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6/14/13Let’s talk about exclusivity


So, the other day I mentioned that some friends of mine were having a party, and that I found out through my instagram feed that I wasn’t invited.  The issue seemed to resonate with a lot of readers so I thought it was worth revisiting. Today, I’d like to talk about exclusivity.
I think everyone can relate to the shitty feeling of being excluded. It brings back childhood memories for me–my younger brother and older sister were really close and sometimes I felt like the odd one out. I think in families where there are three children it’s easy for two of the kids to pair up and leave the third one hanging. Then of course there’s high school where exclusive cliques are about as ubiquitous as crazy teachers with tenure.  I remember very well moments where I was included and excluded by the cool kids clique and what that felt like. Both experiences came with feelings of superiority and inferiority.  When I was excluded I assumed a ‘so what I’m better than them’ attitude as a defense mechanism, and when I was included I felt guilty, somehow inauthentic but also all of the sudden I did feel cooler (in a kind of a dirty way).

As an adult one would hope to have overcome these childish issues. I mean, I think we all have more important things to think about than who invited whom to what. But these days (and social media plays a huge part in this) so much of my work is dependent on this popularity contest and how one manages being exclusive vs. inclusive. On a daily basis I have people asking me “How many friends” I have on facebook…”how many followers I have” here or there.  My popularity is intimately tied to my professional success. Oy.

Have you experienced being on Twitter and tweeting at someone once, twice, maybe three times–and not getting a response? Well I have. I tend to give up after the third try and write that person off as someone that, apparently, I’m not cool enough to talk to. It makes me feel pretty shitty for a few minutes and then I get over it. Because I don’t like how it feels when people don’t respond to me, I try not to do that to others. And if I am in a rush or something, I’ll at least “favorite” the tweet–so the person at least gets I little “I hear ya.” I mean, it’s not that hard. What makes one stranger worth responding to and another not? The amount of ‘followers’ that person has? Does that make them a more interesting conversationalist or a more likely future friend or colleague? I don’t think so. And it’s not about someone having ‘too many followers’ to respond–look at Will Taylor from Bright Bazaar. He’s got a bajillion followers on every platform but always manages to respond to people in a chill, sweet, humble-ass way. You gotta love him for that.

Then there are the all-illusive conferences, summits, events, ‘camps’ etc. where it seems the same ten people are invited to speak every year.  I find myself asking what types of ‘lines’ the exclusivity is falls on–are they just all friends? do they care only about numbers? are they (gasp) racists? Then if I ever do get invited to any of these all-illusive conferences, summits, events, ‘camps’ etc. I get that same awkward high-school feeling of feeling guilty, inauthentic and, yes, I sometimes fall into the trap of feeling just a little bit cooler than everyone else. In other words, I become a perpetrator of the exclusivity paradigm–and I don’t like it, not one bit.  I see these events flaunted on Instagram and comment after comment on these posts are “aww that looks like so much fun, how can I get invited to one of these events?” And no one responds. And it gets to a point where it seems like what is being shared is done, not for the purpose of inspiring others or spreading beauty, but for the purpose of making others jealous and making others feel excluded. Wtf? Have you noticed this, or felt this way, too?

It’s strange and paradoxical how this new world of “sharing,” (sharing thoughts, images, tastes, works, creativity, ideas) is somehow fostering a new kind of exclusivity–people feel comfortable taking snootiness to a whole new level on social media. It’s not like in real life my friends would have felt comfortable saying to my face ‘oh, we’re going to have an incredible party and you’re not invited’ but that is what they’re doing implicitly by sharing on social, when they know I will see it.

I admit that it is very easy to get seduced by the cool kids and that it *does* feel good to get invited to ‘exclusive’ parties, events etc.–but the problem with exclusivity is that if you were included that means that someone else has been inherently left out–and it sucks. What are your thoughts on exclusivity in the social-media age? Does this sh*t feel like high school to you too sometimes? Have you found yourself feeling excluded by people you don’t even know on social media? How do you manage your own inclusivity vs. exclusivity? What do you think we as bloggers can do to make sure that sharing is about including people in our life, and not excluding people from it? I am so curious to hear your thoughts on this. I’d like to end today’s post with an apology to you all if I ever did make you feel excluded in any way–my intentions here are to make you feel included, my goal is to connect with you all in an authentic, inclusive way. I want this blog (and the extensions of it–my twitter, pinterest, instagram etc. ) to feel like a group hug (a really pretty, colorful, well-designed group hug :P). I hope you can feel my warm embrace as I wish you a kick-ass weekend.

