Should We Be Honest Online?

I am not dropping any bombs here when I say that often people’s online presence is a manipulated one. I am no exception to that rule. Last week I had some personal problems and I sat in front of my phone trying to decide whether I should just be online and pretend like nothing was happening. I couldn’t do it, but I couldn’t work out why.

I dont tell the internet everything about me so why should it matter that I was present pretending everything was fine? I am guessing a mixture of feeling like representing an ‘always happy’ persona could be a damaging thing to do if there are vulnerable people viewing my content and also I am a very poor actor.

Dress M&S Shoes Kurt Geiger


So I took a step back and the whole time I was kicking myself that I couldn’t just be professional. After all my job is to be present on social media. Did anyone really notice my absence? No. Did it damage my career? Not overly. I am obviously now about to start the algorithm battle as I have been off radar for a while.

The accounts that I would consider the most successful on Instagram are the ones that post consistently. After last week that made me realise these accounts were definitely showing me  a dishonest persona. One that I had not only bought into but rightly or wrongly I had compared myself to. So are they wrong for doing that? Do large accounts on instagram have a responsibility to show that life isn’t perfect or should we all be adult enough to know that is the case anyway? I personally feel like it is the followers responsibility to edit who they follow and if someone isn’t making you feel good about yourself then you should feel comfortable removing that from your timeline.

I wish I had a way of concluding this post but I am so torn between instagram being snippets of peoples lives (real) and instagram being like magazines (curated). I am however going to think more careful about the accounts I do follow. I just want to view images that are inspiring  and who have amazing people behind them too. (is that too much to ask)

I would love to know what you think about this. Should we be honest on social media or is it ok to create an image of ourselves instead?






  1. Verena
    June 12, 2018 / 10:53 am

    I’m so on the fence about this one too! Well written, and I am with you with the confusion.

    I like the real life and I like curated, but maybe the stories and captions are for real life and the posts are curated, I have no idea though!!!!

  2. Caroline
    June 12, 2018 / 10:55 am

    I think you only keep followers if you are honest; personally I find the ‘perfect life’ of some highly irritating!
    I think photos on the grid are generally lovely & positive, but stories should be a reflection of the real person….& good & bad days. Taking a step back is fine, or just hopping on to say having a shit day, but either way you are missed when you go quiet!
    Hope this is a better week x

    • Cara
      June 12, 2018 / 10:58 am

      Thanks lovely. I sometimes feel like people don’t need to hear about my rubbish days though. Everyone has there own!

      • Suzanne
        June 12, 2018 / 11:13 am

        I love to hear honesty! It makes me feel less ‘alone’ if I know someone is experiencing similar ? Hope you’re okay. Xx

        • Cara
          June 12, 2018 / 11:14 am

          I am ok, thank you for asking. x

  3. June 12, 2018 / 10:56 am

    I’ve just posted this in the MumBoss Club – it’s a quote from Oprah Winfrey ‘I had no idea that being your authentic self could make me as rich as I’ve become. If I had, I’d have done it a lot earlier.’
    I think it’s up to you how much of yourself you want to reveal on social media – that’s a question for you and you alone but it seems that the more honest a version of yourself you can present the more success you will have. I’m sure of that. Hope you’re ok now sweets x

    • Cara
      June 12, 2018 / 11:14 am

      Im ok thanks lovely. That is a brilliant quote!

  4. June 12, 2018 / 11:04 am

    Totally get where you are coming from with this. I think people get to know the person behind the blogs the longer they follow, and they respect those who choose to keep personal things private. I know I respect it anyway. For me, I love a bit of human. I’ve never been the best at remaining ‘professional’ but then I think professional and corporate are two different things and you can still have respect as a business (i feel sometimes more) if you have the courage to ‘just do you’. My opinion is perhaps just that though, my opinion on it all. I feel like Instagram is a community rather than a business. Ive started to focus on who can be a real life friend more than anything now, like i would if i met someone at a party and it’s really helped me let go of the images I see. I love a curated feed, but i now like to think of the image as your imagination and the caption your voice. Xxxxx

    • Cara
      June 12, 2018 / 11:14 am

      Maybe thats just it. Stories for real and grid for pretty!

