Social media is viewed in a toxic manner by some, and while it can be used negatively, there are many positives that it has as well. One of our followers, Zahra Taha, speaks about her experience as an influencer on the platform and how the pandemic has made her realise the importance of it even more. Scroll down to read her article:
While scrolling through my Facebook feed, I came across a post which said:
“All Instagram influencers are scum.”
Expecting a troll or someone not informed, I scrolled up. To my surprise, a well-educated and well placed individual on the corporate ladder had written this. But being an avid instagrammer, I took it personally. Just because there are “scumbags”, it doesn’t mean social media isn’t a great thing if it’s used correctly.
When we moved to Canada, a year and a half ago, life suddenly got grim. Far away from family and any kind of social interactions, I took respite from my lonely days on Instagram. I had an operational account with a couple of thousand followers but I wasn’t really into it, till I was. I started pouring my heart out about being displaced, the perils of migration by choice, and how you can never win a pro and con argument between the heart and the mind. Once I got lost on the road with a toddler, and my phone ran out of battery. I reached home in four hours, empowered and proud that at least I made it. That story tugged at so many hearts that I instantly had a tribe around me. People I had never met were telling me their stories of being lost, the ways I could do better and giving me genuine virtual hugs. I had found family.
I started attending events, doing campaigns, getting PR gifts and getting paid as well. Fellow instagrammers became my real life friends too. I was meeting them while exploring the new city when Covid struck. That’s when I realised how important social media is and why you should not only respect people who maintain a presence on it, but are also more actively a part of it.
1. The Only Way To Keep In Touch Right Now
With coronavirus doing a world tour, life is not going back to the 2019 normal for while. If you are dependent on meeting people in person for your personal or professional life, you’ll find it harder to adjust.
2. It Made Me Start My Day Right
As an instagrammer, I can post, make stories or go live anytime I wanted. But with kids always at home, it’s always about doing it when you get the time. So while everyone was whining about being lazy, most instagrammers I know were getting up early, cleaning their spaces , getting dressed and showing up each morning. Social media made us start our day right and influence so many others to follow.
3. Creating content is a beautiful thing
It makes you visualise what you want to do, fine tune it, set your space, prep yourself and get the right shot. You can tweak the shot, edit it and create a caption that speaks to you before you post it. Once you post, you meet all the people who appreciate your effort and agree with you, or disagree with you. You study the analytics of it and make mental notes to improve. It keeps you physically and mentally engaged, makes you learn and is in many ways, rewarding.
4. It Is Inspiring
There were days I woke up with anxiety about not being able to travel back home and not being able to plan ahead. Those days I chose to watch stories of instagrammers doing activities with their kids, cooking, cleaning, doing crafts and dressing up. By the end of it I was motivated to move and get something done.
5. Businesses Are Operating More Heavily Online
As more and more people logged on to the app for light comfort, businesses started feeling obliged to be around and engage customers and thus, generating more work for the “influencers”.
6. Social Media Gives Me Comfort
When left alone with myself, I realised that I’m not my best company, and have a human need to be connected . Being alone for months unfortunately is not “bliss” and my social media was always a click away when I wanted to meet some enlightened minds.
7. You Can Network Through Social Media
On a personal level, it teaches you to network without flaunting yourself physically or with material things. It’s just one mind against another trying to create a connection and in this consumer and commercial heavy world, it truly is a great thing.
8. It Puts Things In Perspective
Being so intimately connected to so many people and listening to human stories –instead of well curated movies – has made me realise how real some problems are and how each of us is living our own unique story. It’s made me realise more than ever how this world really needs all the empathy, sympathy and kindness it can get. As a child all I viewed was content that sold one story in eight ways, but real life stories are multi-dimensional and complex.
Though I don’t deny the ill that gets generated on social media, I would just like to remind everyone that when people meet and share ideas, great things can happen. Through these platforms, we have the opportunity to meet like-minded people globally and its time we stop seeing social media and its participants as scum.