This week has been one of my toughest yet since starting my own business.  And I don't say that lightly.

As I reflect back on it, I realise I've come to learn some big lessons.  And as I sit here on this peaceful Sunday in May considering it all, I realise that everything that happened this week pretty much all boils down to one thing for me: keeping it real.  'Real', being the operative word.

I toyed today with writing any blog post at all.  And then I realised that if nothing else, I'd probably find it quite cathartic to document how I've been feeling this week and what I've learned from my experiences. Thank god for good friends who have helped me through the more challenging days!

You see, working for yourself can be a lonely business {or so I'm finding}.  Especially if you work from home.  Online virtual/social networks such as Twitter and Facebook are fantastic ways of raising your business profile and driving traffic to your online business.  But ensuring that  you have a network of REAL friends at hand to turn to during the difficult times is absolutely critical if you are a business owner who works from home.

The way I see it, real friends are way more important than the number of Twitter followers or Facebook 'Likes' you have…

Becoming Self Employed #2 ~ The Trouble With Twitter... (Business + Money Wedding Talk ) 

The wedding industry is an amazing industry to work in.  I speak from my heart when I say that.  I feel hugely blessed on so many levels to find myself surrounded by so many like minded, creative individuals, and, as I'm discovering all the time, generous and kind people.  But this industry, like any other, is prone to a number of much less attractive characteristics too;  gossip, tittle tattle, you know what I mean.   The kind of stuff you hope you escaped for good if, like me, you've left an office environment where that kind of thing can be rife.  

And if like me, you work from home, on your own, it's all too easy to get way too drawn into it sometimes and view things disproportionately.  Working for yourself, by yourself all day long and at times, it's easy to let your perspective, your ability to judge things in a rational sense, slip a little.There are occasions I have to remind myself to keep it real. This week was one of them.

 

Real Networks versus Online Social Networks…

Twitter and Facebook.  God knows where my blog would be without them.  They both drive a huge amount of traffic to my blog {each time I post a new blog, I will 'tweet' about it and also place a link to it on my Facebook page}I love Twitter and Facebook. But I also loathe them at times.

Love My Dress has almost 6000 followers on Twitter and almost 3000 Facebook 'Likes'. You'd think with a 'network' like that, I'd never have a thing to worry about a thing.  And yet there are days when Twitter and Facebook leave me feeling utterly dejected, deflated and low…

Becoming Self Employed #2 ~ The Trouble With Twitter... (Business + Money Wedding Talk )


The thing about Twitter is, things can be so easily mis-interpreted.  The same goes for Facebook. Sometimes, it can be so easy to read a bit of a negative tweet and find yourself asking 'are they talking about me?'.  Sometimes, it can be so easy to read other people tweeting about their latest success and amazing projects, only to find yourself feeling completely inadequate. It can be so utterly disheartening to see other people tweeting about being out with family on a Sunday afternoon enjoying themselves, when you are the one sat at home in a room on your own, trying to catch up on work, while your family carry on their day without you downstairs.  Stationer Lucy Ledger captured the essence of what I'm trying to say in her heartfelt 'It's OK to be a Sad Sack' blog post.

Sometimes, Twitter and Facebook? It all gets a bit too much. And I'm as guilty as the next person for obsessing over it a little bit too much.

From where I'm sat too, Twitter and Facebook are for some, becoming more a 'status' symbol, than they are a useful tool for raising your business profile and driving traffic to your website/blog – for connecting with like-minded people…

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Becoming Self Employed #2 ~ The Trouble With Twitter... (Business + Money Wedding Talk )

One of the most disconcerting ideas I've heard in a long while is that of signing up to a Twitter service to keep a track of who unfollows you. Talk about how to set yourself up on a good old paranoia trip!!  Who cares if someone unfollows you on Twitter or Facebook?   If they want to, let them.  As owners of a small business, let's be honest, we have way waaaaaaaay more important things to be spending our precious time thinking about.  If you are signed up to the Unfollowr service, I suggest you get shot of it immediately and divert your energies to something rather more productive.

I'm learning, on the is journey of discovery that is 'becoming self-employed' that there are occasions when you can feel very isolated and lonely.  And sometimes, Twitter and Facebook serve only to accentuate those feelings.

For me, from here on, I'll be spending much less time getting absorbed into Twitter and Facebook on a personal level and much more time keeping it real. I love the idea of good old fashioned networking and look forward to getting involved with local and national networks where I can support and be supported by like minded small business owners.

