So here I am, heading to Madrid.
On the road again, one more plane to catch, a new destination. But there is one crucial difference. Instead of my photographer, I have my beloved boyfriend by my side.
Maybe this trip marks a step closer towards the solution I have been craving for so long: the perfect work-life balance. I feel I am getting closer.
This year, that much I know, I have been much happier, much more often than in all the last years combined. After long meandering, I have arrived in the present tense.
I have managed to shake off my obsessions and fear of the future, and the fell off me like heavy shackles. Ironically, no one kept me prisoner but myself. All I needed to do was to let go. I had the key in my hands the whole time, and still I lived as my own captive. I am free now. Well, almost.
Looking back at the past couple of months, I see that the pace of my life has accelerated drastically. I know this is not necessarily all that obvious to you, dear readers of my blog, given that I have posted a good bit less than before. But I have to be honest, I just could not keep up the frequency of posts indefinitely. I have been longing to find a new, more efficient system for quite some time now. I think I may be on to something there, and I hope to implement it soon.
For many of my followers it is not always clear what is going on behind the scenes here: Instagram , stories, podcast, Youtube and events take up a lot of time and especially energy. Sometimes I feel like I’m stuck in a hamster wheel, running and running, without a break. But unlike before, I manage to make a conscious decision to step out of the wheel much more frequently. Leaving the wheel be for a while, I take my moments of tranquility and rest. Finding this elusive work-life balance, saying no more often… at times it is quite an effort for me.
But I have the suspicion that just that may be the most important lesson I need to learnt his year.
I have a new Instagram feed! I love it, and it seems you do to! For the first time I find myself really enjoying Instagram. I have the feeling my content reflects me much more accurately now. At good last, after 7 years, I have found my voice in this medium. The process was not spontaneous though, no muse showed up out of the blue to kiss me. As you probably know by now, I love designing digital layouts. But the motor for change was frustration this time. The thing is – and please don’t take this the wrong way, this does not come from a self-centered place – I feel I deserve a good bit more followers. But the engagement statistics spoke a different language. I followed all the classic Instagram rules, but my follower count grew frustratingly slowly.
Then, at some point, while in Greece, I decided to not care anymore. I made a resolution to stop worrying whether people would like my pictures or not. I was tired of playing by the rules, and effectively started to run my Instagram account doing all the things I have been advised against: not enough pictures, and the ones I posted too professional, interspersed with images that no one could make much sense of. I really didn’t care. It’s my profile, ater all, and if I’m not mainstream, so be it. At least, I felt, I’d be myself. I’d be true to myself. And lo and behold, you seem to like the new approach. While the engagement has not increased all that much, and while I’m still growing pretty slowly and still don’t seem to pop up in ‘discover’, I feel a new sense of freedom. Your comments seem to confirm what I have actually known for ages: if you stay true to who you are, there will always be an audience who appreciates exactly that. Thank you!
The Three-Body Problem by Liu Cixin
I really love absorbing a pice of history through a suspenseful novel. And if the book in question is as beautifully sad as the Trisolaris Trilogy, I’m in love.
“No, that really can’t be, can it?” My boyfriend was incredulous when I told him some of the newest gossip from the blogosphere.
“That doesn’t make any sense!
Are you sure the info is correct?
Maybe you misunderstood something?
Why would you have to mark posts as ads if you bought the product yourself?”
Wouldn’t it make more sense if posts have to be tagged as ads if a partner has paid for it?
Isn’t the mere naming of a product an editorial choice, above all?
And why does this regulation not apply to celebrities and athletes?”
Those were the exact questions my colleague Vreni had. So she decided to contest a written warning she had received. But what seems so logical to us digital natives is apparently a whole different story for the courts of law. Whether paid or not – the mere mention of a brand is considered advertisement. Even using Instagram’s own “paid content by XY” tool doesn’t seem to suffice, since the words “promotion” and “advertisement” are not clearly defined. In other words, the boundary between ad and no ad appears to be fluent. To be on the safe side, it seems one has to tag pretty much everything as an ad, no matter the supposed nature of the “advertisement” or “promotion”. This completely undermines the initial idea of the regulation, and shows quite clearly that the lawmakers can no longer keep up with the pace of the developments.
So, Vreni now faces injunction proceedings against, of all institutions, the VSW (the association for social competition), which represents a number of important publishers that break the rules themselves – despite all that, my friend does not give up.
She keeps fighting the fight, but she is running out of money. How does one take on a large publisher? It’s David’s fight against Goliath, all over.
Dear Vreni, I take my imaginary hat off to you!
Thank you for your courage, for being a role model for all of us. Thank you for leading the way, with courage, fearlessly. You are fighting for more transparency and clear guidelines, so all of us bloggers and Instagrammers should unite behind you. Guys, we should support her. Let’s not leave her alone in this.
Here’s a link to her crowdfunding campaign.
I gave a talk a Cebit!
Once again I had a (brief) opportunity to take to a large stage and talk about my favorite subject: social media, my strategy and my career path. Here’s what I had to say:
Favorite Sale Picks