  5. June 12, 2018 / 11:06 am

    Firstly, I hope you are feeling brighter this week? I really do think it is entirely up to you exactly what you share and how much. Why should people have an opinion or think it is ok to voice it or question it? What happened to just scrolling by if we don’t like something or better still unfollowing or muting? I like to think that despite my IG feed being curated and pretty the words are true, my frustrations, sadness, happiness and general persona shine through (nut do we all read the words). I like it that way and no-one will change it. Stories for me is where I show the day to day, only today have I briefly said I feel like I am in a grump. I don’t know why, I just do. And can I just say you look lovely in that dress x

  6. Natalie
    June 12, 2018 / 11:21 am

    Hi Cara
    I have actually started to unfollow people who post their “perfect lives” … I love a pretty photo as much as the next person, but I think we all need to “keep it real”! One of the reasons I love you, and gettingitdone in heels. I think it’s entirely up to you what you do and don’t post, but I for one am fed up seeing the same few accounts constantly posting the same sponsors /ads etc ! I also love Erica Davis … she posts loads of pretty but also is a very honest woman who tells it like it is x and then she posts about pretty ceramics and I for one love her combination of content

    • Cara
      June 12, 2018 / 11:23 am

      Thank you. I love Sally and Erica too. I guess thats because I feel I know them through the use of stories as well. x

  7. Victoria
    June 12, 2018 / 11:32 am

    I vote keep it real ✅

  8. Jacky
    June 12, 2018 / 11:32 am

    I have a lot to say on this but I can’t articulate this through text very well!
    I think that most people understand what Instagram is & what it’s about & don’t expect to see everyone’s rough. Like real life, we have people we share our rough with & people we smile & say we’re fine to.
    I like the way stories have opened it up so it’s more real, but really you can’t expect to know everything about an online persona? Can you?!
    Grid’s are made to be pretty & stories are made to be real, but it’s not life & if you don’t want to share something you don’t have to, that’s allowed!
    I’m not sure if I’ve made sense but I hope you get my drift?!

    • Cara
      June 12, 2018 / 11:33 am

      Absolutely and I completely agree!

  9. Lizzie
    June 12, 2018 / 11:33 am

    Lovely post. So hard to know I agree.
    I think the real reason we don’t always want to share the bad is just that it can seem like a pity plug.
    The battle between trying to inspire and uplift people all the time abd just having a shit day.
    You do it so well.
    I’m often wondering how much to give. Do people care anyway?!
    Keep at it xx

    • Cara
      June 12, 2018 / 11:34 am

      I always think ‘who cares’ but they do and actually sometimes I get the most support from social media. There is always a line and I don’t think everything should be shared x

  10. Georgie
    June 12, 2018 / 11:54 am

    You were definitely missed last week – you are always first in my stories so there was a gaping hole in my instagram. I hope everyone is well.
    It’s a tricky one about honesty – I don’t oersonally tend to take Instagram that seriously. If I don’t like to follow someone or I find them annoying I unfollow. I don’t really get what’s so difficult about that. I do like to know when I’m being sold a product but beyond that don’t expect anything else although I probably only follow ‘long term’ accounts that are more honest.

  11. Samantha
    June 12, 2018 / 12:16 pm

    I think when we follow an account we really get to know the person behind it, their character, some people hold nothing back & share everything, which is ok, but others (I would be like you) keep personal matters private & only share what they feel comfortable, which is ok too. You are under no obligation (as someone with a platform) to share more than you are comfortable with. It doesn’t make you any less ‘real’. As adults we all know what we’re signing up for. People join IG for different reasons & to see a variety of different posts, we can click unfollow at any time. We wouldn’t go into work and share our personal matters with everyone in the office, so why feel the need to here? As long as you stay true to yourself then you’re doing just fine x

  12. Amy Cleveland
    June 12, 2018 / 1:20 pm

    I prefer it real, I mean it doesn’t have to be overly intrusive but generally I’d want a representive overview of what life is actually like for the person, if that makes sense? Maybe keep the squares for pretty wisteria etc and if anything is less glam it goes on stories? I don’t know, but it is off putting when you feel like someone is putting on a front/ giving a false impression.