Becoming Self Employed #2 ~ The Trouble With Twitter... (Business + Money Wedding Talk )

The benefits of networking the old-fashioned way is one of the reasons I have set up the Summer Soiree in August.  Putting the 'Twitter addresses' to so many faces and getting to know a little bit about the real people behind the Facebook status updates will be such a treat.

I love Twitter and Facebook and this whole online social networking revolution, but at times, I just want to pick up the phone and chat with real people and not have to fit in everything that I'm feeling into 140 characters, or a Facebook status update, only for it to be completely misinterpreted.  And I don't want to find myself stressing over whether that tweet I just read was aimed at me either.

There are SO many pressures and responsibilities we have as small business owners but for me, I've learned that one of the most important is keeping it real.

Small business lessons learned this week:-

♥  Twitter is great but it can also be bad. Learn to step away from the Twitter Feed!

  Twitter is NOT about how many followers you have. Maintaining a blog is not about how many comments you get.  Ignore the prople who brag about it.

  I want to engage more in 'real life' networking.  And I value my REAL friendships and REAL business acquaintances more than ever.

  Being your own boss is AMAZING! But working for yourself, from home, can also be isolating.  It is so important to have a network of REAL friends around you when you are setting up a small business.  Real friends as in those that you know you can ring anytime of the day when the proverbial hits the fan.  Spend less time on Twitter and more time nurturing these real friendships and personal relationships with the people who will be there for you in no time when you have your challenging week.

Becoming Self Employed #2 ~ The Trouble With Twitter... (Business + Money Wedding Talk )

I dedicate this blog post and send love to all the small business owners who have had a bit of a rubbishy week. It happens! I'm off out to see some of the sunshine that appeared just as I got all of this off my chest Becoming Self Employed #2 ~ The Trouble With Twitter... (Business + Money Wedding Talk )

You can read more of my 'being self employed' ramblings here.

Much love,

Annabel xXx

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Becoming Self Employed #2 ~ The Trouble With Twitter... (Business + Money Wedding Talk )

Annabel/

Annabel is the founder of Love My Dress. She lives in rural North Yorkshire with her husband and business partner Philip, two daughters Eska and Leanora and three dogs. If she's not being a Blog Queen or practicing her photography, you'll find her fighting her way through a renovation dust cloud as she and her family transform their forever-home.

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70 thoughts on Becoming Self Employed #2 ~ The Trouble With Twitter…

  1. sorry you’ve had a stressful week – stay positive, don’t follow the crowd, follow your self – our own common sense always takes us the right we way if we are aware enough to see it. Ignore anyone who isn’t really worth your attention in the first place.
    I’m sure next week you will feel back on form.

  2. So true, I spend far too much time on Twitter! Sorry to hear you’ve had a bad week Annabel! Hoping you feel better now. I love your blog x

  3. and here I was thinking that i’m the only person who feels this way. Splitting time between being a full time mum and struggling to set up your own event planning business can be so stressfull and tiring – i get so disheartened when people stop following me or I see other people with hundreds of followers and I only have a handful.
    Thanks for helping to keep it in perspective xxx
    postscriptbride

  4. Annabel you write with such honesty and clarity. I love you and your blog for it.
    I agree wholeheartedly with the sentiments of this post. I’m not a small business but I think that even in every day life social networking can distract us from what is really important in life. Thanks to status updates I know what a handful of people I went to school with are up to but I haven’t spoken to my best friend, I mean actually heard her voice, in weeks. What’s up with that!?
    Thank you, as ever, for being so thought provoking on a Sunday. Good luck with keeping it *real* and I’m crossing EVERYTHING that I can have the opportunity to speak to you face to face at your fabulous party!
    Loveaudrey xxx

  5. here here! Both yours and Lucy’s posts recently have helped me put things in perspective when it comes to twitter … I’m spending far less time in the evening and weekend now on twitter and more time working on my business and spending time with my other half. I think I’m getting the balance back thank goodness! I hope you do too.
    And I totally agree about the unfollow tool! What a depressing idea!

