A Social Media – Existential Crisis…

she has pretty girl fabulous life social media syndrome

So today I woke up with a desire to write. I mean, I live with the dull ache to write, everyday.  Ayesha, why aren’t you writing that book? Leave Twitter and Tumblr and Pinterest and LinkedIn and Charms of a Dandizette alone – stop digitising and just put pen to paper and write that book. OK, so I am not putting pen to paper now either and I have turned to WordPress to pour out my soul this morning. But the beautiful thing about this digital world, which, ironically, is heavily dependent upon one of the greatest elements of the human condition, is how simple it is to share and self express. I am not talking about the over sharers whose only dealings with social media is to put cringe worthy or tasteless narcissistic posts on Facebook. I am talking about artists and illustrators, poets and playwrights, the – creatives that use social media as a tool to offload, as a platform to produce something. With a click of a button it’s published or posted, shared and exposed for the world wide web to see and just as quickly you have offloaded. Of course, there is using social media too freely, offloading a little too quickly, not employing enough thought and ending up with a Facebook page full of moments you wish to forget and posts that are far too personal to be broadcast on a ‘wall’ or alternatively, with a Facebook page full of ‘Hashtag look at mes’ and ‘OMG I am so fabulous’. I have two friends who fall into each category.

A friend going through a break up that documents the pain and heartache she is experiencing with posts written in riddles as cleverly as the Khloe and Lamar drama has been written into season 9 of Keeping Up with the Kardashians. This particular friend  thanks her family members, that she claims have  ALWAYS BEEN THERE for her on her Facebook wall, with responses like ‘You’re a strong woman, you just don’t know it yet’!! (I just threw up in my mouth a bit!)  Surely her family’s constant presence in her life would suggest she have their telephone number, their email address, their home address and should all else fail, what is so wrong with a private message? Surely that is the  level of respect these amazing people deserve! Surely that is the level of privacy such a PERSONAL issue deserves! That’s one friend.

The other, she works in Events and  has mastered the art of the Selfie. Of  course, since the digital camera we have all learnt how to position a camera and take photos of ourselves. However, at twenty nine I am not quite sure I will be adopting the term Selfie. It sounds like an alternative word for masturbation, rubbing one out, self pleasure and I just don’t like it. This friend’s Facebook page is full of HASHTAG Selfies and pictures of herself eating burgers, pictures of herself taking pictures of herself (not technically a selfie), pictures of her shoes, pictures of herself and her office dog, pictures of pictures of her in magazines, yes, with a caption ‘Oh there I am!’ feigning surprise. Surely she had enough time between the taking of the photo, to the printing and publishing process for the surprise to falter. I sound ever so bitter – but have you seen this Facebook page? Her posts are ultimately photos of her doing anything, captioned with hashtag #lovemylife #lovemyjob #myfabulouslife #myfabulousjob. She’s my best friend – it’s hard.

On Valentine’s Day just gone, she posted a picture of herself on Facebook with a beautiful red rose, the status read ‘Not sure what’s worse..not receiving flowers on Valentine’s Day or receiving a pity flower!!#FML’. Make of that what you will. I say she has pretty girl, fabulous life, social media syndrome and wants to show the world just how good she looks DOING EVERYTHING and how good EVERYTHING SHE DOES looks – even when she’s pretending to show real emotion beyond being ‘Fabulous!’. But the truth be told, aren’t we all a little too well versed in the likes of Facebook and Instagram and Tumblr  to be fooled by the best edits of life on a social media site? A site that also preys upon less attractive human traits, like vanity and narcissism. And isn’t she too old (29) and too well versed in REAL LIFE to think she might actually have the world fooled? It’s very hard to listen to your friend’s worries and their concerns, engage in deep, meaningful and frank conversations with them and then get an update on your Facebook page a day later #LOVEMYLIFE. So, who is actually being fooled here?

