Social media is my full time job. Because I work with it day in & day out,  I have an educated grasp on what goes on behind the scenes. Just like anything in the world, social media should be used in moderation.

Marketing is a huge part of social media. Brands promote their posts to have a wider reach, which means the average user (like me or you) sees the brand. Taco Bell created a taco Snapchat lens for Cinco de Mayo; the filter was viewed 224 million times. Social media marketing is no joke.

There are teams working together to create cool engaging posts for brands, big or small. There's the new wave of marketing which comes in the form of bloggers & social media influencers. Social media gives people a platform & voice, especially those with a large following.

You'll see your favorite beauty blogger showing off some items in her "Favorites" video, never really knowing whether she was paid to promote it or if she genuinely likes something. The U.S. does have a Federal Trade Commission (FTC) ".com Disclosures" guideline but the whole world isn't regulated.

When it comes to self-promotion, there's the side of social media that can be seen as vain or an attempt to show off. Instagram  feeds often highlight the most vibrant, most positive, most beautiful photos & moments. There's the shot of someone's back as they relax by the infinity pool. There's that photo of a stunningly configured a├žai bowl. There's the one where the blogger is dressed in a flawless outfit in head-to-toe designer wear. 

california lifestyle blogger, social media manager
Upon first look, this photo is cute! However, here's what went into this one photo: I did a dozen poses to find the one that was the most flattering — How can I hide my wide hips? What's the best way to mask a double chin? Oh gosh, my hair is greasy let me put it up. I took approximately 29 photos to find one that I liked. I edited the heck out of it, using about three filters. Then I doubled the image to hide the horrors of a dressing room. Hmm...not so simple, is it?

When we see images like this it makes it hard for the average person to differentiate between reality & a carefully curated feed. Please keep in mind that what you see on social media isn't always the whole truth. There is often a squad of people on the other side of the photo helping to create an amazing image or campaign. Someone works to better the lighting. Someone fans her to give her hair the perfect amount of wind. Someone's sole job is to edit the photo to perfection. Someone styles her in the latest trends.

From someone who does social media for a living, not everything is as it seems. I often look at tweets, updates, photos, & ask a myriad of questions. How many people worked together to create that wonderful image? Did they do it on their own? Were they paid for this post? How come there's no sign of a disclaimer? Did they buy this or receive it for free? 

From someone who does social media for a living, don't feel like the amount of likes validates you as human being. You are beautiful regardless if you get 200 likes on your Instagram photo. You are intelligent even if no one comments on your post. You are interesting regardless if someone retweets you.

From someone who does social media as a career, be sure to take a moment away from your phone, from your tablet, from your computer screen. Take 10 minutes to just be yourself, be alone, just be. When you stop thinking of social media as a point of validation, you can use social media without comparing yourself. 

From someone who does social media for a living, there is some good to it all. Social media can be filled with news, beauty, inspiration, truth, honesty, vulnerability, & community. Within social media lies those people who are authentic, who are open, who are willing to let you into their lives. Embrace this version of social media.

Remember: social media is not always 100% truthful. Take it with a grain of salt & don't be so hard on yourself when you see someone with a vast wardrobe & six pack abs & a clean, green "What I Eat in a Day" post. Understand that social media is a confusing mixture of marketing, thoughtfully curated content, & real life.

And that is my opinion of social media.

What's your opinion of social media? :]

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