Justina Blakeney Justina Blakeney

Designer, artist, stylist & mama. Founder and CCO at The Jungalow. Crazy for color, pattern and plants!

57 responses to “Let’s talk about exclusivity”

  1. debra says:

    Justine, on too many occasions I have found myself wondering, worrying and caring to much about the social media frenzy. At times it’s taken my focus away from my children and I feel SO badly about it. I take breaks from it all but only to return because I do enjoy the blogging but one doesn’t necessary exist without the other. Staying balanced in this new world of virtual relationships is challenging. Thanks for voicing your feelings about it and know that everything you are doing is just right, like a big hug! There’s difference in your voice.

  2. Rose Catron says:

    Thanks for this post Justina – I really like it. It’s hard to just be true to yourself, in creating and in friendships, and say, “This is who I am! I hope you like it, and if not, I’m gonna’ move on.” I had a similar problem a couple of years ago where I was suddenly cut off from some friends I had been seeing a lot. I live in a small town so I knew they were all still hanging out, and I was kind of like, what happened? Why am I not invited anymore? It really hurt my feelings for a time, and I still wonder what I did to ruin that friendship. But after a while I realized what anyone in this situation realizes – I only want to be friends with people who value me, who communicate if there is a problem, and who give as much as I do. The same goes professionally – hopefully your work relationships are tit for tat and you have a good, reciprocal relationship with people, right?

  3. Christie says:

    Wonderful post!

  4. Molly Berry says:

    Justina, I love everything about what you are doing in your career and your professional life as it inevitably rolls over into “the personal” so often. What makes you so amazing at “it” is that you are constantly aware of HOW you are evolving and you’re sincerely honest about it. I NEVER feel “left out” when I read your blog, or when I look at your photos, but rather, constantly inspired and encouraged. Yes, maybe I wish I could just ride around in your handbag as you explore little pockets of the world, but it’s in a way that still makes me want to be ME and not you. If anything, you make things feel achievable and fun, not exclusive or out of reach. I never feel inferior when I check out your social media work, I feel pleasantly determined to continue my own creative process.

    Do you remember any kids from high school that always seemed to manage a way out of the whole viscious clique trap? Or the ones who were friends with everyone because they didn’t necessarily bend towards the trend or the fads? Or kids that now, looking back and remembering how they were THEN may not have been what was deemed “cool” but really WAS cool because they were unique, individual, and, inwardly self-conscious or not, stuck to their guns about being real?
    Yes, social media is a popularity contest in the sense that its fundamentally about numbers…that is extremely annoying and very easy to get caught up in. But, by being introspective, thoughtful, verbal and honest, you are expressing a forethought that shows you will be long lasting in what you do. Those who are not authentic will not transfer that delicious and contagious “je ne sais quoi” that you do, and I can only imagine that their flames will burn out, their numbers will dwindle, people will jump on a new band wagon. I’m not implying I want that for anyone, but it just seems to be the way it always happens.
    From where I stand you seem to be embracing a beautiful balance – you are kind, creative, vulnerable, quirky, and you speak with a legitametly REAL voice and you write and invite with an open door policy.. People “follow” you for that.
    Thanks for helping me to remember to continue my process along this path in a happy, light-hearted, genuine way…and thanks for the hug:)

    • Justina Blakeney says:

      amen to the whole light-hearted idea. Sometimes I let things get to me more deeply than they ought to. You are wise, Ms. Molly, very wise.