I am irked by my friend that uses social media to pour out her soul and deal with her sadness, although she is honest – lack of control of emotion in the public domain is generally unattractive and unrefined. Then again, I am also irked by my friend who uses social media in a far more contrived and strategic way – documenting the best times in her life, disguising the truths behind hastags and fabulousness. It’s not really a big deal how anyone uses social media really, is it? It’s not that deep, unless you work in content marketing or online communications and even then it’s not that deep. But I suppose I am more concerned right now, about the way I feel about social media and online communications, because I do work in the aforementioned fields and I am concerned about the significance of social media for my ultimate career and how it has and will continue to impact my dreams. The both needn’t be synonymous with the other.

Although I never document the lows of my life on Facebook – ever, I too am known to engage in a little of the bullshit from time to time. Pictures of me and my partner out and about on the town, with the general essence of, ‘Look how loved I am’, ‘Look how good we are together’, ‘Look how much fun we have’ blah blah. But I stop there and I am conscious of it. Why? Because I think social media used at its best are by those that use social media as a means to display creativity and any creative aspirations they happen to have. I used to use Facebook to share my love for fashion and promote my blog, but it turns out that Facebook users aren’t interested in anything that requires them to invest more than a second of their time to engage with. It just isn’t that deep.  It has to be funny, fabulous, inspirational, personal or depressing and it has to be any of those things quickly! That is it!

Indeed, blogging is also part and parcel of social media, however, I feel there’s more of a therapy to the whole thing. Especially for writers, that take to their blog as a means to put pen to paper, to offload or to share inner thoughts. Charms of a Dandizette is my solace. It allows me to continue to write the way I enjoy writing, on the subject matter that concerns me and it allows me to do something with all the inspirations and thoughts that I have. I can retreat to my blog and feel better about myself for knowing that I have done something productive and creative with a thought or  a visual that I had the other day. Admittedly – for the likes of J K Rowling, a blog post may well be just as significant or as insignificant as a Facebook post. I am sure a completed blog post is nowhere near as gratifying as finishing a novel – not that I have ever finished a novel. But I know what it feels like to finish writing a play or a short story and something just feels better about that than this.

But that needn’t undermine the therapy doing this gives me and millions of others. And those of you that usually read Charms of a Dandizette will know that this post is a little different than my usual posts, where I’d usually share my style notes, fashion stories or trend reports. Today, I just wanted to come on here and write from my soul, to try a little automatic writing – an exercise I was told to do everyday by my Creative Writing teacher all those years ago at uni, and find out what’s really going on in my mind without being contrived or strategic.

I realise, after the way I have written about my friend’s desire to take to Facebook to express her vulnerable and sadness, I appear a little hypocritical. And the truth of the matter is, I probably am. I think I am mildly undergoing some kind of existential crisis. Because right now, I am as conflicted as I have ever been.  It is in my character, my nature to be conflicted.  My personality is extreme. I want to read and write and be quiet and creative or I want to be dressed up in the latest trends, in somewhere glamorous and expensive and I want to party and spend loads of money till the party ends. All human beings are conflicted, right? Surely we all live with that quite murmur within us, with that feeling that at a moments reflection rears its head and says, ‘Surely there is more to life than this.’

For me, I believe there is, but I just don’t know whether I am brave enough to go out and get it. I suppose I am at a point in my life where suddenly everything feels like it’s up in the air and I am trying to figure out how much control I have over the things in my life I want to change or progress further in and whether I should change these things. Would I be happy in a high powered or well paid job? Or a job that is artistic and I am passionate about? I am trying to buy a house with my partner, but I am not sure whether I should be buying a house when I am hoping I will grow the balls to step out of the rat race and do what I love. I am not sure whether I should be buying a house with someone I am not yet married to, nor even engaged?

I am trying to figure out, with my thirtieth birthday approaching ever so rapidly, will I ever want children? And should I decide to have children, do I want them before or after I have achieved my ultimate goal – which is to complete my book? If I spent less time writing my blog, could I have completed my book by now? Should I start writing plays again, rework my short stories and start sending out my film scripts?  Should I stop blogging and write?Really write. And at what age do you stop blogging? When you no longer have the time? Why haven’t I found time to write creatively? Should I start going out less? Isn’t this my reward for spending eight hours a day in an office? Should I be working in an office? Should I be embracing social media and content marketing as much as I do? It’s my career, it’s my day job and I enjoy it, but  do I really love it? Is it a talent? Can it be considered creative? Is this the career I am meant to have? Should I be working harder? Am I happy with my work ethic? Am I settling in life? And is this ever OK?

