Charm About You Lucy Brennan instagram

I am feeling pretty fed up with instagram and social media generally. Sure it can be really fun and there's a fabulous supportive community of quilters but the fast pace and option of just hitting like ❤ isn't cutting it for me anymore. There are so many photos, so many great accounts and just so much to see. I don't feel as much joy though. Too much of a good thing?

There won't actually be a social media break for me, those dopamine hits are too addictive (seriously!) and mostly because I LOVE the Saturday Night Craft Along I co-host each week and the brilliant community that has built up. There are other nice bits too, I'm not completely hating on social media but I am overwhelmed by it, annoyed by it and feeling a bit icky about where it's going.

I am completely on board with the idea of JOMO - joy of missing out. If you're not on social media all the time it lets you enjoy real life more. And you get extra sewing time in! Disconnecting is ok, more than ok, and in this fast paced world it is really important to switch off. All the things on social media will still be there and no one expects you to race along with it. I believe Ferris Bueller said it best, "Life moves pretty fast. If you don't stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it".

It is so addictive; checking in, liking and scrolling but along with that comes some pressure. I want to like and comment on people's posts as much as possible, I genuinely want to see what people are making and celebrate their finishes and talents. I also feel pressure to post my own photos sometimes, though this blog has been going since 2011 so taking photos of my sewing and quilts is sort of second nature. It is enjoyable taking the pictures, the pressure is more about how they look. Other people's pictures have such pretty colours and compositions on white backgrounds, staged with beautiful props and don't get me started on all the amazing sewing rooms and backdrops!! For the most part I can't recreate that look and also don't have time. You are 'supposed' to have a curated instagram feed, people want to see a certain look, to define your brand and style. The way I define my style is miscellaneous so that's what my instagram feed is. If I try to make it cohesive and have a theme, it doesn't actually work or feel like 'me' because I don't have one approach or defined characteristics to my projects. I like what I like, make what I enjoy and the pressure to somehow turn that into 'branding' seems to be everywhere.
I feel pressure to engage on facebook as well but I set up a Charm About You page, when I had too many followers as a personal account, and many groups etc. won't let you comment as a page. My personal facebook is just that though, with pictures of my kids, politics etc and I am keeping that separate from my craft stuff - also people I went to school with don't want to see all my sewing.

And all of it is making me feel a bit 'not good enough', a sure sign that changes are needed.

So here's what I'm doing about it.

• Posting what I want and when I feel like it. If I even hear myself think 'I need to post on social media', I must immediately go and do something else.

• Absolutely post the things I really like.

• Unfollow people that make me doubt myself, even if I like their style, because it's ultimately not helping me.

• Conversing with people - I'm using 'conversing' rather than engaging because I would like conversations and engagement is so business like!! The vast majority of my quilty friendships were made through blogging and many through instagram. Conversations are what's important.

• Do more of what I love, not worry about what anyone else is doing. If I can create projects I love, regardless of style, then it's still my style isn't it?! It wouldn't suit me to define myself with any particular quilting labels. It doesn't benefit me to put myself in a category. Just continue to be myself, making things I enjoy.

don't stay in the swarm spray paint graffiti tag Manchester

•  Focus on blogging. I intend to write more here and also read other blogs. It's more in depth, I like reading about people's whole process of creating their quilts / projects and it is far more interesting than the glimpses you get on social media.

I've gone back to Feedly - a RSS feed reader for blogs and other articles. I have used Blogger but the app is super glitchy on my phone and was driving me bonkers. Originally I used the blogger/google reader and was gutted when that went. Feedly is the best alternative for me and after trying a few apps, it's the simplest to use and I like the layout. I haven't read blogs for a couple of years, since instagram I've noticed a big dip in the number of comments I get so I know I'm not the only one. I miss reading posts and people are still writing them so I'm hoping to really get back to the blogging community. Feedly has a great search tool, so you can enter key words and easily find blogs you want to follow. If you write a blog, please let me know in a comment below and I will come and visit!

Many of the blogs I was following have gone. Literally gone. Either deleted or removed or sites not paid for maybe? Of the 325 blogs I followed, 55 were unreachable and 186 were inactive. I know things change (I might not like it but it's inevitable!) but there's still loads of talented makers writing interesting posts and I love learning from this community. 

I ended up decluttering the lists of blogs, removing all the ones that were unreachable and inactive. I found a few blogs that had changed their names/sites and added them. And then I went on a bit of a clear up mission generally. Deleting apps on my phone I don't use, deleting old photos and files I didn't need on my laptop. Went through my bookmarks, removing sites I didn't visit. And then looked at my bookmarks bar, made some changes...

rainbow bookmark bar icons

and made a visually pleasing icon rainbow!!

This post might have been ranty, I appreciate that some of it is obvious stuff but I needed the reminder and maybe some of you have felt similar things about social media. Sharing is great and technology can be a wonderful thing (when it's not Terminator 2) but, like everything in life, there has to be balance. 
I'm back to really enjoying writing here. To be able to document stuff, rant if I want to, but mostly to share all the sewing, be creative and tell the story of my projects.

There are patterns in the works, planned tutorials (probably on YouTube, so bookmark or follow me there) and quilt finishes!

I will be back in the new year sharing my word for the year, as has been my tradition. Wishing you joy, happiness and all the best in 2019!

happy new year from charm about you