  5. vv says:

    i simply wished to say that this post brought me back to when i first met you, or rather, to our interaction over the days that followed. i remember learning very quickly how you’re the type of individual with a genuine interest in people, arms open wide & unprejudiced. you are so good about making sure people feel accepted for who they are & included in what you do. when you first said “see you around the neighborhood,” i appreciate how you truly meant it.

    thank you for sharing your thoughts, j <3

  6. annton says:

    justina, you always respond in a warm and very welcoming way, and even more, it doesn’t feel artificial. at all. I always have tried the same, probably not always sucessful, but when I dig something, I’ll show it. if someone asks me a question, I will respond. showing the respect, I like to be shown for myself. I don’t know if I have mentioned this before, but I walk this life on crutches. sometimes using a wheelchair in the studio. over the years, there have been as many moments of being included, being the cool one, as much as the times when I was left aside. this has made me not only strong, but also quite aware about what people can do to others by excluding them. no one deserves this, and though we cannot be loved by everyone or love everybody back, we can at least show respect. face to face or in the wild, wild world of social media.

    • Justina Blakeney says:

      You also always are warm and very genuine in our exchanges. I’ve enjoyed them very much. and yes! it’s all about the RESPECT!!

  7. Emily says:

    In my experience some people (from public or private life), brands, etc. gain power from inclusiveness and building community and others gain it from exclusiveness. There is a certain appeal to exclusivity because it can make you feel special, almost like dating an asshole. But it’s always kind of toxic. Sometimes, life on & off internet can feel like kind of a cold place, even on “social” sites, so it is extra special when you find a community where you feel like you belong.

  8. melanie says:

    In my experience,fitting in means doing whatever it takes to fit in meaning your morals and integrity can be compromised sometimes which is not an option for me.Always be who you really are and hopefully find friends that truly accept you.Your blog is a beautiful place.

  9. No Thanks says:

    This post is really hard for me to read. From you. On one hand I really appreciate this post because I have felt that way before. But on the other hand you have made me feel that way. I wrote you an email, it was friendly and (I thought) was nice of me to send you some particular information. Did you write me back? No. It hurt, it pissed me off, and then I thought about it more and realized I don’t write bloggers often maybe they don’t usually write back, she’s a really busy person maybe that’s why, and maybe my email went to her spam folder! And then I read this post. I’m really bummed and turned off.
    Sorry, I really don’t mean to be offensive, but I want to be honest and maybe it ends up being offensive.
    It’s also really hard for me to read this coming from someone that DOES have over a million followers on Pinterest.
    I may be a little bit of a hypocrite right now too because I’m bummed that I didn’t get a response from you, yet I find myself annoyed that you expect responses from others and/or let it affect you to the point of writing a giant six-paragraph post about it.

    • Justina Blakeney says:

      Hey there No thanks,
      Thanks for your honesty and candor–Admittedly, sometimes emails do get backed up and I don’t get to them as quickly as I’d like–but I do get to them–even if it’s a week after the email comes in. And if your email did get lost in my inbox, I can assure you it has more to do with my messy brain/lack of organization than anything personal and/or purposefully exclusive. Being better about my inbox is something that I’m working on though!

  10. melina says:

    um, I must say I find it hilarious that you, who is maybe the most popular woman on the web besides tavi, would struggle with this issue considering the amount of times I’ve wondered why I can’t make my life be more like yours. Just goes to show, no matter how cool you may be, eventually you’ll be left out of something for whatever arbitrary reason

    • Justina Blakeney says:

      well i dunno about all that…but what’s true here is yes, everyone gets excluded sometimes, and no matter who you are it feels shitty :-/

  11. Please hear me! I want to tell you to unplug!! I love coming to your blog to be inspired by your amazing creativity. I hate that you feel compelled to ask these questions and think about this shit. I want to tell you that none of this matters. What MATTERS is your beautiful son, your family, the ART that you create and share. Ignore the rest and focus on what you love. Share the joy of creating beauty in the world. “They” don’t matter. You will attract good things that will take you where you want to be. Please believe this. I’m one of those old folks that have learned through experience. (Yeah, I’ll claim it at 60!) Sorry if I sound a little crazy but I hate to see you spinning off on this bullshit. You are on the right path, the perfect path, for Justina.

