s funny how I used to visit lots of piczo website profiles and started making friends with people whom I don’t even know. But anyway, nice post! It’s great to know that someone else has gone through the same thing I did. Continue being yourself, Hannah! x
You’d be hard pressed to find someone on this globe who didn’t have any ego whatsoever and therefore totally immune to compliments!
Including in those who claim they don’t have one; after all, there’s pride in such statements (as well as the b/s).
I can relate to this so much. I, myself also created Piczo sites, i’d spend hours browsing the web for the perfect fonts etc. Then MSN and so on, i think i first came to know about you through Tumblr, in fact, you may have followed me first. Noting that you was based in Manchester and also ‘reblogged’ (mainly fashion) as well as your own outfits, i thought you were really cool and i remember your shots from the beginning, taken on self timer in your bedroom (still great) to where you are now. It’s amazing, and it’s been amazing to watch you grow, i’ve loved following your journey.
As a Fashion Design graduate, struggling to get a design job, i feel a little bit or very much so, deflated. I’m sure you know what a tough industry this is, but i’m in awe of what you do and how you’ve got there (you’ve worked damn hard)
I wanted to start blogging again, well (properly) but, i can’t help but worry others won’t be interested and struggle for something to post about.
I’m in limbo on where i’m trying to head with my career, my future, but i know it’s not just going to come to me, i have to work hard.
I just don’t know where to start.
Thank you for inspiring me every day.
you are so lovely – it’s a massively massively tough industry so please don’t be too hard on yourself, you are fab! <3