  6. I’ve always wondered how people can tweet so much. I never tweet I just read, I just don’t have the time with my little lady keeping me busy. I also think how lonely it could be, being a stay at home mum is really similar. Hope this next week is better for you. A wonderfully written post beautifully put across as usual.x

  7. Sometimes the most important thing to do is step away from social media. I agree it is great for business but as a friend & I reguarly say our teenage children would have a lot less arguments if they actually spoke to friends instead of just texting or facebooking!
    All too often people forget where they are & personal grievences are aired to millions of people then their professional reputation is put on the line because they forgot how many people would read their tweet or status update.
    Enjoy the sunshine Annabel, it is now shining here too, although a bit breezy.
    Take care
    Zoe
    xx

  8. such honest words, made me smile at so many things you have mentioned above… the inadequacy, the paranoia, the time-away-from-family moments… glad to see its not just me, but so many of us, and more importantly, we are all just human, full of same emotions… thank you for the post! Aneta x

  9. Thank you Annabel for saying what so many of us feel on a regular basis.
    I do often wonder how some people on Twitter manage to get any work done!
    Like you I used to feel a bit disheartened if I noticed that our followers number had dropped but I quickly realised that there is so much other work to be done that a Twitter unfollower here or there will not make a big difference in the grand scheme of things!
    Keep your chin up and continue with the fab things you do as the wedding world would be a duller place without you!
    xXx

  10. True to read. I’ve never quite got Facebook/Twitter and we don’t have many followers which left me to think we were not as popular or sucsessful as others on there.
    But totally not getting the whole facebook/Twitter thing has made our business successful (i think). As we’ve spent virtually no time tweeting etc and all of our time making building a business in the traditional ways.
    Whilst social networking can be beneficial for a business (we are only just getting how beneficial it can be and have started to have more of a presence in this arena) it’s been more beneficial to us to build a business, grow it, increase sales to make serious money, get premises, take on new staff as opposed to tweet a lot, get lot’s of followers and spend time on social networks.
    It’s easy to get bogged down in it all when it’s really not important and is one tiny aspect to the marketing of a business.
    I’ve enjoyed reading your blog about working for yourself as I had similar feelings 3 years ago when I’d officially set up on my own and was extremely isolated. I didn’t have a good network of friends and found that self-belief and an attitude to not give up,to make it on my own helped me get though to today.
    Great blog – enjoy reading it! x

  11. Some elements of this are equally valid for those of us ‘working for the man’ (‘the man’s’ internet security doesn’t like wedding blogs, hence my less frequent comments nowadays! :/ ).
    With every business tied up in twitter and FB, it seems everyone is doing amazing stuff. If you’re ‘the last’ to pick up on something (and that can mean an hour after other people- waah, I’m so last-Oclock!) it can feel as if you’ve not got your finger on the pulse.
    Real face to face (or even using a phone for what it was invented for) is so much more valuable in reality.

  12. You speak so refreshingly and honestly about this Annabel. For me the best thing about the social network of twitter is that it can lead you to make genuine connections with like-minded people but you do have to turn a blind eye to a lot of fluff and tittle tattle along the way. Enjoy the rest of the weekend with your family. A x

  13. Thanks for your honest post Annabel, I think we’ve all been there at one point or another. I love ‘real’ networking too, it is a fabulous way to meet like minded people. Why not try Ladies who Latte or Business Biscotti, they’ve got loads of local networks. I go to LwL once a month and have made some fantastric contacts that have also led to real referrals. xx

  14. So true all of this and thanks for writing what most of us thing but daren’t say!
    Looking forward to next week’s blog posts already x x

  15. Annabel, it is so refreshing to read your post and while I’m sorry to hear that you’ve had a tough week, it is quite comforting to hear that even bloggers can get down by social media. For a long time I’ve had a love / hate relationship with Twitter. Like you mention it’s nice to meet people in the industry and do some networking from behind the comfort of a computer screen, but at the same time, on a personal level, if I engage too much with what others are doing or become obsessed with my feed, I often come away feeling inadequate or insecure about my own business. Over recent weeks I’ve chosen to break away from twitter and to be honest I haven’t missed it in the slightest and don’t think I’ve missed out on anything relevant to me either! Don’t get me wrong, i totally get the benefits and I’ve met some great contacts and friends through the site, but a little break every now and again can do the world of good and there is no substitute for good real friendsvand face to face chat! Hope you have a better week and thanks for sharing xx

  16. Such a perfectly timed post Annabel :-) I wrote a post about twitter today also but if I got into it in the depth I felt would do its pros and cons justice i’d still be writing now! You’ve summed it up perfectly. I too have had one of those weeks, not helped by twitter, but I had a great day yesterday which wouldn’t have happened if twitter wasn’t around so I think we have to take the rough with the smooth. I was a victim of the unfollow software when it became a public tweet that i’d unfollowed someone. Still not sure why anyone would publicise that but it can only further fuel potential negativity online. I love your posts on being self employed Annabel, so insightful and fascinating, look forward to many more! Xx

  17. This rings so true and is so reassuring coming from someone like you Annabel who we look up to and wrongly assume doesn’t succumb to this type of stress. Thank you :-) xxx