    Sending much Love and Light, Jean XXOO

    • Justina Blakeney says:

      I’m hearing you and taking this in. I think you are very correct. Thank you and sending love and light back to you…

      • Thanks for your gracious reply! It was late and I was venting. I realize I have the luxury of not having to deal with a lot of social media. Clearly your post resonated with many people. I just felt bad for all the “outsiders” and just like high school, I was ready to fight. I mean, how dare they hurt your feelings, you know?!! :-)

  12. heather l says:

    hi! i think it’s awesome you’re writing about this. and btw after Will of Bright.Bazaar responded to a tweet of uncovet’s my respect meter went waaaay up for him. not sure why people don’t respond or don’t invite, it’s beyond douche. have a great weekend Justina! x heather

  13. Malia says:

    Wow. Yes. This is totally how I feel about so many of these event recap pics and the like. It’s another reason that I try (not especially successfully) to stay off Facebook and certain blogs late at night–tiredness always brings forth or exacerbates that feeling of being excluded from X’s party or things that can only be done in a certain city or country (not mine) or that my life is less exciting that that person’s. While I love gaining new inspiration from things people are doing, it does take more patience than I’m capable of sometimes… Thank you for bringing up this topic–I’ve been waiting for someone to do it for a long time.

  14. Nan says:

    So much on the Internet and in social media exists only in our heads – it’s not a facsimile for real life, it’s some kind of
    quantum reality – things are far more random and much less should be taken personally because of that. Sometimes things work as they should – the e-mail gets replied to – the answer is positive, the connection is made. Other times, it’s like an evil daemon has gotten into your laptop, am I right? The WORST sequence of things can suddenly occur and seem personally aimed at ruining your equilibrium, your self-esteem or life. Have you ever had a malware attack where 90 nasty vile pop-up windows blast your screen one after another? Maybe that’s old school — but — the Internet does have dark and light energy, which is a reflection of what we’re made of ourselves. There are bad things out there — and thoughtless/rude people — but there are also our own choices about how to respond to what we’re faced with. The truth about human behavior is that every person would behave well towards others IF THEY COULD – are we going to hate others for being what we ourselves are, which is human and not perfect? I’m going to be brave and post this — I love your blog, Justina!

    • Justina Blakeney says:

      So true about the internet having a dark and light energy–just like us. very poetic and very true. Thanks for these words, Nan.

  15. Tammy Cody says:

    Yes. Yes. Yes. This post made my night. I’m going to bookmark this, I’m sure I’ll need to come back and read it again when I’m feeling excluded.

  16. Goldammer says:

    I don’t believe in total inclusivity. I think it is like the paradoxon between your own freedom and the limits of others. Or the other way around.

    I think you should consider including everyone who comes along AND your own limits. If you have a group of friends you are really comfortable with and along comes someone you don’t really like for whatever reason: what do you do? Listen to your guilty feelings and include this person or exclude this person because the good group dynamics might be disturbed?

    It’s true, it sucks to be left out. But, maybe it’s not about excluding you, maybe it’s about including the boundaries of the already established group. Sometimes it makes your life richer to include new aspects, but sometimes it makes your life deeper to concentrate on what you already have and work on that exclusively.

  17. susan says:

    I had just tweeted yesterday that twitter feels like high school at times…how timely! Thank you for this post. xo

  18. susan says:

    I should elaborate (sorry babies were waking before)…yesterday a group of my friends were tweeting about a party very openly (and rudely in my opinion) that I wasn’t invited to. I was tweeting and online so they knew I was “there”…but did not even address me. It took me back to a bad place like you mentioned…so you are not alone. It’s an etiquette issue as well…it’s just plain rude. DM each other or email, text, call.

