public relations

Impactful communications
with an Agile twist

As an active and heavy user of all things social media – both professionally and personally – I would like to declare…. Social media comes with a health warning.

I would like to apologise to anyone who has engaged or observed my posts and come to the conclusion: “That Rachel Picken, her life is sorted”.

My life is not sorted. My life is an exhausting whirlwind of attempting to maintain some sort of work/life balance, and I use social media to escape the chaos a few times a day.

But, as my friend Claire has pointed out – people only ever really present their best/funniest sides on social, and it really needs to be taken with a pinch of salt.

Instagram – to the blissfully unaware (to be fair, your life is probably a whole lot simpler without it) – is a social media platform where you can share pictures and add a filter to make it look more attractive, romantic and wholesome.

I do sometimes wish I could apply a filter to my life in general, to make it more attractive, more romantic, more wholesome…

Here are some descriptions of recent examples from my own Instagram account, and the real story behind them.

Instagram life: “Look at my nutritious veg-filled casserole, lovingly created in my kitchen thanks to my colourful veg box I have delivered to my door.”

Real life: On serving the casserole, my children looked at it with suspicion and distain, picked the sausages out and smeared some of the veg into the dining table. Also the picture doesn’t show the amount of washing up created alongside said casserole.

Instagram life: “Ah, look at my beautiful flaxen-haired children running about on the beach in the autumn sunshine”.

Real life: It took approximately 30 minutes each way to drag beach paraphernalia down the cliff path, plus children and mother/grandmother with dodgy back. On the way back, the toddler had a sit-down protest about walking any further. Also the toddler dropped her ice-cream, where rather than queue for another, I attempted to rescue by scraping the bits of sand/gravel off.

Instagram: “Look at this stunning view of Malpas River, sunkissed by the balmy morning sunshine, snapped during my morning run.”

Real life: Wasn’t really a run, more a limp. Was desperate to escape the house one Sunday morning, after extended breakfast service and overdose on children’s television. Was also full of cold.

So… don’t believe everything you see online. Behind every smug picture is someone projecting the person they’re trying to be, and not always getting there.

Written for the West Briton lifestyle page: http://www.westbriton.co.uk/COLUMN-Filtering-life-social-media/story-27983814-detail/story.html

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