  18. Completely agree Annabel! Twitter is great for making contacts, but nothing beats connecting with people the good old fashioned way.
    I’ve stepped back from Twitter of late – it’s far too easy to ‘read into’ a negative tweet and simply get down by witnessing others be negative and mean…sadly this can easly happen when there’s the barrier of technology between you…
    Your soiree is a wonderful idea – and here’s to many more opportunities to meet our peers face-to-face! Hope you have a better week xxx

  19. Oh Annabel how i feel your pain…i have days where i see what others has achieved…what they blogged…how many comments they have…how many orders they have etc and worry all day…friends, family and wonderful Dutchmen are a must in this business!!
    I admire you noting this on your wonderful site…its important to let everyone know you are human…and lets face it, none of us are perfect…and im sure all those people who maintain the upbeat persona are sitting in their pj’s and forcing the smiles…i know i do!!
    sending you love Emma x

  20. Great blog post and something any self-employed person can relate to! Totally agree about Twitter – it’s hard sometimes to read about all the ‘amazing’ things everyone is doing or ‘amazing’ weddings etc. Just need to learn to concentrate on what You are doing. However, it’s an invaluable resource for business, advice and networking, just need to use it wisely))

  21. Hi Dasha!
    So true, the key is to using Twitter wisely – having a balanced approach to it. I should know that, being a ‘Libran’ and all. But sometimes, it all gets the better of me! I think this weekend has been one of those more memorable ones on the huge learning curve I’m travelling along right now :)
    Much love,
    Annabel xXx

  22. Nil illegitimi carborundum!
    In the words of Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers, from that lovely film ‘Swingtime’
    For when my chin is on the ground,
    I pick myself up,
    Dust myself off,
    Start All over again

  23. Totally agree – we spend waaaay to much time caring what ‘Twitter’ thinks :)
    I realised this last month when I came to see how it had begun to represent everything I hated about school. I began to worry that I wasn’t popular enough, that no one cared what I had to say, that the cool kids didn’t speak to me. Then I gave myself a slap about the face. I can choose to interact with the community here, but it won’t make me better or worse at my job, or a better or worse person, but its weird how it has started to make me think that it will. So, enjoy the good, ignore the bad, and embrace the fact that it can lead to real relationships. Good post lady x

  24. Thanks for posting this Annabel, I can relate to so much of this! I often find myself becoming paranoid and obsessed over online goings on. It can be very useful yes, but also very counter productive, worrying too much about who is up to what and where online rather than developing myself and getting on with my ‘real’ life! It’s just good to know I’m not alone in feeling this and for also struggling with working alone a lot of the time, so for that I thank you. Hope next week is better for you and I can’t WAIT for your party!! YEY! Big hugs xx

  25. Hi Annabel.
    Working from home can leave you feeling isolated. Even more so when you receive e mail that is unpleasent or comments which attack. That’s when you realise there isn’t anyone sat next to you who can immediately turn to. You have to deal with that ‘hate mail/comment’ alone. However, I guess not having someone to immediatly bounce things off, makes you sit back for a while and digest what has been said. It is far too easy to begin to write something in defence, but in this game I guess one has to remain professional at all counts. That, Annabel, is something you should be proud of. You remain professional at all times, give unbiased opinions and never put anyone down.
    Twitter and facebook are great when used as the platform they are intended for.
    As a great friend recently said to me, an empty vessel makes the loudest noise.
    Much love, Linda x

  26. what an eloquent post Annabel.
    It does get lonely working from my little workshop quite a lot of the time but I’d never go back to doing what I did before. I know I am so lucky to be able to do what I love for a living. Social media has its place & I have met some wonderful people through it and been afforded the chance to do things I wouldnt ordinarily be able to do being here in a teeny village twixt Leeds n York! I did once have a go on the ‘unfollow’ app but yuck nope not me I suppose age and wisdom have afforded me the luxury of being ‘not bovvered’ about people who may ‘unfollow’ so what…
    BUT
    sometimes I do get irked by the ridiculous… the frankly absurd ‘I have 500 people to make nipple tassels for and theyre all being worn to the Royal Wedding’ and then proceed to tweet constantly for hours on end…yesh right… some folk are attention seeking clangers so dont let them get you down.
    You present a classy, well presented, thoughtful & well researched blog thats not self serving and ego obsessed ‘look at me’ nonsense
    I hope that this week will be brighter and more positive for you.
    JX

  27. I can’t thank you all enough for taking time to read and respond with such meaningful words :)
    You had better all be coming to my Summer Soiree so I can smother you with one of my REAL hugs!!! ;)))
    xXxXx

  28. What an interesting post – I’m in the process of setting up a blog and am totally hooked on twitter but I see everything you describe here and it kind of scares me and puts me off! Your feature has reminded me to keep it all in perspective.