    So true about Will—and many others in his place who take the time to respond to everyone. Like YOU xo

  19. Francis says:

    Justine, I had been following you for a while. I don’t frequently comment but I have to this week. If I had ever felt excluded?! Many times… I was never one of the cool kids (social class I guess), I am also a middle child ( my brother and sister were closer and I didn’t have much of the right of word). I left my birth country when I was young and started over. It was hard! I had lived in 4 different countries and since I’d moved to US I had felt the most excluded ever. I have a shop at Etsy, a blog, a twitter, a FB page (not a profile as I got tired of hearing bla bla bla from people that have no idea how they have it easy) and all that come down to exclusivity and the lack of responses to me reaching out and trying to build my business here. It is quite discouraging truly. I used to do well until I moved to the US… I really found hard to keep the conversation going when people seems to not find “me” interesting enough to be their “friend”. I don’t want to be nagging but social media has killed the ability of people to interact to each other and a mean of been mean to each other. As your “friends” were to you… Well, I don’t think they are really your friends, if you get what I mean… That all said, and I could go on for ages on this subject and social media BS, I am a part of your big hug group! :-)

  20. Kiku Vintage says:

    This post is so relevant in our lives that feature social media so prominently. I think there needs to be more awareness about etiquette in social media use. Sometimes it is not possible to invite everyone to an event, but the polite thing is to avoid discussing the event in front of those who could not be invited, or at least to preface it with a “I wish we had the space to invite more people; it was so hard to restrict the guest list this time…” There is no reason to throw out etiquette when the discussion moves to social media. Social media allows numerous people to be reached, so the need for etiquette and consideration for others is greater than ever.

  21. Nancy Carr says:

    You are so unique and beautiful that you cannot be put in a category. A quote I believe is from Maya Angelou saying that people show you who they are — believe them. I did not put this in quotes because I am not sure it is completely accurate in the wording. I learned also that when something like this happens it tells us more about that person/group than it says about you/me/us. Love you!

  22. dear justina.just reading you with great interrest.
    (spontane message in danish/english)

    once we (man & me ) wasn´t invited,but them i gave it a second thougth and found that i actually was the one who first excluded her from my life. ..?

    appart from that i was very happy meeting you in cph.,so great,you are a ever so nice person and what a fine guide you have made for us .that mean´s a lot. thank´s.

    in this multy exposed media world,with privacy long gone and everybody working so hard on personal branding,i made my self this map, for my modest contribution :
    no.1: have some self irony,we are very small and only her for a while,get the best out of it.
    no. 2:try to keep focus ( hard )
    no.3 : be gennerous,friendly and loving towards every human being,also the difficult ones. ( ps i´m not a buddist )
    no.4 : when your stuff are for free download out there,you have to be ahead and create the news.
    no.5 : most important try to get away from it all in betwen.

    as i said it was so nice meeting you.keep up your impressive work,as i know you will,,take care of you-man and ida.love leise

  23. Casey says:

    Long-time reader, first-time caller.

    My question is: why does everyone have to be included all the time? I am very sensitive to being inclusive, and never want anyone to feel left out, but sometimes you just want to hang out with a subset of your friends. The dynamic is different with different people and it’s nice to just pick a few friends and hang out with them. Does it mean someone doesn’t like you if they don’t want to hang out with you? I don’t think so. I have different moods and want to hang out with different people, and I think it’s the same way for a lot of people.

    I’ve thought on this topic a lot in the past, because I felt very excluded in high school and was still very sensitive to perceived exclusion in college. However, my epiphany that I didn’t want to hang out with all of my friends at once all of the time was very helpful in freeing me from feeling excluded when I wasn’t actively included in something. Which brings me to my final question: when you aren’t included in something, does that mean that you were excluded? I tend to think not. It’s not really a binary choice.

    • Justina Blakeney says:

      Hi Casey! Thanks for chiming in. I liked reading your comment and hearing your perspective because it made me think. I agree that sometimes it’s nice to do things with certain people and the need to include everyone can sometimes be annoying. I think you’re right about it not being binary, and after giving it some thought…I have come to this conclusion–there is being excluded, and then there is *how* you were excluded. My point lies in the fact that social media can mean a lot of flaunting about what you are doing and who you are doing it with, the exclusion becomes not just about who you want to hang out with one weekend or whatever–but about putting it on a loudspeaker, and sharing it with the world–which, yes, I suppose is fine, but some people may feel hurt in the process. And to answer your question–if you weren’t included in something, does that mean you were excluded? No, not necessarily–and that is probably a helpful thing to think about so that one doesn’t always feel excluded.