  13. June 12, 2018 / 1:26 pm

    I don’t think there is a right or wrong answer here, it is completely up to you just how much you share and I don’t think you should be judged either way. I follow a whole range of accounts from achingly ‘perfect’ to toe curlingly ‘imperfect’ and personally, I probably fall somewhere in the middle of those two extremes. I don’t see ‘perfect’ feeds any less real than those that are more warts and all, I just understand that what I’m seeing is a highlight reel rather than the full story. I guess the lesson here is that you can’t please all the people all of the time so you just have to be true to yourself and post what the heck you like!

  14. Claire Anderson
    June 12, 2018 / 1:31 pm

    Personally, I find my favourite blogs tend to a healthy mix of style focus wrapped with honesty – sometimes the honesty can be really powerful, particularly on matters where some of your followers may have familiar issues for example – speaking out definitely has to be your choice as you have your right to privacy, but it can be a wonderful thing. I always think you manage to find an awesome balance! 🙂

    On the flipside… followers should feel comfortable to take control of what they want to see as you say, and if something makes them feel uncomfortable/ unhappy for whatever reason, can unfollow… however I did recently have a rather WEIRD sitch with an blogger… I’m not a big fan of ‘purely mum life’ blogs – I follow lots of awesome mums (yourself obviously included!), but i find some blogs/instagrammers can be at times quite condescending to women without children. One popular Blogger in particular was becoming more and more of a child worship/ uncomfortable smug-fest rather than any real sense of realness and lost its style focus, so I chose to unfollow….. 15 minutes later, they had had gone through my account and liked my last 30 photos!!! I’m sure this is some kind of ‘see who has unfollowed you” app thing people can set up – but still… CREEPY AF. xxx

    • Cara
      June 12, 2018 / 1:34 pm

      Yeah thats not great. I don’t take it personally if someone unfollows Infact I actually think its the best thing. I would rather someone did that than stay around and end up saying something horrible to me. We cant please everyone can we!

  15. M
    June 12, 2018 / 1:52 pm

    Of course keep it real. Seeing all the time those perfect images make people question their own life, compare and feel nothing but disappointment. Recently I come across this quote written by Bill Murray “social media is training us to compare our lives, instead of appreciating everything we are. No wonder why everyone is always depressed” I just think this is so true. Great post Cara x

  16. Fooey
    June 12, 2018 / 2:20 pm

    I love this that this is being discussed, it’s been on my mind a lot too. Real, always real. Not pooey nappy shots or peoples corns and bunyans , there’s weird places you can go if that’s your bag. Just less prettifying, more realifying.. I don’t have ‘a thing’ as such behind my Insta (it’s just me being me) I’ve felt a bit of pressure recently to post almost staged shots, to make it feel perhaps more valid. Last week when I took a photo I tidied the kitchen just to get it to look nice. I stopped, had a stern word with myself, realised I give zero f*#~s and carried on as I was. You’re right – it’s up to your followers to move along if they don’t like it. People know when it’s not real. If they want prettified fake they’ll find that too. No need to be rude to people, just change your feed. Keep doing what you do! 😘

  17. M
    June 12, 2018 / 2:44 pm

    So glad to of read this post. Ig is full of dishonesty. Some people who suffer with ‘anxiety and depression ‘ certainly don’t come across that way in their stories. I suffer with anxiety and depression and I think how can they be so upbeat and slightly erratic at times while banging on how anxious they are. It certainly makes me feel even more shit about myself. I found tho the minute you start talking about these issues people unfollow. It’s a crazy platform and I don’t think I will ever understand it!

