Lets Just Step Off The Facebook Bashing Bandwagon For A Minute

I’m feeling all controversial and feisty today, blame it on the niggly backache I have from sitting slumped at my desk with the most unsupportive chair in the house, either way, I fancy a rant to get things off my chest, and by things I mean Facebook bashing. Is it really that bad?

I put my hands up and admit I’m from a slightly biased position to be writing this, being a social media manager by trade and all that, but I’ve watched story after news story slating the one thing which, in most likeliness, brought you to read this post and it got me thinking, it is all bad. Should I be deleting Facebook?

So what is it that we/the media really hate about the big F? Because I’m struggling to see how the negatives outweigh the positives. Let’s just take a minute here to step out of the ring and look at it from all angles.

So what is Facebook?

In it’s most basic terms it’s a diary of what you’re thinking and what you’ve been doing, it’s also total voyeurism. As well as showcase our most egocentric streak, we can do the most epic research projects on whoever we darn well fancy thanks to this platform. During my dating days, my bestie and I would use Facebook as our first port of call to delve into the deepest, darkest pasts of potential dates. You call it stalking, we called it vetting. And if they don’t have a Facebook account, do they even exist?

girls can’t find a place to eat, but give them Facebook and they can find out the exact height, blood type and family tree of a girl you held hands with when you were 7

(quote coutesy of @TheFemaleThoughts)

Yes, it’s had a slapped wrists on the data protection front lately, I stopped any worry I had over having a Facebook account by reminding myself  ‘if you ain’t got nothing to hide why worry?’ And while it’s a little creepy that something which you’ve searched for on Google shows up the next day on a Facebook ad,  at least you’re not being bombarded by adverts enticing you to buy something you have no interest or purpose for.

And what about how it connects people, people who you haven’t seen in years, those you’ve lost touch with or friends and family living far away. My personal Facebook account looks somewhat sparse if I’m honest, but there’s a good reason for this. People use it for varying reasons, me personally; I have no need to show the world how popular I am. With age has come an acceptance that not everyone will like you and you can’t change that, what’s important is that the people I like, like me back. I’m pretty nonchalant on the popularity thing and filtered out fake friends years ago, which is where I kinda stand on the adding friends to my account thing. Call it selective processing.

I decided a few years ago that I had no need to connect with people who I barely knew. I removed those who couldn’t raise a simple hello if I saw them in the street – my reasoning; why would I want you to be looking at photos of me and my kids at Christmas & birthdays if you look the other way in real life. My time is precious and I really don’t care where Billy, who I met once when he went out with my mate Gilly 7 years ago, went on holiday (not real names btw.) We have no connection in real life and certainly don’t need to have one in the virtual one. I look at people who have 300+ friends on their accounts and think why? Not oh shit, I’m a loner. Is it really a status symbol of popularity?  Anything over 500 must be a full-time job, surely?

Maybe it’s just me who has an exclusive VIP Facebook account? I hope my Facebook friends who are reading this feel privileged, you should be!

Lets just take a minute to think about the positive side of facebook

 

 

Anyway, I’ve digressed, point is, use it wisely and it won’t get you in trouble, waste your time or make you feel inadequate.

I have 2 nieces in their 20’s who I haven’t seen in years, we live many miles apart and yet I still feel I know them as I’ve followed them and watched them grow through Facebook. I’m reminded about funny or amazing things which happened years ago on my Timehop and all those photos I’ve taken on my phone and lost over the years are right there on Facebook at the touch of a button.

My closest friends from school, the ones who I shared many memories with, are on my list. I still like them, I don’t want to lose contact with them and when we do get to meet up, sometimes years apart, it’s because of Facebook. Besides, how am I going to recognise them if I see them in the street? I’m pretty sure none of us look the same as we did back in the day.   *Note to self, if I do recognise them and they start walking the other way very quickly, remember to go press delete.

So take Facebook for what it is. A place to keep in touch with the people you want to keep in touch with, a place to share your triumphs, good news and have a little rant when you need to reach out (hint – that’s where only having true Facebook friends helps. Do you really want to be revealing your darkest days to people who barely know you? They won’t be as forgiving as those who know/knew you & will just think you’re a total moaning misery guts ; )

And if you still think it’s a total conspiracy theory, then you can always press delete and waste your toilet breaks over on Instagram.

If you do though, just remember though, there’s nothing a good filter can’t hide.

< rubs hands excitedly at the thought of writing an Instagram bashing post>

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5 Family Instagram Accounts You Should Be Following 

I’m a huge fan of Instagram, it’s like a quick snippet into people’s lives in picture form.