  24. Cat says:

    This is such an interesting read! I have followed you for quite some time now, and on a few occasions I have left a comment – both in here and on your instagram. And you have more than once acknowledged my posting with either a long-ish reply, or a simple smiley with my name tagged to it. And – it somehow leaves a little “star struck” mark in me, I think I even told my boyfriend one time you did, and got all gushy about it.

    And then when you wrote the recent post about Thoughts on Being a Pro Blogger and asked about feedback etc, I started thinking about what I wanted to say, but ended up having so much I wanted to say that I – well, never got down to typing it down.. And THEN, because I had felt so included in this blogsphere of yours for so long there was this little voice in me telling me that YOU would notice if I didn´t leave a comment! I don´t know if this makes any sense to you, haha, but that´s actually how included I feel (although my more rational part of my brain managed to tune in and tell me that it was a little silly to think that, haha).

    I think also, that it´s only natural to ponder about these issues when what probably started in the small, on your computer, perhaps on the kitchen table with a cup of tea – now have turned out to be so huge and influental, and I think a lot of people forget that sometimes, that blogs often don´t start out with the purpose of becoming anything other than “something fun for oneself, and whoever else who comes across it” kinda thing.

    I think also that some people feel they come so close to you, your thoughts, your DIY-projects that they´ve spent time on, and recipes they´ve tested etc – that they somehow feel like you “owe” them something. I know a few other bloggers who struggle with that, and that can cause some friction, like “hey guys, I was only doing this for me!”.

    Considering how many followers you have here, instagram, pinterest etc, I think it is marvellous that you actually get around to reply on comments at all – and you are so in touch with your readers, and being very sensitive to this whole “relationship” that evolves from it. As long as that is a priority for you, and as long as you keep nursing that, and striving for that – you can only do as much as you can, nothing less and nothing more. But the thought and mission behind it is what carries it (and then people can sulk as much as they like if you weren´t able to get around to them).

    You´re phenomenal. THANK you.

    ( – And no, there can never be too many “idagrams”!)


  25. Rosa Evans says:

    So interesting. A few years ago I worked in communications, and my employer sent me to a workshop about different generations in the workplace. The facilitator talked a lot about Generation X (born approx 1963 to 1980) being typically exclusive in their social interactions. Supposedly Gen Xers prefer a small group of close friends and have clear lines drawn between those they like and don’t like… those they include or exclude. Generation Y (born approx between 1981 and 1994) are supposedly by nature more inclusive. They are ‘friends’ on Facebook with everyone they’ve ever met. If they have a party they invite everyone, including their boss and that guy at work that nobody likes. They are more tolerant, and can see the benefits in networking with as many people as possible.

    At the time I thought it was all boll*cks really, I’d never really bought into all that generational stuff. But since then I’ve noticed these behaviours so often, both in and out of the workplace. So I’m curious now, the inner circle crew at the elusive conferences and events, are they Gen X or Gen Y? And the companies who choose the route of exclusivity, do you see Gen Xers in senior management? Or are they trying to attract (more wealthy?) Gen X customers with that exclusive vibe?

    I’m on the cusp of Gen X and Gen Y so the facilitator at that workshop used me as an example, suggesting I might experience conflict and confusion in this area. She’s right, I do. I try to do the Gen Y thing and invite everyone, but often end up resenting it. But if I’m not invited I’m totally gutted.

    So don’t worry, perhaps you’re just a fellow cusper straddling two generations! Apparently we can effectively relate to both Gen X and Gen Y which is pretty handy. As for our ‘Generation Alpha’ babies, I’m thinking they’ll just be too busy loving life and being awesome to give it a second thought ;-)

    Great post – thanks Justina for getting me thinking once again!

    • Justina Blakeney says:

      well this explains a lot! I am (obv) est 79 so it would make sense that I would straddle the two ways of being. Thanks for sharing, Rosa–this was VERY interesting to think about!

