Thursday, 15 January 2015

No New Stories

I’ve become a bit of an Instagram fiend in recent months (shameless promo! Hey, like books, trinkets, records and the odd selfie? Come, follow me). Blame it on the weight of work I’ve had to do. I have this weird inverse correlation with social media where, at times, the amount of deadlines I have becomes proportional to the number of tweets/ posts/ images I also post online. Not always. I’ve been trying to crack down recently. But still the desire to capture and publicise very small snippets of each day has certainly become more compulsive than it used to be…

There’s one knock-on effect that I would never have envisaged though. Since more and more of my ‘real life’ friends have begun following me on various platforms, (and vice versa), occasionally I’ll begin an anecdote, only for them to say “yeah, already seen/ heard about it on [insert form of social media here].” 

Case in point. I caught up with a wonderful mate over the Christmas holidays. We hadn’t seen each other in a while. We were browsing a vintage shop together, and I made an off-hand remark about having recently bought a blue, velvet cape (the one pictured in this post). Her response? “Yes, saw it on your Instagram! I was discussing it with someone else. We’re both envious.”

It happened again the other day. I was with a close friend in a café, wearing a yellow kilt. I quipped that I always wore it the wrong way around, because I preferred the pleats at the front. Her response was short. “I know. You wrote about it on your blog.” We both laughed at the slight bizarreness of an observation like that even being possible…

And those are just the clothes-related incidents. It’s slightly more frustrating when you’re burning to tell someone a particularly amusing tale, but your own desire to get it up on social media first foils the fun of the anecdote.

Yet it’s kind of fabulous at times too, the obvious pleasure being that we get to share and talk about things with a much wider group of people, who we wouldn’t otherwise know or interact with. It’s another space for discussing thoughts and films and food and essays and, well, silk pyjamas.

Naturally, for every story or snap that goes up online, there are also plenty more I reserve for a select few people – hilarious or interesting instances that are perfect to share with a close circle, but certainly not the internet at large.

However, there are occasional unexpected results – like when the online leads to marvelous offline moments. A while back, I wrote a post on my favourite cafes and cocktail bars in Oxford. Among their number was Turl Street Kitchen (somewhere I still spend way too much time/ money, but you know, they play Kate Bush and the Velvet Underground occasionally, and you could stay there from breakfast to after-dinner drinks if you were particularly keen…)

At the end of last term I left the library for a much-needed break, and, as I was queuing in TSK, caught a glimpse of a face that looked slightly familiar. I looked away, looked back again, and found that same person now glancing at me with an equally quizzical expression. So I went over and said, “Umm, hi. Do we know each other through Twitter?" And indeed we did! We had a brief chat, and I asked what he was doing in Oxford (he was on holiday) and how he’d ended up in Turl Street Kitchen.

His response? “Well, partly to do with your recommendation.” Yes, really.

Turns out that he and his girlfriend had taken some inspiration from that post of mine on places for damn good coffee. Then, with the best timing possible, his girlfriend appeared, saw me, and fished in her bag – pulling out a printout of that same blog post! The moment of meeting a stranger and her unfolding my words and images out her bag was… really quite something. I spent the rest of the day walking around with a pretty big grin, and telling far too many of my friends about the delightful coincidence that had just happened.

Just one small story that wouldn't exist without the wonders of online life. So, I think I’m ok with certain revelations/ purchases/ experiences/ observations of mine already being old news to some friends. Besides, we all repeat ourselves and I’m not quite as bad as my dad with multiple retellings of stories from the past (although perhaps that comes to all of us eventually…)

I actually realised after shooting this outfit that all the main parts of have appeared on Instagram over the last two months - the charity shop cape here, the dress (a gift from my fairy godmother) here, and the ASOS velvet boots here. All accessories are vintage. 


Elizabeth Sellers said...

At first it used to freak me out when my friends and family already knew what I had been up to before I had the chance to tell them about it all. But now I love that I can share with people in a myriad of different ways.

Hannah McManus said...