  29. Hi Annabel,
    I’m really enjoying your musings on being self employed – it all rings so true. It is a lonely business working from home, and can be isolating if you’re not used to it (speaking here as a loner of 5+ years!) and yet all of the office politics and gossip is right there on twitter. It’s quite odd to see how it mirrors the office environment.
    I find it fascinating how different people use twitter. I’ve been reading Problogger and decided today I should use it more often for the blog, but now I wonder about that.
    I’m lucky in a way that gossip tends to pass me by – ignorance is bliss, as they say! But that was always the same at work for me too. I think we’re a lucky generation because we still have our ‘real’ social ties and friends; I watch my stepdaughter and her friends – who are all online. I wonder in ten years if it will be even more difficult to keep things real – the boundaries are blurring.
    My advice for you would be to remember that it takes a while to get used to the whole self employed thing. Do it your way and enjoy it – tackling the lonely side of it will get easier. xxx

  30. Great post and so so true! Twitter does get me down when all you read is how fantastically everyone is doing,but then on the other hand I have been helped out of a problem so many times by both ‘friends’ and prople that I have never tweeted with before that i think Twitters benfits outweigh its drawbacks. You just need to learn to ignore most of ‘oooh aren’t I great and my business is sooo busy ‘ tweets…..if you’re that busy you wouldn’t be tweeting all day!

  31. became self employed in April last year. One year on and I feel like I have learnt so much about the business world, the people involved in it and myself.
    I cope better with things now because I can turn my business brain on and my personal one off when I need to!
    Twitter was the worst for me, I would read other florists messages about quotes and bookings and then feel really depressed afterwards. I now limit my time on there and use it as a advertising tool for my website.
    I do enjoy reading about other peoples success and I love being part of the wedding world, but I can now separate myself from it and I don’t get too involved. :) x

  32. Great post Annabel! I can totally relate to your work-at-home mom situation too. I have two little boys under 4 at home with me and I feel so guilty when they’re trying to get my attention as I tweet, and facebook, and blog during the day. I feel I have to keep up with all of these because that is what everyone else is doing, and it’s a good way to get your name out there if you don’t have a shop front. But lately, I’ve realised it only makes life more stressful to be pulled in both directions between kids and computer. I now dedicate 15 minutes to computer/social networking 3 times a day when the kids are home. I try to catch up in the evenings or mornings when the kids are at montessori. Plus, I REFUSE to get a iphone because I know how much time out of my day it would eat up.I don’t mind being retro old-school with my simple mobile :)
    Hope you had a great day in the sunshine!

  33. Great post Annabel and sorry you’ve had a bad week. I love the cartoons in your post! That last one actually looks like me and my husband sat on our sofa! Initially I worried that I wasn’t twittering all day but eventually I realised that my main job was to focus on developing my business and doing what I do best. I think it’s a shame that how many ‘followers’ or ‘friends’ you have is often seen as an indication of how successful your business is. I’ve learnt that some people are just really good at marketing themselves (not my forte!). Now I really try to just use twitter, fb, blogging, being on other blogs, to upload images and talk about what I’m doing/have done so that I can signpost new clients to them- but just the facts – but it is hard sometimes in facebook not to copy status styles from other people, as if that’s what we should all do! However, the wedding industry is so visual nowadays so we all depend on showcasing our work visually and showing that we are up to date with the new trends that potential clients want. Not sure how to get round this one though as ultimately we want new clients for our businesses, though sometimes it does feel more like perhaps we’re showcasing what we do to other suppliers! I agree it can be difficult sometimes seeing the achievements of others but eventually I realised that the world is full of wonderfully creative people and a new confident generation that has the ability and good taste to set up businesses doing what they do best and what they love! We are all brilliant at what we do, not to mention committed, resilient, savy, patient, persitent and ultimately caring about how beautiful something is, or how happy we want to make our clients. Thank you for being a real person, Annabel, and I hope your next week is full of sunshine, real friends and beautiful birdsong!(as opposed to lots of twittering) xxx

  34. Great blog post and I can so understand your feelings. At Cocoon there are two of us so it makes things a lot easier if either of us are have bit of a rubbish time. As someone once said to us a while ago though – people lie or exaggerate the truth. Social media networking has a purpose but we all need to put it into perspective (sometimes I feel I’m addicted!!!). Hope you’ve had a lovely day x