  26. Tini says:

    oooh netiquette you postmodern b*tch…
    where to start?
    hi. i’ve been following your blog for a while now, but i think this is the first time i comment.
    i feel you. i think this net elite that gets transfered to real life happens in every social circle, beyond, in this case, designing.
    my friends and i started a monthly party at my hometown, that got HUGE mainly because of FB (we would spread the word via events, and groups, and you get the picture). by the time the party got a little known, there were more parties, that were using kinda the same profile as we did, claiming to be the first real under party. hum. go f*cking figure.
    most of them are still around (we’re not any longer), and ALL of them are constantly promoting DA newly discovered dj, but, they’re are always the SAME dj’s. i actually came to ask where were those newly discovered dj’s, since the dj’s i was seeing, were the same that have been claiming to be the new sh*t for a couple of years now. we wanted to hear trully new dj’s. i got banned from one of those parties. … yeap. these are sensitive people. i never thought they were cool or that i wanted to be into the group. i actually thought they were pretty lame. there were one or two party crews that knew what they were doing and earned all my respect, but then again, they weren’t going through a high school revival.
    this net elite, when taken to real life grounds, just let you see whatever they want you to see. if i wanted someone to let me see whatever that someone wanted, and not let me know beyond, i would watch cnn. but instead, i go to internet to see other points and other speaches, and then make my own conclusion. this vip-ying of information and opportunities, is dangerous. that shouldn’t happen. specially not on the internet.
    idk… i think you should throw your own party, and invite them. i can feel the shame on their faces. yeap. that’s right. that’s an invitation for you from the person you say you’re friends with but didn’t invite over your own parade. shame, shame, shame. shame on you.

  27. kate says:

    I think that people only put out what they want us to see. Their fancy hob-nobbing, they’re beautiful children in clean clothes smiling, they’re fancy outfits, etc. The reality is that I’m SURE they lives aren’t like that most of the time. I’m certain that if they took photos or blogged about they’re latest fight with their husband on who is going to get up with the baby–their dirty house–their pms meltdowns, we would think differently of them ;)

  28. dervla says:

    I’m one of those people going to alt summit this week, but i definitely didn’t get some kind of exclusive invite, I’m going for work reasons … and as it’s my first one, i’m nervous about the same issues you just discussed: will anyone talk to me? Or will i just sit at the back of the room listening. But that’s okay too! I find that I learn the most when I sit quietly and observe … and if someone chooses not to include me, i’ll try to remember your words and not take it too personally :)

    • Justina Blakeney says:

      eeep! I’ve never been to ALT but I think I’d feel a bit nervous too–but I’m sure you’ll have a blast :D

  29. hannah says:

    YES!! Thank you for writing all this, justina. It resonates for sure, and reminds me why yours is one of my favorite blogs.

  30. Amy says:

    I hardly ever comment anywhere, but your post resonated. I joined FB in 2008, then deactivated 6 months later. It was a voyeuristic nightmare. People adding me I didn’t care about, comments being made that were private, family disasters being posted for all to view. I like not knowing what I might’ve missed out on and if someone truly wants me to know about it, they’ll reach me via other avenues. I’ve felt excluded before, when Flickr was the way to first connect with cutting-edge bloggers in 2006, and artsy folks perhaps got a glimpse at me and thought, oh no, she’s not indie-enough. I think exclusivity can go both ways, the geeks, the nerds, the outcasts ostracize just as much as the popular beauty queens of the world. Me, I just like nice people. If you’re creative, that’s an added bonus but I cease to exclude those because I’m too cool or they think they’re too cool. Recently I participated in your online Skillshare class and because I didn’t receive a comment on posts from you, I felt I wasn’t Bohemian enough or good enough, then caught myself and said I’m me and that’s ok. This is a fantastic class, Justina’s amazing and who the hell has time to comment, reply, post, like something …. whatever it might be. We all do what we can and that should be enough. I’d rather unplug often and do what I know best before the social media takeover — something I guess we call “slow movement” now. Enjoy your day. Writing is a cathartic way to wonderfully let it out. Know in your heart, that it will all be ok. We just have to remember who were before the internet craze. xo

