Yesterday I rounded up the various sessions I attended at BlogFest, but I have left one session to discuss in more detail. I was lucky enough to attend the self-esteem and blogging round table, chaired by the wonderful Leigh from Headspace Perspective.
Picture courtesy of Dove
We started by introducing ourselves and giving our reasons for blogging. These were varied, however straight away you could tell how important blogging was to each and every one of us. Reasons why we blog;
“I have to!”
“It helped me rediscover my voice”
“It gives me time to do my own thing”
“It gives me a sense of purpose”
“It gives me something for me.”
Perception of success
It is hard to define success on a single scale. Everyone has different objectives and so success is a very personal thing. For some a successful blog would be one that makes them happy, while others may define their success as income or chart positions.
It is quite natural for crave validation by the number of likes or comments on posts. We all pour so much of ourselves into our blogs that most of us feel we need the validation of others. This can lead to people feeling low if the post doesn’t get the reaction they hope for. We heard from some members of the group who had removed posts that didn’t attract a comment, as they assumed the posts must be rubbish. So it would appear that lack or comments and likes, even as grown women, affects our self esteem.
There has been mutterings that Blogging and social media can show unrealistic ‘shiny’ version of life, that is unattainable for most people. I feel that you can still be honest, while sharing pretty images. No-one needs to see the piles of dishes in my house and indeed if friends came round I would be keen for them not to see them either.
As mothers, a lot of us were worried about the effect social media will have on our children.
For the young people of today growing up online is common place. I didn’t even have a mobile and these young people have their lives played out online in a way that wasn’t possible when I was a teenager. It is not surprising that these experiences can shape their self esteem and ultimately affect their confidence.
The roundtable sponsor, Dove, launched the Self-Esteem Project #NoLikesNeeded to encourage girls to realise the only ‘like’ that counts is their own
- Dove believes that everyone has the opportunity to make a difference in a girl’s self-esteem. I think as bloggers we are well positioned to use our influence in a positive way.
- Girls often use social media for self-validation.
- Surprisingly for me, as girls grow up their desire for validation increases. An 18-23 year old girl will seek three times more ‘likes’ on social media than a 13-17 year old. I would have thought the younger bracket would need the most validation in this way, so the Dove research was really interesting reading.
- Spending time on social media can double the level of appearance anxiety felt by girls between the ages of 13-18.
- Nearly half of girls say that using social networks can make them feel worse about their appearance.
- The average UK girl takes 12 minutes to prepare for a single ‘selfie’, thus spending 84 minutes a week getting ready for selfies
- The desire for ‘likes’ is more common for girls with low body confidence who are more than twice as likely (57 percent) to keep wanting more ‘likes’ than their peers with high body confidence (25 percent).
- Parents, mentors and teachers can also download the Dove Self-Esteem Project educational tools, proven to boost self-esteem and increase body confidence in young people at www.selfesteem.dove.com.
Lucy Attley, Dove UK Brand Director:
“We have long known that girls with healthy body confidence have a greater chance of reaching their full potential. Today’s research enables us to better understand the relationship between social media and girls’ self-esteem, and the importance of talking to girls about body confidence before they turn 18. Everyone can help a girl feel good about herself which is why we are asking parents, teachers, youth leaders and family friends to share their support for the #NoLikesNeeded campaign.”
Dove is committed to creating a world where beauty is a source of confidence, not anxiety.
We discussed the experiences of those who had been trolled and received negative comments. We all put a lot of time and effort into our blog and they are a reflection of us. Therefore, we take it personally when someone is negative.
Positivity in blogging
The group also discussed the benefits of blogging. Overwhelmingly the group felt that blogging and social media had a positive impct on their lives. Improving their self esteem, confidence and mental health in many cases.
Disclosure: In collaboration with Dove.