I love how intense the colours are in those photos! And this is such an interesting piece, it really is strange how wide reaching social media is and it's great we can connect with so many people. I was flicking through some old Vogue's the other day and came across the piece you wrote for them about your spine condition (which is brilliant by the way). It's strange to think that when I first read that a few years ago I didn't know much about blogs etc and now here I am leaving a comment to you!
Hannah x

Holly Rose said...

I love all the different social media platforms, and it is strange when your parents or other family members are like "oh yes I did read something about that!" Such an incredible world we live in! Great post and love the look! x


Vix said...

It never fails to surprise me when random strangers approach me and know loads about me. I was in the Indian Embassy before Xmas and a lady told me she was only going to Goa as she'd read about it on my blog! Freaky!
Loving that cape and those incredible blue skies. xxx

Closet Fashionista said...

That cape is so amazing!! And yep, it's funny how our lives become intertwined with social media like that.
So cool that the couple used your article for inspiration and that you actually ran into them while they were there! :D

Jean at said...

Ahhh!! I've been thinking about this. IG IS wonderful, especially for those of us who are time shy. It doesn't have the richness of blogging, however. So perhaps it doesn't matter who saw the gorgeous velvet cape first. I might have a deeper appreciation for it because I saw it here. Then again, the quick glimpse feeds the hunger for aesthetic input, which then translates into inspired dressing. I'll take both.

I also appreciate the "synchronicity" of connection that social media provides. I'll take a miracle in any form. Glad you had a fun connection!!

rida k said...

Perhaps it would interest you to know that I too thought of looking up your blog posts about Oxford when I was in Oxford for interviews last week. Unfortunately, I had not taken along my laptop, so I couldn't look up your posts, only brainstorm and try and recall what I'd read months and months ago! xx

Abigail ~ said...

Oh it's been too long since i've visited this wonderful space. forgive me.
oh my goodness, what you wrote is just so perfect. though, being shy and sometimes timid i usually let others tell me what they have to say without bursting their bubble so to speak. like, you can tell if someone is excited to talk about something, and i guess i just like to let them talk. i'm just now experiencing this though, having just discovered instagram around christmas. it is quite a bit of fun, no?


How wonderful! It's always nice when you can inspire someone anywhere in the world and even more of a treat when it's through your blog, an extension of who you are. I'm always so shocked when someone offline notices me from my social channels. One recent lady told me she got into home decor through one of my posts. The cape is dashing, I'm sure it feel like a comfy lush pillow to wear. Gorgeous photos! x/Madison

Rebecca Harasym said...

That is so cool that she had the print out from the same blog post! The amazing power of social media! Love your gorgeous outfit! Your cape and dress are beautiful!


Lola Byatt said...

ahh that is such a wonderful story! definitely one to keep you smiling :) I do love that I have been able to interact with people of similar interests through various social media mediums but I definitely have the whole deadline stroke increase in usage of social media thing going on too. i do often pull out the cons of social media sites--how many more do we need before i'm eternally confined to the inside of my room, clutched to my phone knowing far too much information about too many strangers but not actually "knowing" them but there are many brilliant things to have been achieved from them too. I was thinking about how many wordwide events have received so much attention over here because of social media sites. Loved this post! x

Lola Byatt said...

p.s. i absolutely LOVE that cape on you. First viewing for me xxx

Ivana Split said...

I still yet to experience that as I don't think that any of my friends or people that I really know read my blog.

I'm still not sure myself whether this need to share everything virtually is good or bad. It has it perks and sometimes it seems it really connects us wonderfully...I guess it all depends on us in the end, about how we use it ( what a cheesy overused line but I've got nothing else)

Majestically beautiful photographs and look...very feminine and romantic combo and naturally I love the vintage accessories!

Lally said...

First of all; AMAZING cape. I must of missed it on instagram as I don't remember seeing it (and I'm sure that I would!)

That is a very cool story! I love those kind of funny occurrences. I like that there are a few people I have on various social media that I've known vaguely in reality, got to know better on social media and am now friends with in reality. It's sometimes useful in getting through those awkward in between acquaintance and friend phases.

Equally I love that it opens up whole groups of people that I would never had the pleasure of meeting due to location.


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