My writing is my passion, my self expression, my form of vulnerability – its success, at this moment, dependent only upon me. My desire to conform, to acquire materials and wealth, is my protection, dependent upon my job and my current career. Do I want to be protected by Hashtags and Acronyms and Likes that have no emotional affiliation nor meaning ? Do I really want to hide behind the likes of selfies and these so called fabulous lives, so much so that it clouds my vision from reality and truth – from My reality and My truth.  When is it time to start being honest about the things you aren’t happy with and when is it the time to do something about them?

So, indeed, conflicted I most certainly am. On the brink of an existential crisis? Possibly. Feeling the pressures of turning thirty? Definitely. Needing to write that book? Yes, yes and yes. Feeling better about writing this blog today? You bet!

Be Charmed, Stay Inspired! x

Happy Blogging – Inspired by Nicola Formichetti

Inspired by Nicola Formichetti – Elle Collections Magazine Winter 2011

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For the millions of fashion bloggers out there, many of us remain in a sea of anonymity – waiting for a success that might resemble the likes of Scott Schuman, Tommy Ton, Susie Bubble, Byran Boy and the steadily rising number of bloggers that are surfacing into the mainstream. Those that have avoided the digital haze will understand little about those of us who have become digitally dazed as a profession. We’ve had to develop our digital skills and our digital marketing techniques at the same pace as the ever advancing digital technologies that update, reinvent and innovate just to be able to showcase whatever our initial talent might be, that ultimately led us to blog in the first place.

Members of the digitally dazed may frequently come face to face with a lack of understanding, which often leads to the profession being underestimated or scoffed at. In all honesty, before embarking on my Fashion Journalism MA, I had worked significantly in the digital sector and was determined, when I completed my studies, never to work online again. I had this idea in my head that my writing was too good for the likes of WordPress and Blogspot. And even went as far as to publish an article in my magazine Platform, that shunned bloggers. Needless to say, the article said far more about how I felt about my own career at the time than it did about bloggers.

Nicola Formichetti cover shoot

Many a fashion journo have an issue with the bloggers they rub shoulders with at Fashion Week and probably those, like me, who belong to the sea of anonymous bloggers occasionally grow envious of the bloggers that have gained publishing deals, written articles for the likes of Elle or taken photographs for of Style.com. However, I have just read an interview with Nicola Formichetti in the Elle Collections magazine that has rekindled my pride for being a member of the blogosphere and the social media network that surrounds it. Nicola Formichetti is an active member of Facebook, Tumblr, Twitter and blogs at Nicola Formichetti’s Blog, where he documents his work with his iconic muse Lady Gaga and his Creative Direction at Thierry Mugler.

Elle Collections Magazine, Ben Reardon interviews Nicola Formichetti p84

‘I started to get a huge audience following my work through the digital world of Twitter and Tumblr and you really start to connect with your followers. It’s great because they are always really honest and comment on shoots or videos: ‘Oh, we liked this and we don’t like that.’ It’s not about bitchy students on blogs being nasty – it’s like friends talking to you about work.’ Nicola Formichetti

”That’s the great thing about fashion – it’s constantly changing. I love the fact that there are all these bloggers at fashion shows and people are really bitchy to them; it’s great. I think old people should just be  old and go away. It’s not about being in the industry for ten years anymore – it’s about good ideas.’ Nicola Formichetti

‘I love Tumblr because it’s a digital version of me. You go on Tumblr and whenever you see something cool, you reblog it so it stays in consciousness. It’s like one thing leads to another.’ Nicola Formichetti

When an individual as creative and as relevant as Nicola Formichetti endorses the future and the world of online expression as enthusiastically as it appears he has, the blogosphere no longer seems like a stepping stone, but a home and most importantly – the future.

Be inspired by Nicola Formichetti @

Twitter

Blog 

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Read Nicola Formichetti’s Interview written by Ben Reardon in Elle Collections Magazine a/w 2011  p84

Happy Blogging. x