HT Brunch Cover Story: Thick-skinned, but happy!
The only armour against trolling is to quickly develop a thick skin and escape the illusion that any influencer is indispensable—including you.
If you are absent for a few days, you will quickly be replaced because there is no shortage of content or creators. Log do din baat karenge, and then they will follow someone else. Even algorithms work this way. YouTube for instance, will stop recommending you if you are inactive for a while. This is how social media works, and this is why mental health is so easily affected.
Another thing that affects mental health is that in our attempt to push creativity over a 9-5 job, we forget we have to churn content 24/7. In February 2019, I had overworked myself so much that I was forcing content. So I took some time off, but before doing so, I shared a story on Instagram with my audience telling them not to expect content from me for a month. I do this when jab koi dil ki baat bolna chahta hoon. It was important to do so because I didn’t want to take my audience for granted, but I also needed the time off to rejuvenate.
On social media we have set up a kind of base to function from, which dictates that if you have X number of likes or followers, you are worth something. This allows people to make it big in three months or even two days. But as a content creator offering his or her craft to audiences to watch and enjoy, you have to think of the long run. The long run requires you to be thick-skinned. It requires you to let go of baseless comparisons that will never stop. You need to believe in what you do and you need to polish your craft continuously. Without this faith in yourself and attention to your work, if you seek validation on social media, your mental health will take a hit.
Even I cry sometimes when I feel attacked by trolls. But I soon realise that I am allowing myself to be negatively affected by the callous words of a few people when instead I should be focused on the hundreds who love my work.
Bhuvan Bam is a comedian and actor, and one of the foremost social media stars today.
(As told to Aashmita Nayar)
From HT Brunch, October 10, 2021
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