While reading blogs helps gives a real insight in people’s lives and ideas, Instagram is the quick fix when you haven’t got time to read a full post. Whether you just want to oooo and arrhhhh at the photos or stop and read the captions you still get that nosey parker fix. Perfect for a busy mum like Yours Truly, where time is of the essence.

I’ve been playing around with my own account lately, it was always a mini tribute to my camera loving toddler but I finding I write less and less about kids on here nowadays so have started showcasing my Instagram as more of lifestyle account. But I’m still drawn to the family Instagrammers out there and I’m in the mood for sharing my current favourites.

There’s quite a few I check on regularly but these are the ones which I love snooping on, they don’t all have huge followings but that means nothing to be fair. I love them for their no frills take on Instagram and each for differing reasons.

 Little paper swan

It’s the fresh, perfectly composed photography and variety of images which draw me in every time. Take a look at Cathryn’s life through a lens and you’ll see what I mean.

 

Grace and Blaze Yoga

I’m a yoga newbie and absolutely love it and while Jo’s account is primarily about pregnancy and post natal yoga, you also get to see a little snippet of an ex pat’s life in Barcelona. It’s like a 2-4-1 deal in Instagram where you feel instantly calmer just by being a passive observer.

Life Unexpected

Fellow West Country blogger and Instagrammer, Chloe, gives you travel, Cornwall, quotes and stunning photos in one manageable lump sum. As a single mum with a toddler she’s quite an inspiration, nothing seems to hold her back!

A post shared by Chloe (@lifeunexpectedblog) on

Sparkles & Stretch Marks

Who wouldn’t be inspired by Devon blogger Hayley and mum to 3 boys under 4! I know I’m biased also being a mum to 3 boys, but her photos show life at its rawest yet cutest at the same time. You really get the sense that your seeing the real Hayley and not the perfectly primed Instagram mum.

This Enchanted Pixie

My final share is Polly at Enchanted Pixie. Aside from the amazing multi coloured hair which I adore but would never be brave enough for,  she also shares a life as it is. We have quite a similar ethos on parenting and I always take time to stop and read how life’s treating her which accompanies her posts each time.

Bonus! 

Busy Mom Hungry Boys

I’m sneaking one more in as a bonus one…….. love food? Busy mum? Then check this fab account which shares snippets of family life alongside her digital campaign combining delicious meals family meals and family life. Her quotes show real sisterhood of mum’s / moms (in keeping with Margo’s Irish tones.) 

So there you have it, please do share any of your favourites in the comments. I’m always on the look out for people to follow.

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Super Styling Your Freelancer / Blogger Life

I’ve been a blogger and freelancer for a few years now and since graduating from the Digital Mum’s Social Media training recently I’ve decided to up my game and kick my jumbled, chaotic way of working into touch. It’s time to get organised and I thought I’d share some of my plans with you should you feel the need to join me.

This isn’t a new idea mind, it’s been on my must do list for some months now and a regular feature in my Goal For The Week check list. The lack of ticks a telling sign that it’s yet to be completed.

BUT NOT ANYMORE!

Historically I’ve always been good at making a list and checking things off, even my lists had lists. But ‘winging it’ closely followed by ‘flying by the seat of my pants’  has been more of a life motto.

So what’s the plan?

I've been colour streamlining my blogger and freelancer accessories with some mint and gold products from the new Kate Spade range

Get yourself a fancy notebook, asap. And make it large one.

First off, as the title suggests you need a note-book. Everyone has a planner, my Pirongs  one is awesome. But I also need a place to mind-map, store my ideas and plans for world domination. I also like pretty things. And gold. Gold’s good. I have a rather fancy Kate Spade one which is pretty AND has the trademark Kate Spade spots along with an inspiring quote so make me smile. It’s also spot on for someone going through a major life change and needs a little reminder not to take life so seriously every now and then.

I've been colour streamlining my blogger and freelancer accessories with some mint and gold products from the new Kate Spade range
I’ve found mine on the luxury living website Rooi . It takes pride of place on my Welsh dresser and my handbag for when I’m out and about. One thing I find as a freelancer is that every second counts. When you have deadlines to meet and especially trying to work around family, if I can grab 20 minutes being productive when having a coffee in town then its happy days. And when an idea pops into my busy little head, I can write it down pronto.

You never know when that moment of inspiration is going to hit. I’ve lost many a good idea by not having the means to cement it in a note-book.

GET YOUR SELF A JUMBO NOTE BOOK! ASAP! FAN

Add The Little Freelancer Extras

A nice pen helps too, along with a matching travel cup. Total colour streamlining going on right now in mint and gold. Even my camera bag, which doubles as my handbag is in there, rocking the mint theme. Which also happens to be the name of my new social media business. <I’ve just clocked into to the fact that the word mint is a dominant feature in my life right now. Crikey, how did I miss that one?>

In blogger mode I often have to take my DSLR camera out and about. I invested in a lush Jo Totes bag which is large enough for my notebook, iPad and all the other essentials which I need when out and about. It’ absolutely no coincidence the style shares my name, none what so ever. Honest. (Love that it’s called Allison!)

