November 9, 2015

A Heart to Heart - A Reflection on the "Let's Be Game Changers" Movement by Essena O'Neill

      I try to keep it light, fun, and controversial free here on A Glossy Discourse, but after viewing Essena O'Neill's, a former model and frequent SMS user, heartfelt video about the dark side of social media, I really wanted to write a heart to heart here on the blog. For this Monday's post, I want to write a rather personal post on what I think has become an important discourse for discussion in an age where social media has the ability to exert tons of influence over society.

      With the age of internet and the creation of so many social media platforms, it's really difficult not to compare yourself to others. If I could describe this era in one word, it would be "envy." This generation is guilty of committing the sin of envy. But as I always remind myself if you keep on comparing yourself to someone else it becomes a never ending battle because there is always going to be someone prettier, smarter, richer, or more talented than you in some ways. Being happy always starts with being happy with yourself, and knowing that you don't need to compare yourself to others to find your self worth - which brings me to my first philosophy & value when approaching social media.

Knowing yourself and sticking to your own ethical code.
      Running a blog and any other social media platform should be like your real life in the way that you should make decisions just like how you would in real life. What I mean by that is stick with your gut, and say no to something when you know something feels off. Sure, I see other fellow beauty bloggers and I envy all the amazing products they are able to purchase (or be sent) and review, and of course if they're not sent as press samples I wonder how they get the funds to purchase so many pricey items - but at the end of the day, this blog has a strict budget and I'm not willing to "spend more money" on beauty products I won't actually use. Maybe it's the reason why the growth of my blog is slower and has a smaller audience, but at the end of the day, I'm happy with the balance between my hobby (this blog) and my real life financials.

The importance of Integrity
      In my profession, someone's integrity means a great great deal. The same rule should apply to any social media platform. Honestly and transparency go hand in hand. I know beauty bloggers, especially on Youtube, get so much hate when they create a sponsor post that is not transparent, or at all related to their aesthetic or values. Lots of beauty gurus loose the confidence of their viewership when they seemingly sponsor anyone and anything. It's so important to only work with brands that fit your personal brand. Furthermore, it's crucial that when you're deciding whether to work with sponsors, if it's something your readership would naturally gravitate to or not.

Making your space a place for creative growth 
     There are lot of things I want to see happen at A Glossy Discourse including continually improving the quality of my content, writing, and photography. I loved being creative with I was younger and I looked forward to art class, music class, and if I had an elective choice I always chose some sort of artistic elective. But then I went into High School, then college, and then graduate school where I lost the time to indulge in my creative side. I became consumed with ensuring that I had a future where, sadly, making money was the primary goal. Now years have passed, and with the encouragement of my boyfriend, I decided to create a space where I could again, indulge in my creative side. When I decided to create a blog, I didn't (and still don't) expect it as my main source of income. If I happen to make a pretty penny, it would've been just a bonus. Primarily, this blog is my personal creative space.

Looking at it as a learning experience and challenge.
       I'm constantly learning and challenging myself by running a Glossy Discourse and I feel that social media should be a place where you learn to self-improve without needing the feedback of others. For example, I had a vision for A Glossy Discourse's layout and general look. It took me probably around 24 hours to manipulate the code to make it look the way it does today. It was so frustrating and took many trial and errors to get it right, but at the end of the day I was proud that I was able to create the layout I envisioned in my mind. 

Keeping it fun
      I can only speak to my own experience and approach when it comes to social media, and I totally respect and understand Essena's view of social media. However, I don't entirely agree with her in the whole "social media isn't real" aspect. It totally can be. Yes it'll always be an edited version of yourself, but that doesn't mean that it isn't real, especially if you stick to your own ethical code as stated in the first paragraph of this post. You can be honest and real because it's all about how you use social media. If you have a healthy relationship with it, social media can totally be a fun place to connect with and learn from others.

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