6 years of social media exposure and how it changed me
It’s been nearly 6 years that I am online, by choice, let me start by saying that. I had been online before I even started with Leavingholland.com and all the social media connected with it, but only as a blogger. Writing a short story or experience or political view every day.
In 2014 it became different, I became my own brand. I started using the name “JC from Holland” and she grew with me in my concept of solo female traveler, to riding nomad from the Philippines, through Europe on to Mexico. And when I changed so did she.
It was by choice but that didn’t mean I like it!
Now there is a contradiction in that, I know. I claim to live the life I love and yet, I do not like my own life being branded on social media. How weird is that? Ever since I started blogging, when blogging was invented I developed this love/hate relationship with social media. There are days I thrive on my online contacts and my exposure and there I days I hate it. Simple as that. Add to that the pressure to produce something people might like every so often, preferably daily according to some Marketing Guru’s but at least “regularly” to stay on top of the algorithms, is hard. It kind of drains you. And when you are not as successful as you hoped to be, it becomes even more straining.
I have never put my eggs in one basket, so my income is not depending on social media behavior
Lucky for me I am one of those nomads that never believed in just 1 source of income, which would make me too vulnerable. So my social media not being as successful as I hoped it would become was not a big deal. And I frequently gave in to the “hate”-part of it, leaving it to be for a while. Giving me some rest and time to get a new creative flow.
For me, it was more important to be authentic than to produce fake content
It was not just me that changed, also the algorithms and Google changed the way we bloggers and bloggers are being found on the internet. You have to keep up with changes almost every month. Besides the trends and other stuff that you have to comply with to serve the almighty world of search engines.
If for example, you do not post a sick puppy or yourself hanging upside down screaming your lungs out on the edge of a bungee cord, with some flashy catchy title, you will not get many views. And I have come to learn that clickbait is not my style. I will rather be me. I rather show you the real world and not the fake always happy, the stunning exhilarating thrill-seeking lifestyle some (nomads) pretend to have. I am more down-to-earth, quiet, and foremost authentic.
That is one very important thing I learned and confirmed about myself, although I do get carried away sometimes with visitors’ numbers and stats. I mean, we vloggers and bloggers all dream of a huge and easy career as a YouTuber including the big free constant money stream, right?
Wrong! Not me, although it would be nice, it is not my core business. Not if I have to become someone I am not. And you know, over the years I have seen big channels suffer huge income loss because of changes in YouTube advertisement, so why take the risk of going all crazy for a few bucks?
I prefer a solid based income and I do not care so much for followers and interaction
Of course, I love it when my followers comment, I really do, 2021 I stopped using Facebook (read: I quit Facebook and Instagram) and I would lie if I say I do not miss the interaction with my friends there.
But I have all my comments on moderation and going through filters before they reach me before they reach you. And that is for a reason. Nice audience seldom comments, only the haters do. So, there are days I am going all retrospective on some ugly comments about myself or my video or article and wondering what the F*** I did wrong.
I share my thoughts on that and more in this video. Because there will be changes coming to my blogs, to my remaining social media, and especially to my YouTube Channel.
Not for the sake of you guys and girls, but for my own sake. I will be traveling a lot soon, and something shifted in me and my financial situation that makes it possible to make those changes, but I explain in the video, just listen to it and watch the unique video moments that accompany my voice.
So what did I learn in those 6 years on social media?
About my audience:
People are mean and harsh, the anonymity of the internet makes them believe they can say anything and vent their opinions without thinking. And maybe the times are changing as well, and people kind of lose their sense of integrity and feel the urge to vent more, because they feel less heard in this busy individual world.
People are stingy since I work in the sun and only 4 hours a day, I can also work for free. Such a wrong assumption, because I do have to pay bills, but I get a lot of harsh replies when I do not want to answer complicated (legal) questions for free.
I have no clue what people want to see or read or not. Some of my best-watched videos are too dumb for words, and in some of the videos I put in a lot of work because I thought it would be interesting for my followers to remain unseen. Same with the articles. So although I Google on trends, ask my followers, and have polls, I still do not get it. I blame the algorithm for it and me living in different time zones all over the world.
Some people still know loyalty and love what I do, and for those, I stay online. (and a bit for the money of course) Over the years I have this slow-growing community of intimate friends online that I have never met in real life, but they have become my friends. I suck at maintaining a friendship, but they are good at it and somehow keep following me and texting me. And I love them for that.
No matter what way I turn, left or right, I can never satisfy the masses, there will always be a group of haters and trolls that jumps to whatever attracts their attention. So I better do whatever I like, and shake those off. After all: today’s news is forgotten tomorrow, sometimes this fast world is a blessing.
Most people feel righteous about their own opinion and seem to know no self-reflection, they kind of own the world and take up all the space there is, and they seldom realize how hard words can beat a person, crack a spirit or hurt a heart that has no other intention than to show the best she can.
About myself I:
I have become more confident with showing myself online, in front of the camera. Because I care less what people think of me, I know I was last in line when they handed out a slim body, big boops, full wavy hair, and stuff like that, but this is me, deal with it!
I should not take negative comments personally. Well, that is a tough one, for I am a strong believer in finding a learning curve in feedback. And some comments are really personal. So whatever everyone tells me about that, it hits hard. Some days harder than others, but it hits. I have become more creative with filters and moderation, so I can keep it to a minimum, but there are moments I want to sink in a hole in the ground and never surface again, to wallow in pain and misery for the rest of my life.
I do not care for visitors’ stats, although I do sometimes get carried away by numbers, it is a moment in my life and not a daily thing. Usually, it happens when visitors number peek or sink, due to something extraordinary. That will draw my attention, but, I do not lose any sleep over them.
I like to show my world as it is, I tried to lighten it up a bit, promote myself more, but that is not me. I am the happiest when I am honest, down-to-earth, and straightforward about my life and what is happening in the country where I am at. And since my life is about good living the best life, I am happy with myself for that.
Since I quit some social media I have grown more in touch with myself and my daily life, I am more balanced.
I should laugh more, but because I hate my teeth, I had the worst case of braces when I was a child, I do not like to laugh much, but I need to work on that.
Overall, I have to come to accept the fact that somehow some days I am kind of an exhibitionist, while other days I love to hide from the public. But it was by choice I have exposed myself to all this, both the positive and the negative. Some days I need applause, while other days I feel shy and introverted. And would love to move away from this circus.
And that is why the changes are taking place, to make it even more comfortable.