With so much discussion on authenticity in the online world, and so many interpretations of it, I feel that now is more relevant than ever to finally put my thoughts into words on this very topic. Between conversations on holding ourselves responsible for what we actively promote and making money while maintaining our values, the criteria for what is pure and genuine in the online world can seem never-ending. I personally believe that authenticity goes beyond having a credible following, past sharing daily moments and above portraying a relatable image on the internet. For me, finding authenticity online began with embracing my surroundings and the life that is my own.
When I first began, I had no plan or outline for what I wanted my online space to be. Soon after, I started to notice what others were doing and assumed that to be successful, I needed to follow that very path. I never quite managed to master the style, no matter how many wallpaper samples I picked up from B&Q. My attempt at beauty posts felt fraudulent, when my routine consisted (and still does) of moisturiser, filling in brows and covering up any redness. I didn’t live in a pristine all-white house or spend my weekends in London so maintaining a consistent photo style soon became a struggle. My posts were a mishmash of topics that didn’t reflect the person behind the words. After a while, I realised that I was exhausting myself by trying to make my online space too different from my offline world; blogging was no longer enjoyable or achievable, and I spent far too much time doubting myself. One day, I finally decided to let go of the image I was striving for – the one that I thought I needed to have – and start over. Rethinking my approach led to seeing my online presence in a whole new light. I therefore wanted to share the three steps that I took so that we can all find our own authenticity online.
Embracing Our Surroundings
What first inspired the beginnings of this blog was the beautiful New Forest, one of the most charming areas in England and the place that is my second home, quite literally. Weekends are spent here or elsewhere around the countryside, exploring National Trust places and quaint villages. In the home, oak and teak feature throughout, and flowers can be found around every corner of the garden. This translates naturally as the base of my own online home. Slowing down to observe what is truly around us can help us to naturally find a consistent style and image that is easy to cultivate. By taking a step back, we can notice what is in our home, in our local area and where we tend to spend most of our time. Simply embracing our surroundings can be the first step to creating an authentic online presence, whether through the photos we take or the adventures we share with our followers.
Finding Our Voice
As a quiet introvert, using my voice in everyday situations is not often easy, which is why writing is so therapeutic for me. While I believe in the art of writing and appreciate all the little things that make up our beautiful language, finding a writing style, and what I feel passionate writing about, took its time, as most things worth pursuing do. Now, simply taking a look at what is around me provides me with lots of inspiration. Whether we choose to write poetically or in the style of Hemingway, it should be something that feels both comforting and flourishing; when I sit down to write, I strive to create the best that I can while feeling like I am truly home. The topics that we choose to communicate through words, on the other hand, are usually already there in our heads and hearts, but may need a little unearthing. Writing what we believe in exposes our vulnerability but also lets our words be our own.
Appreciating Our Life
Accepting what my life will likely never be, based on who I am, where I am and what is truly important to me was the final step in finding authenticity online. When reflecting on my current situation, I realised that I am actually rather happy living at a slower pace away from the hustle and bustle of the Capital. Sharing my life online has not only helped me to see where I would like to be in the future but to also appreciate where I am now. While our lives are all different and imperfect in every sense, we all have one or two things that we can truly appreciate, whether it be a creative pursuit we are getting better and better at, the beautiful place that we call home or the people who are central to our lives. These are the very things that make for genuine, interesting topics that we will never tire of, or feel fraudulent, writing about.
Although my blog is not particularly marketable or likely to turn into a full-time career, it is an extension of myself and everything that I choose to surround myself with. It is the place where I work on my writing, push my boundaries of creativity and express my life authentically through words and images. By taking some time to reflect on our lives and what is around us, we can build a genuine online space that lets our readers glimpse into the very things that we love about our lives. To me, this is true authenticity.
What do you interpret as authentic and genuine in the online world?