If you’ve ever said, “I wish I could delete Instagram, but I have to keep it for my job,” or some similar sentiment, you know the trials and tribulations of having an online persona. You don’t have to have a career as an influencer for the lines to blur between your personal and professional worlds—even if you use social media to network, find clients, source inspiration or information, or market literally anything, you’re forced to navigate the difference between your URL and IRL identities. Even the most well-curated feed can’t possibly capture your personality in its entirety. On the internet, you can only offer up a small fraction of your very full life, for better or for worse, and therefore must pick and choose very carefully what it is you share.
In an era of spon con and personal brands—where any emotion other than joy might be considered “off-brand”—is it possible to have genuine fun on social media anymore? Naturally, Girlboss turned to the internet for answers.
When posed the question: “Is it possible to have on social media fun again?” on Girlboss.com, the answers were across the board—and many points were made.
LA-based entertainment multi-hyphenate, Marlee Forsyth, posted saying: “I stopped viewing my ‘personal brand’ as this thing that has to be separate from my genuine personality, I think that by keeping it real I’ve been able to connect better to my audience. By showing people the parts of my life that aren’t as glamorous and filtered, I feel like I’m holding myself accountable and staying true to the person I am in real life.”
Some people are still optimistic that there’s hope yet for sincerity to be a trend on social. Vulnerability has long been the norm on many social networking sites (*ahem* Twitter and Tumblr), while others like Instagram rely heavily on highly-polished alternate realities. Perhaps, there’s room for both honesty and aesthetics. “I honestly think the trend is going back in the 2009 direction,” says Austen Hemlepp, a marketing systems coordinator in Boston. “Conversations excluding brands, influencers, and business-driven socials are popping up everywhere. Instead of the perfectly-edited, perfectly-posed photos, I’m seeing a lot more documentary, diary-style posts. We might actually be coming around to a new era of realness.”
“I’m seeing a lot more documentary, diary-style posts. We might actually be coming around to a new era of realness.”
When it comes to actual tools and best practices for finding fun in social media again, Girlboss senior editor Alison Ives focuses on productive scrolling. “Something that’s helped me on Instagram especially is using the saved folder tool,” she says. “Now I spend my time on IG bookmarking meal ideas, nail art I want to try, restaurant recommendations, travel spots, etc., versus endlessly scrolling through my feed. It helps make that time feel more productive, too!” Several Girlboss network members recommend being more selective about the content you allow to grace your feed. AKA, be free with your muting and unfollowing of accounts that don’t serve you well.
Dallas-based brand strategist Ronke Bade-ojo says, “I think if everyone used social media to make genuine connections, make comments that we actually mean on other people’s posts, and send DMs because you actually want to get to know the person, it makes it easier. We should stop just ‘connecting’ with an end goal of selling to a person something down the line.”