Living and Sharing Authentically

As someone who uses and shares on social media daily, I have been thinking a lot about what and how I share on social media, particularly Instagram. I first began blogging back in 2018 with my sisters; we documented our adventures around the Triangle Area under the account name Three Shinsters. A little over a year later, Three Shinsters became Better with Ju.

Authenticity is a value I’ve held close to my heart my entire life. Being genuinely “me” is incredibly important to me and I take pride in being “me.” In the last year or so, I have had this sense of unease because sometimes I am not sure if I am being authentically me and sharing organically on social media. There’s a line between getting a cute photo to document life versus “doing it for the Gram.” There are times when I can’t tell anymore what I’m really doing.

Am I ordering a specific dish because it’ll photograph nicely? Do I really want to be the nth blogger to post about a new [insert whatever] place? Is this a good photo op or something I actually want to do? Am I treating (almost everything in) life as potential content? What is the point of all this?

These questions reflect my skepticism towards blogging as well as social media in general. There are times when I find myself spiraling and having a minor breakdown about it (shoutout to my sisters and friends for listening to me vent and giving me advice and pep talks during those times).

While I don’t have a big following on social media, I have a very engaged audience, I think (or I hope) because people who follow me like me as a person. I like the person I am and, while I will grow and change over the years, I don’t want to morph myself into someone I am not or do things just to become a “better” or more successful blogger (this is one of the reasons I never want to become a full-time blogger).

On the other hand, I feel stuck in what I allow myself to share on Instagram. Because Three Shinsters began as a local interest/foodie blog, I am afraid to deviate from that content since that’s not what most people following initially signed up for? When I rebranded the Instagram account as Better with Ju, my plan was to share whatever I wanted but I haven’t quite done that. This anxiety-inducing rigidity is certainly self-imposed since no one is telling me what to post. And I have been posting whatever I want to on here, TikTok, and YouTube because I feel like there are no expectations of me (by me) on those platforms versus Instagram.

What I’m trying to say admist all the rambles is that I want Better with Ju to always be a space where I share authentically and a platform that grows with me. I’m not sure what that will exactly look like in the coming months but I want to allow myself grace and freedom in whatever and however I choose to share. I know I am far from being the only one whose mental health is affected by social media so I hope my transparency with my struggles provides validation or confirmation for some of you.

Ending on a fully cheesy note with my senior year quote which accurately sums up my life goal:

Our truest life is when are in dreams awake.

Henry David Thoreau

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