  35. You are so bang on with all of this and this could not have come at a better time for me. Thank you for getting me back on track Annabel x

  36. Thanks so much everyone.
    Lisa O’Dwyer – god I reeeally struggle with the whole trying to balance myself between my business and my off-spring thing – that’s a whole other post in itself! ;) Encouraging to see you taking sensible measures on that one, I could learn a thing or two from you I feel! ;)
    Jennie, what a lovely comment, thank you so much :) It’s half term this next week, I’m determined it’s going to be a happy one spent with my children :)
    Much love,
    Annabel xXx

  37. I have been self employed for just about forever but,of course, only involed in social media for the last few years. From my perspective it has opened up a window for me that never, ever existed before. I have to say though I nearly gave up on Twitter to start with. The initial wierd feeling of not fully “getting it” engendered a slight paranoia that I have heard is nor unusual to feel at first. I have come to realise though that the independence that being self employed gives me can extend equally to social media. Its’ what you make of it!! there are no rules to follow. I am so very very fed up with people who use Twitter as a personal extention of their own egos, it really does not come over well. It is a great platform to vent sometimes but can also expose the truth of a personality in a pretty unflattering light, we have to be careful how much we actually want to reveal.
    Annabel I have found you to be restrained and generous even under great stress, it takes guts and inner strength to pull back and re-direct yourself. We are all independent and as such are free to express ourselves in the best way that suits ourselves. There is no set way to behave in Social media and no one we should feel obliged to suck up to !! Thats whats’ so great and so wonderfully democratic here, we are all so bloody equal to say what we want.

  38. This is so true and heartfelt lovely. Well done you for writing it!
    Social networking is so incredibly important today for business but it is also important to switch off from it too. It is incredibly liberating to do that from time to time or to set yourself time when it’s not allowed and you can reconnect fully with friends and family away from the computer or iPhone.
    Big love xx

  39. Great post, and something I learnt the hard way…..the VERY hard way is that text on a screen can be misinterpreted. All the subtlties of body language that actually tell us how something is meant are removed, there is no eye contact…no expressions to give us clues….just text on a screen. Think for a moment when you forget your caps lock is on….if you send it before you notice then you will regret it…..because you are shouting. Even a small thing like out of place punctuation can make a huge difference in how the message is received.
    My full time job (until Tuesday) includes managing a very busy support team and I learnt very quickly that how a message is meant and how it is received is a very different thing. For me the biggest problem is that I am very to the point when I am busy, it’s not because I don’t care but it does come across badly.
    I love modern technology……but sometimes it’s a curse, particularly when you can fire off a tweet anytime of the day (and night), good mood or bad, drunk (come on we all have to party!) or sober and people tend to over analyse what’s said.
    I am looking forward to having more time for my real life friends and more time to make real life friends of my cyber buddies!
    Thanks for putting this out there Annabel xx

  40. Annabel, what a great post. I could have written every word myself. The above comments in response to your post have provided even more great insight into this odd new world many of us have been caught up in.
    As a stay at home mum of two under 4s, and small business owner, it can be very isolating, stressful, guilt-ridden (and 24/7!). Your world can literally become the all-consuming ‘online’, in a desperate attempt keep in contact with the outside world, and it can be very easily misinterpreted.
    Twitter and facebook are great sources of business for me but I try my best to stay away from the politics and ‘show-offs’…and as for Unfollowr, I steer well clear of that now! I am also learning to become more disciplined with the time that I spend using social media (sometimes spending half an hour doing ‘Follow Fridays’ or ‘Wedding Wednesdays’ can be much better spent working on orders so that I don’t have to work late into the evening!).
    I have met some amazing people online though and make as much effort as time will allow to socialise and network with REAL people (but this is tough when you have such little time). Lucy Ledger’s post also summed it up very well. The key is to keep your chin up and let it slide…learn to be disciplined with it all, and or course be true to yourself.
    xxx

  41. Annabel, you and Dana put it so beautifully. Twitter is such a double-edged sword. Not only have I met really fantastic people through it, (and have actually met them in person) but it does get your work out there super fast and it can be entertaining if you follow the right people. But it can also be a distorted view of the world. I come away from it sometimes thinking that everyone else is SO busy and having a great time, when the truth is, each of them has down times and slow days and blue days but they may not tweet about it. I find it easiest to dip in and out of Twitter without reading EVERY tweet on my feed. Apart from being time-wasting to do that, it gives you perspective to balance the day with other things. I do find that some people seem to tweet CONSTANTLY, even when they are in the middle of doing something else, and I just think the people around them must find that so rude.
    You are right about seeing your friends in person and chatting on the phone. I vow to do it more, thanks for the nudge xxx