  18. Laura
    June 12, 2018 / 3:24 pm

    I’ve virtually dropped off the Insta radar, as far as posting goes. It’s been a real challenge since Christmas. Maybe before that (it’s being life). I didn’t feel I could post cheery stuff when I felt so dead inside. So thanks for the honesty. I for one appreciate it x

  19. June 12, 2018 / 4:15 pm

    I feel like the internet can be a very confusing place exactly because of this complex relationship between reality and show. And even tough I know that Instagram (or any other social platform for that matter) is always a lot shinier and happier than real life. And even people who decide to share the shitty days too, are creating their own image, which can be just as orchestrated as the one of people who only share the glamorous stuff. So I agree with you that it should be the followers who decide what to take as reality and what to considered orchestrated fiction. But that said, I also think that it’s our responsibility as a society (as followers and influencers) to make sure people are aware of that complexity and the danger it brings with it. Because if we never talk about it and if we don’t think about it, we are in danger of wandering into a potentially very toxic environment where we constantly compare ourselves to others… So I think it’s great that you decided to write about it. Even if you don’t have the answer.

  20. Katy
    June 12, 2018 / 5:52 pm

    I think being as honest as is comfortable is probably the right ‘middle’ ground. I’ve done the brave face thing on occasion but having been through what I have this last year thats been impossible to sustain so I sometimes just dip out for a few days if I can’t face the world. Then again, writing about our issues really does help people. It’s a big deal putting yourself out there and baring your soul to the world but the all the messages I’ve had tells me that people really do appreciate just knowing someone else may have experienced or be experiencing something similar. I know I do. I don’t think anyone could ever say you’re not being honest or real – most of the most honest and real posts come from you! 😉 xx

  21. June 12, 2018 / 6:39 pm

    I think you’ll always be a mixture of both. Some days you’ll feel a sense of duty or the want to appear a certain version of yourself, because that creative and people pleasing persona is part of you, despite that only being some of the time. If you can bring yourself to accept the fact that often you will work harder at that perfect shot/lighting/ad blog post etc online, and other times you will show a more ‘this is the day and thats the fact’ then you’ll find your always being honest with yourself and this will show with the people that follow you. It’s a bit like the date nights you really want to dress up for or the school run (glammed wife/chic mum style VS. i want to eat food/get the kids to school on time and don’t give a shit looks).

    I’m sure you already follow her but Clemmie Hooper shows a nice touch of ‘dress it up and down’ vibe online. Her perfect looking grid isn’t created by the same hue tones of her photos which I feel is partly the reason people feel the need to post happy type posts because they reflect the colours in their pictures – but then it also depends on what you want to get out of it. If running a buisness is purely your outcome then there’s nothing wrong with that but if you want to enjoy it for yourself too then being honest and caring a little less I think is best way of achieving that (but i’m just a reader that enjoys your blog so…. haha)

  22. Joanne
    June 12, 2018 / 7:50 pm

    Hey Cara, I hope your ok?
    I get a lot of enjoyment from your pretty pictures, but most importantly your stories. They are extremely personable, it’s like checking in with a good pal. Your picture content of lifestyle, home & my favourite fashion is an inspiration to me. I’m in no way an expert on insta matters, I have family and a few friends following my account & don’t normally comment, my bad, maybe I feel like a wee stalker. I feel for you and the other insta ladies seeking out “the balance” It’s an tough gig connecting with the insta crowd, but your made for this.
    “The oldest I have ever been” just cracked me up 😂😂😂

    Big hugs

  23. Pamela
    June 12, 2018 / 9:41 pm

    I think that’s just it, Stories for real and grid for pretty. I tend to view the grid as art because it’s photography and I view photography as a form of art, capturing fleeting moments through the lens. Stories are great to let personality shine through and show the rawness behind the grid and I know this might get lost in the other comments but I did notice you’re absence! Glad you are back and hope this week is better 🙂

  24. Lorraine Smith
    June 14, 2018 / 7:35 pm

    I think honesty is the right way to go. It keeps it real and stops the comparison problem and people thinking your life is perfect and theirs isn’t. I am all for a cheerful happy face and attitude. I am sure not everyone wants to hear that you are having a bad day. But I think the majority will prefer your honesty. As long as it’s not always all negative and people don’t see a woe is me account. I think it would be a good balance. I would much prefer honesty. Plus it’s good for you too. You may get support/answers to your problem.
    Lorraine xx

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