I've been colour streamlining my blogger and freelancer accessories with some mint and gold products from the new Kate Spade range
Right, lets recap. Choose a colour you like, by some really nice stationary and bags in it and you’ve pretty much super styled your freelancer / blogger tool kit.

Disclaimer

This is a collaborative post 

 

 

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What IS a blogger? (And how do they make money?)

“So what do you do?” It was a question I’ve had many times over, and every time I pause before giving an answer. This time was no different. It was a noisy bar and the person asking was seven sheets to the wind. Not sure if they were really bothered what my answer would be, I quickly weighed up a reply in my head.

Do I go for my fail safe Social Media Manager? After all, I am now fully qualified and so it feels like a perfectly valid answer, or do I go for the pre courser, the role I cut my teeth in, in all that is social media; a blogger.

Feeling in the mood for debate, and sensing one looming with said person asking, I replied “I am blogger.”

There was a pause.

“I don’t get all that blogging malarkey, what is a blogger?” was the eventual reply.

This time it was my turn to pause. I needed to give a full and valid reason for being a blogger only in laymen terms, while giving the profession the justice it deserves. Simply because that’s what it is to me – it is a profession, after all I gave up a career, a 9-5, for blogging.

Yet that title is never one which can be translated into a sentence and be done with. It needs explanation and clarification.

So that’s what I did……

“well, I share my opinion and snippets of my life on a website which I built and maintain myself. Sometimes I share reviews of a product which a company has sent me and sometimes I just waffled about things which are going on in my head.”

And the debate continued.

“That’s not a job though, that’s a hobby. You can’t make money blogging.”

f you're looking to make your business more environmentally friendly then why not consider running a paperless office? Starting with my own small

3 years ago I’d have completely agreed, it was just a hobby. An outlet to share my professional training and to keep it fresh in my mind while on maternity leave. Which it did. But pretty soon I was being contacted by brands to review their products on my blog. I only ever accepted things I thought were relevant to my readers or I needed, it helped keep me in my niche and stopped looked like a total advertising platform.

12 months in though, my social media followers were building up nicely and soon the offers for sponsored posts were pinging into my mail box. I was being paid to write a blog post by companies. My little blog had become a trusted advertising or brand awareness referral platform for other companies. My hard work had paid off.

It’s still a little difficult to explain if you don’t fully know how the internet works. In a nutshell, companies collaborate with bloggers to help spread the word about their product or service. We have direct access to readers who follow our blogs on social media or receiving our latest blog posts straight via email. It’s a much more personal way of reaching people; Our experience with the brand or company we are collaborating with is bound within a story within an underpinning back history on what is going in our life.

Almost like having a chat with your mates, telling them how great something is (or rubbish) having moan about life or shouting from the roof tops how great it is. I’ve turned down work offers which I don’t think I can find anything interesting to write about or doesn’t fit with anything which is going on for me right now. I’ve refused to write about products or experiences which I have no interest in or I wouldn’t want to recommend to a friend.

A lot of my day is spent replying to emails with a polite thanks but no thanks. So don’t ever feel you’re being fed a line, if I tell you I liked it, I liked it. If I write about it, it’s because I’m interested in it.

Plus, it’s actually a lot harder to tell a lie than share a truth.

And don’t EVER think that blogging is all about the free stuff, it’s NEVER free, any product I review has been exchanged for my time spent putting the product through the nitty gritty, writing a blog post, photographing and editing, sharing and promoting across my social media and the time spent maintaining my website. Most of the time the product I’m sharing doesn’t equate to the cost per hour spent doing all the above.

Which is precisely  why I will thing long and had about whether I want to review it. My time is precious.

I’ve been criticised for over sharing and ‘spreading myself all over the internet.’ Which I don’t disagree with one bit. You do have to give a little bit of yourself away to draw your readers in. It’s the curiosity of humankind which makes a blog such compelling reading. A little like a reality TV show, I guess. But the pros far outweigh the cons, the messages and feedback of support and thanks I get as a blogger keep me reaching for the keyboard and sharing my story. And while I do sometimes find it difficult being so public, especially with my current situation.

It’s also the most cathartic thing I can do both for myself, anyone else in a similar situation and for my family and friends who wonder what’s going on in my busy little head most of the time!

Blogging isn’t for everyone but it is for me, the hours are long but the rewards are fantastic!

I'm happy to shout about being a mumpreneur, turning blogging into a business while working around my family. It's not an easy option by any ,means but is a lifestyle choice I will never regret

 

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