  42. Annabel I was really moved by this post. Honest and authentic. It also got me thinking about where in my life am I getting caught up in the noise (facebook/twitter/ klout etc-) …. and it took me back to the purpose of why i do what i do … ie. to tell photographic love stories. Thanks for the post and gentle reminder to keep things real. XXXX

  43. Great post. We’re relatively new to the blogging world but I’ve been in the wedding industry for 16 years. The bad new is that as an industry it can have a tendency to be an utter bitch-fest. The good news is that it’s becoming far less so.
    Sure I talk about the blogg/blogging/weddings/the wedding industry on Twitter. But more so I spend my time talking to people, getting to know them and generally having a bloody good laugh. And then I turn it off.
    I have no intention of involving myself in some of the obvious big-up fests. It doesn’t mean a thing. If you find yourself tweeting anything in the hope that someone, ANYONE, will think you’re cool or interesting – have a word with yourself.
    And never, ever TRY to be different. That’s just as fake as anything else. The only *real* way to be is just to be. People will like you for who you are and others won’t. There’s no point raking yourself over for it, it’s just a fact of life. And as my Nan used to say – “Thems that can do, thems that can’t spend all their time bitching about thems that can.”
    Be a ‘them that can’.
    xxx

  44. Oh Annabel, I can so relate to this! I am trying to build a business (photography), I have two little girls under 5, so trying to be a full-time mummy and keep a househould,try and promote myself on twitter and FB and I just don’t get time for it all! I just can’t keep up with all the tweets. I want to see my girls grow up and not spend my time infront of the computer tweeting about silly stuff! I know its important but we can’t all keep up! Mentally I am going to wear myself out! If I miss two days tweets, who cares? Its not like somebody is going to miss me? I have my real friends and they have my mobile number! :)

  45. You’ve really touched a personal nerve with this. I am new to the wedding world and trying to get involved in twitter/blogging – I feel completely intimidated by ‘the big names’, it is so refreshing to see one of them appear so real and honest.
    Really love your blog Annabell, it has been a lot of inspiration to me,
    Anna x

  46. Wow some very honest and heartfelt comments coming through! I have loved reading through them all – thanks so much guys. I’ve not been on Twitter half as much today, just as much as I need to and I’ve got so much more done! ;)
    Annabel xXx

  47. Ah, Annabel, thanks for always being a breath of fresh air! I’m another self employed bod and those days where you feel alone are pretty rubbish. Chuck in some hefty, daily hospital treatment and the ‘wonder tweeters’ can really get you down.
    Keep your chin up, keep that dignity you display and enjoy the ride. Just remind me of that in the future, eh?!

  48. Hi Annabel, I discovered your blog not long after getting engaged and drop in a few times a wk for my dose of beautiful weddings. The last week I’ve been laid up at home with a bad back, barely able to move and in considerable pain. Although I have been working from home so had plenty to keep my mind busy, I was amazed at how isolated I felt and how quickly that happened! i usually try and work one day a week from home and really enjoy it so was surprised at how lonely I felt! So on a small level, I feel like I can relate to what you talk about here.
    I wanted to let you know that I found myself dropping into your blog a couple of times a day and your heartfelt postings really cheered me up.
    Keep your chin up lovely lady – you do a cracking job here and it’s lovely to read these posts and get a bit more of an insight into you as well as read about all the lovely weddings you share…
    Vic x

  49. I am also a work-at-home mum (my son actually asked me today why I didn’t go to work like Daddy!) so I do know how difficult it is to work in isolation and how lonely it can be. Fortunately(?) I am not in the position of being so popular that people seek to make unpleasant comments or try to undermine me. I really love the comment about being back at school – it is so true. You cannot choose who follows you and who makes comments when you are online – you are out there for anyone to read and comment in whatever way they choose. In the real world you can decide not to interact with people who are negative, but on here it is not quite so simple.
    But I think that the responses to this post show how many people really enjoy and appreciate what you do Annabel, it is just that we are all busy being real people and don’t necessarily comment as much as we would like to. Maybe the people who make less helpful comments have more time on their hands for a reason……
    It is easy to get sucked in with the “look how busy/popular I am” nature of many posts, because that is a way of using social media to make it look like your services are in demand and if people want you they better just snap you up right away. But so much of it is a front, it is just more difficult to see past it when you’re not seeing that other person sitting in front of their computer thinking exactly the same thoughts you have expressed so eloquently (which is why you are a well known blogger and I am not lol!)
    Enjoy your half term with your kiddies – let them help you to remember what is real and important in your world.
    Hilary

