• Abbie Tibbott

Friday Special: Social Media and my Plans for the Future

Updated: Dec 6, 2021


I’ve been blogging for just over a year now, how time flies! This Friday Special I wanted to talk about my year of blogging, Instagram and social media, and where I hope to take it in the future. I’d like to say a massive thank you to all those who use my website. I’ve had some lovely feedback and comments from Instagram and Twitter DMs, and I reply to everything. I’m glad that I’ve had some input into some of you writing your own blogs too, and I’ve really enjoyed being on Instagram.


 

As a teenager in the 2010s, social media was just something we all had, but I’d never ventured into creating a platform for a specific purpose before. Instagram seemed the obvious choice as it’s free, and I’ve been with the app since I was fifteen. My Twitter is more academia/rant about things-based, but some of you have found me on there, so I don’t mind it being connected to my blog site. The website you’re reading this post on is an entirely different matter, as I have little experience with web design or content creation in a blog form on the scale that I do it now. I’d blogged a bit for work, but nothing where I actually had a domain name or fully controlled what got posted and what didn’t.


I’ve been careful to curate a community on Instagram which relates to the content that I post, and sometimes that requires a bit of filtering. There’s plenty of bots and spam accounts on the platform, and I’m still inundated with message requests that are trying to sell me something or want me to join a growth chain. The gains and growth of my platform, for me, have to be natural, so I can’t say that I’ve ever entertained the idea of artificially manufacturing my presence online. With the #studygram community there’s also a lot of irregularity to it, as posting consistently and cultivating a following that will (hopefully) make you an income is not easy, and lots of people give up. I’m not in it for the money right now, as I’m not naïve enough to assume that social media income streams are reliable enough to support me fully. However, I have no funding (at time of writing), so being able to take home some cash would be more than ideal, however random it is!


I’ve considered expanding to YouTube, the main barrier being editing abilities and equipment costs. I know you can buy stuff second hand, but it’s still an expense to someone who is studying without a loan or stipend. If I found good funding, it’s something I’d definitely make moves towards, although I know the platform is notoriously hard to grow on. Working with my department or the university on something filmed may be a way to get around this, and help to visually establish me to a wider audience. At the end of the day, everything is posted from my phone and laptop; I don’t do anything “live”, but it’s something to think about regardless.


Writing blogs over the past year has been a great escape from lockdowns and my MA dissertation that I was working on around a year ago. I felt like I needed to channel my love of writing into something that wasn’t strictly academic, as writing my dissertation was burning me out, and I was worried I would lose my enthusiasm for it. Blogging has definitely helped, and I tweak my website regularly to keep things interesting for me. I’ve written a whole post about how I started my blog, as well as answered some questions, so I’ll link those posts at the bottom of this one.


There have only been a few times where I’ve struggled with the commitment of posting six times a month, and those were related to when I was extremely busy. I sometimes bulk-write my content, meaning I’ll plan and write several blogs, editing and scheduling them at a date closer to their scheduled publication day. This takes the pressure away when I know I’ve got a busy patch coming up, and means I can still commit to a regular timetable. I’d like my future career to involve social media in some form, so getting these skills developed now can only help future me in whatever she decides to do. This September I took a couple of weeks away from blogging and Instagram, and it felt odd to not have the commitment anymore. It was mainly so I could move back to Reading and get settled into my PhD, so there wasn’t any guilt associated with it.


For the future, I’d like to use this website and my social media to continue building my “brand”, and to ultimately serve as an online, open access portfolio of my writing and interests. I’ve been met by so many paywalls when trying to access quality advice, and my mission was to create a site which could be used by people who identify with me, even if it’s only a little bit. Sharing some of the things that I’ve struggled with is my way of saying that it’s okay not to have a “prospectus-worthy” university experience. As a working class student, I still think it’s really important to keep open conversations about finance and funding, as it’s something that universities seem to gloss over. If you’re considering a university education, money is a massive factor, so getting to read a variety of experiences can help you to get a better picture of whether university is the right choice for you.

As well as writing my own content, I would like to start introducing the occasional post from someone else, chatting about their student experience. These people won’t be just from history, and I think it would be valuable to share other perspectives. I haven’t got around to actually sorting anything out yet, so for now it’s just an idea that I’m brainstorming. I’ll let you know if there are any developments, and I might be asking you for your stories soon!


As for Instagram, I’m looking at keeping my content relatively similar, with the aim of posting four or five times a week. Especially as I’m back for my PhD, I’ve been enjoying sharing my life on campus, and hope to do some collaborations with other people soon, perhaps even the social media teams at my university. It’s all part of the bigger plan of making myself as employable as possible, so I’ll see you there in the near future.


 

Finally, I’d like to say another massive thank you to everyone that engages with my content. My Instagram is a lovely place to be, and I’m excited to build on my work as I go through my PhD. If you’re not already part of the family, you can find me @tibbotttalks_study on Instagram, and abbie_tibbott on Twitter.


Happy studying!