That should be the tag line of my blog: “Keeping it real” not the, “I am not a sodding potato” line it currently is (due to the fact people think my avatar shows a potato and not the duck that it is).
Over the past few months I have found more and more that everything in the social media world is stylised, beautiful, perfectly lit or just pretty. Don’t get me wrong, I have no issue with any of those things, but I think there needs to be a bit more balance.
Yes the clothes laid out flat with the trouser leg at a jaunty angle is beautiful in a picture on Instagram but that doesn’t really tell me what it looks like on. Show me a slightly out of focus picture of you standing in a mirror taking a selfie too so I can see where it stops on your legs, how it sits on your hips.
The same with flowers. I just threw out two bunches of flowers that I was given last week. Way past their best and certainly not something you would find on instagram but that made me sad. They still make me happy to look at because I think of the people that gave them to me. The sun is currently lighting them up beautifully as they lie on the corner of the grass ready to go to the compost heap. So why don’t I photograph them? Well, because, you know, they don’t look pretty.
Food is another one. I follow lots of foodie blogs on social media, their recipes are fabulous and their pictures gorgeous. I love looking at them, but if I recreate them they become my creations and therefore they are not going to be that beautiful. I can try all I like to style them and make them look stunning it isn’t me. And therefore it isn’t real.
It’s like me trying to pose like Victoria Beckham in a photo, losing her right arm as for some reason she doesn’t show it in photos (I am right, go and google her, full body, face on, she stands so you can’t see her right arm). Angelina Jolie is another one, full length, front on, her right leg is often on show. Both beautiful women but if I tried to do either of those things I would look like a tit.
I have been feeling like this for a while, that social media is trying to make us all conform to something we are not. That the pressure is on to tweet in a particular way, not do too many Facebook updates, only put pretty things on Instagram. I have no idea what we are supposed to be doing with Google+, if I had my way it would be putting it in a box and burying it but that is a different story.
Yesterday two things happened that really cemented for me why my new motto is “Keeping it real”.
I made Nutella brownies. The recipe was straightforward. Three ingredients. Even I couldn’t bugger that up. The recipe on line came with some lovely images that I could recreate, surely?
Apparently not. I tried zooming in and it still didn’t really work
Mine are burnt around the edges and because I could only find one six slot muffin tray (I know I have two but the other one must be in the baking tray graveyard in the garage) I have six round ones and five “freeform” ones because they just sat on a baking tray. And that is me. That is how I cook. And probably why I come up some real disasters.
Yesterday’s brownies tasted great but they looked rubbish. They only reason one or two burnt is because I was chatting to Jonnie and forgot to take them out of the oven. Will I blog them now? Nope. Because in my head the picture that goes with it isn’t good enough and wont encourage people to make them. I told myself I will have to make them again JUST to get the picture. But that is daft, surely? Shouldn’t we be keeping it real, even if it is with food?
The second thing that happened is the photo at the top of this post. It was a glorious afternoon and I was going to post this picture on instagram about how lovely it was to see blue sky and sunshine
I sat down to write my update and looked out through our lounge doors, well I tried to. I then realised they were filthy. Yes we have a window cleaner who does the outsides but he doesn’t do the inside, I guess that is my job and I have been busy doing other things recently so cleaning windows has been way down my priority list.
So I posted that picture instead saying it was my real. And I got more interaction on that picture than I would have done if I had posted that original picture.
And it sparked a great debate about photos on social networks and how we use them, or what we share and made me finally realise that real is good. Everybody’s version of real will be different, of course it will. But my real is the picture at the top.
And from now on, that’s just fine.