  50. All I can say is, I have nearly cried reading this! It is so comforting to know I am not alone, not the only one that doesn’t feel intimidated by twitter and facebook and who struggles at times working for myself, despite loving it. Thanks Annabel for being so honest x

  51. Great blog – we all need to stay true to who we are – I wonder sometimes if we simply forget to write the kind of nice things that we’d actually say so easily to each other face to face if we met because it feels weird writing them down? I know I often read blogs and think ‘that’s really great’, but don’t put a comment on to say so……. Keep doing what you do – and please organise a tweet up down here too!

  52. Thank you for writing this, it is just what the wedding community needed. I am avoiding twitter all together at the moment because it just ends up making me cross;I’ve been caught out by someone tweeting that I unfollowed them, which I did, because I don’t want my twitter feed clogged up by big headed nonsense. I appreciate that twitter is a self-promotional tool but some people go a step to far. Having said that, I’ve met some really good contacts via Twitter, so as another commenter said, it is a bit of a double edged sword. Well done for being so honest. I’m a big fan of your blog.

  53. Wow, seems a lot of you are sharing my views! I have to say, it felt good to not be strapped to my Twitter feed yesterday through fear I”d miss out on something!! :)
    xXx

  54. What a great, honest post Annabel! I would go as far as to say I often feel like a bad mum to my one year old for being on here too much! I too have taken a step back recently- it swallows up too much time. WEll done for venting it!

  55. You are so right! I recently got very upset reading the tweet of a well respected London planner, and it really knocked my confidence, so much so that I felt like giving it all up, feeling that I didn’t want to be part of an industry where I would have to deal with people like this… But then, looking back, I realised that I should take this as a learning curve… I was simply given a lesson on ‘how not to twitter’, so I vowed to myself that I wouldn’t do the same mistake, and that I would always check and triple check my tweets before posting them to ensure that I don’t offend anyone… and that, as you say, my BLOG matters the most and it is what I should concentrate my time and energies on…
    Thank you for your beautiful posts, Annabel. You are incredibly supportive (despite not knowing any of us personally) and a source of inspiration to so many brides!

  56. Hey Annabel, thanks for speaking up with a very honest post. I’m glad I’m not the only one who feels this way. Sometimes twitter can get a little too much at times. Its important to keep your feet in the real world, with real connections and keep a clear perspective on what you want from these online communities. You’ve got the right attitude, keep following your heart. X.

  57. Perfectly written & I couldn’t agree more with everything you say, which is why I don’t use Twitter much these days.

  58. I really enjoyed reading this post and all the comments.
    My husband and I are about to set up in out own business and feel so isolated and scared at times. I read tweets myself and wonder how people can be so busy, manage and family, have time to party and brag about how wonderful their lives are. This sometimes gets me really down especially when I look at our diary compared to the people who are tweeting about the huge amount of work they have booked.
    I feel there are many cliques on twitter and I try and say hello or generally be nice to just be ignored or a short sarcastic answer. I have too stepped back a little from the networking sites for this very reason. At times when you meet the people who have these wonderful lives they don’t appear to be that wonderful.
    I love your posts Annabel and this one certainly made me smile and agree totally with you. I am so looking forward to your event in August. You truly are a wonderful lady xxx

  59. Thank you for being so open. You should be proud of your very successful and popular website – we all get “down” days – it’s good to allow yourself to have them and then brush yourself off, shake the negatice dust off your wings and sprinkle some more fairy dust for upcoming brides and grooms……

  60. Hey Annabel lovely writing, I feel exactly the same way. I have stopped tweeting so much especially the friday follow thing. I would rather say nice things to the people because I want to.
    I also think it is good to have quality people that follow instead of quantity. I felt EXACTLY the same when you described the feeling of being left out. I felt the whole wedding world was being successful and i was missing out hugely. Not so.
    Tweeting is great and i have met some fabulous people, even made a new best friend who I just love, but you do have to put the whole twitter thing into perspective.
    Good on your for saying what many people feel and I love your journey. We all feel the same. Isolated you can get and also you forget to go outside. somedays I just sit here all day and forget to eat, exercise or anything. Well now I am stopping it, today I ran for the first time and am taking a day off!! Good luck and really enjoy your blog. Would love to come to your soiree but its a bit far for me.

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