When I wrote my post about blogging tips a couple weeks ago, one important theme stood out in all of the answers I received: don’t fall into the comparison trap. This is great advice for everyone (not just bloggers), and is 100% guaranteed to make you happier.
The problem is that this is SO HARD to actually put into practice. I mean, a lot of bloggers who I hear saying things like this are the same ones who also purchase fake followers and likes, so what does that tell you? Easier said than done.
A lot of people like to say that social media has made us all a little crazy and has made us obsessed with getting more likes, more followers, more online praise, etc. (the curse of being a millennial I suppose), but I think it’s far more deeply rooted. It’s human nature to look at the people around you and compare their successes and failures to your own.
However, social media has certainly exacerbated the issue. For those of us who grew up before the days of Facebook, the only way you knew if your friends were having fun without you was if you heard about it from them. Most days, you could live in ignorant bliss enjoying a night at home with no FOMO.
Now, a night at home means browsing Facebook and Instagram, so there’s no escaping a stream of images and status updates from your friends checking in at a cool new restaurant or sharing vacation pics from somewhere exotic and naturally your mind starts to wonder why you are spending yet another weekend on your couch watching Friends re-runs and eating pizza (literally exactly what I’m doing as I write this).
Does this mean that social media is bad? Does it mean we are worse off than the generation before us because we’re so obsessed with receiving virtual praise from our peers? I don’t think so. The key is keeping everything in check without letting your brain send you into a jealousy free fall.
Think back to the days before you had social media. Popularity contests were still a thing. We all still hoped to be a part of the cool crowd, and we all wanted to be voted “best dressed” in our high school yearbook (at least, I sure did!) But, looking back, did any of that matter? Do you even remember who was your high school prom king or queen? I sure as hell don’t.
It’s really no different when you look at social media today. We all know that social media is where everyone displays their highlight reels. It’s where you post your best, most favorite memories and share important milestones in your life. For bloggers, it’s where we share beautiful images and hope to inspire others. It’s in no way a true, accurate representation of day-to-day life.
Life has ups and downs and also lots of mundane crap. That’s why we save our very best moments to share online. Trust me, you guys would not be inspired by the old band t-shirt and sleep shorts I’m wearing with my 3-day-old hair and whitestrips on right now. Not cute. I don’t really share those outfits on the blog because if I did I’m pretty sure you would all wonder why the hell I would do such a thing, right?
So, back to the comparison game. For bloggers, there’s a lot of competition and there’s a lot happening right now that makes it harder and harder to stand out. I can’t tell you how many times I see bloggers who try to model their blogs or Instagram accounts after other successful accounts because they think that is somehow the recipe for success. Unfortunately, it’s not so easy. No one has a secret formula for how to become a mega-famous blogger superstar. It doesn’t work like that.
That’s why the comparison trap is such a deadly one. Bloggers spend hours obsessing over followers and likes, which is the quickest way to squash your creativity and sabotage your own success and self confidence.
Keep in mind – thousands of bloggers purchase followers and likes. All you have to do is check socialblade.com to see who is growing at an impossibly fast rate. It’s laughable. Not to mention the follow/unfollow strategy, comment/like bots, and all the millions of other shortcuts people have found along the way to inflate their numbers to make them look like they’re more successful than they are.
AND – everyone has different circumstances. Some people have more time, money, and resources to create and market more content. Others work a full-time job and have to hustle on the weekends and at night just to eke out a couple posts a week. THAT’S OKAY!
To be successful in blogging and in life, here is my number one piece of advice: focus on your own shit. Be creative, come up with your own original ideas, and stay true to who you are. Don’t worry about what that “more successful” blogger is doing. They’ve got their own thing going on, and so do you. You’ve got something important and unique to say, and someone out there wants to hear it. Have confidence in what you are putting out there.
So, stop worrying and driving yourself crazy over a bunch of silly numbers in an app. You are worth SO much more than that. Be proud of what you create and let your work speak for itself. The more you can stay focused and self-motivated, the more successful and happy you’ll truly be.