Social media framing: we are not picture perfect. Are we?

Last week I drove my car into the gate of my home. When it happened I was horrified, I felt humiliated and then I got really pissed off at myself. Then I had to drive to the police station. (When you live in Oman you must get police reports to document everything if you want your comprehensive insurance to cover anything.) I almost posted photos of my skills and the humor of the police station trip on all of my social media forums. Almost.

I look really short. And small. I call it: "Lost in white space."

I look really short. And small. “Lost in white space.”

How many of you post photos you don’t like of yourself on social media? How many of you post your goof ups?

For the most part, I’m hearing crickets. Why? It’s no different than in “real life:” we want to put our best selves forward.

Today I’m going to show you some of my not so best self. Why? Because I’m tired of people feeling they have to reach the unreachable by setting standards according to limited and curated social media posts of their friends and family. Because I’m starting to feel cornered into only posting certain kinds of content. And that is not the spirit with which I intend to use social media.

Artist Strong encourages you to take risks, to have creative play in your life, and to embrace your creative dreams. That kind of ride is not easy peasy. There are bumps, potholes, black ice. There are also rainbows, clear skies, and parts of the road with no traffic. It is through traveling in all kinds of weather and on all different roads that we find our creative selves. It is through acknowledging and embracing those bumps in the road, or in my example, the dents in my garage gate, that we remember our imperfection, hopefully laugh a little, and can then utilize that spirit when we are being creative.

When I decided to redesign Artist Strong, I created my own photo shoot. It was me, my camera, a tripod, remote clicker, and some music. It also involved a lot of makeup, change of clothes, props (flute, paintbrushes, etc.) and an empty house. There was NO WAY I was showing my husband the photos I took. I could already hear the affectionate and playful teasing coming from him. I didn’t even tell him which day I was taking photos for fear he’d come home early. I already had visions of my neighbor dropping by and seeing my setup. 10 AM and in a cocktail dress? Oman is a pretty casual dressing place for expats. I could already see the stories in this small city spread. Clearly, the whole experience was a vulnerable one for me.

"Walk like an Egyptian..."

“Walk like an Egyptian…”

I took 3000 photographs. I’m not exaggerating. The remote started just taking shots randomly and that was easier to work with. I let it run once I knew I was in the frame and tried to get as many angles of my face as possible. Some were good. Others…lots of others… were not so good.

Despite my feeling of vulnerability in showing you them, I want you to see them! Some are funny and worth a laugh. Others, I want to show you just so you see the fruits of labor that come with practice and time. I want you to see how many bad photos I had before I selected the 3 good ones that now reside on my home page.

Don’t let other people’s best photos of their travels, their artistic process, their art, their writing, their creative successes, their homes, whatever it is, hold you back from whatever YOU want to do.

Seriously impressed in this image. I look like I'm scolding a student. Or about to...

Seriously impressed in this image. I look like I’m scolding a student. Or about to…

If you feel jealousy or start to feel down about your own life because of other people putting their best foot forward, you don’t have to unfriend them. Unfollow them on Facebook (you are still friends), or take a hiatus from social media! The kind of negative thinking that comes from “keeping up with the Joneses” hinders the mental space we need as creatives to create, so give yourself the space to start thinking again!

BE COURAGEOUSLY CREATIVE: How have you curated your own social media? What messages do you convey to your “readership?” How can you reinforce your desire for creative risk-taking in the social media you use? Tell me in the comments below, I want to know!