    • Justina Blakeney says:

      ooh gosh ya facebook is the worst! I have a really hard time with facebook too. Thanks for your comment–and you’re right about artsy/nerdy folks being exclusive too–I’ve been there like “I’m not *smart* enough–ugh. As for the class–that was tough–I tried to check out everyone’s stuff–but as you can imagine, there were a lot of people and so I just started commenting on the people’s work who asked me to check out their stuff–and I’m happy to do the same for you if you want to email me a link to your project! Thanks for understanding and I’m glad you enjoyed the class :)

      • Amy says:

        I absolutely loved the class. No worries at all about commenting on my project. I thought I’d share that bit only because we all want to be accepted but I realized I was silly to let myself go that place. I had to remind myself what my goals were in the class. It was more about what I could discover and build on, than being accepted or needing to have “likes” or “followers” or more “comments”. I learned a ton about how to style and was inspired by you and other classmates. You are a brave strong woman to share your personal feelings online and you have an insane amount of creative talent with a lot of wonderful accomplishments under your belt. That party you wrote about — they missed out, not you and only the people that do invite you should be so lucky if you have the time to attend. Keep being you, it’s how you got where you are today!

  31. kay* says:

    i’m fairly new to your blog but thank you so much for writing this. while not exactly the same, but kinda in the same vein, i wrote a post about diversity on my blog a while back and the lack of it in blog land. the fact that all of these conferences and summits seem to have only one “type” of blogger in attendance who all seem to be friends and none are visible minorities….it’s a tricky and touchy subject, huh? but you’ve approached it honestly and beautifully. anything to get the conversation going…

  32. Elaine says:

    Dear Justina,
    I am the mother of five children, and my advice to you is this:
    Please stop spending sooooo much time in front of your computer screen.
    You have children and a partner. Invest your time,energy and focus into caring for and serving them. You will only find temporary thrills and a false sense of worth if you continue in your unbalanced attachment to all forms of social media. You will never get to repeat today, so please don’t waste it, especially when your children are so young.

    • Justina Blakeney says:

      Hi Elaine, I know it seems like I spend a ton of time in front of my computer screen–I do actually–but this is my job! I also spend a lot of quality time with my family. Both my partner and I work from home and we are together all day every day the three of us :D

    • alaina says:

      judge not, lest ye be judged. to each her own.

  33. Anonymous says:

    Dear Justina,
    I regret my hasty and judgmental comment. I did want to encourage you. I did not; please forgive me.
    My oldest will be heading off to college next year and I’m very conscious of how very quickly the last 18 yrs. have passed. I am also aware of how many of my younger friends struggle with social media addiction and a sense of their own self worth. This typically manifests itself in roller coaster emotions, misplaced focus, and a sense of ‘not enough hours in the day’ syndrome. Children and marriages become neglected and more time is spent ‘keeping up appearances’ in the virtual world of blogs/face book, than living as a real person in the real world.
    Enjoy every minute with your gorgeous baby; won’t be long until you, too, are packing her off to college.

  34. Anni says:

    We, your readers, LOVE that you’re not exclusive! I’m a relatively new reader/fan, but I’ve twice tweeted at you (in reference to your Skillshare class, which I am LOVING, by the way!!!) and both times, have gotten a response… which totally filled me with warm fuzzies & made me feel like a “cool kid.” Thanks for not being an exclusive jerk! We totally appreciate it. :)

  35. dom says:

    sometimes a girl is excluded because the cool kids know that she is, in fact, the coolest, and they don’t wanna look boring. I find it silly when my instagram feed is full of the same picture because all the bloggers i read are together. it was really bad last week and it made me want to branch out and find some new fresh perspective. My quest led me to your blog and the fly girl blog and i kinda got annoyed like ‘why the heck am i just now finding these? they are so awesome!’. maybe not hanging out all the time with people who look, think and act like you is what makes your style fresh and unique. whatever it is just keep doing it!

  36. Em K says:

    I don’t think I’ve ever commented on here before so I have to start by saying I really enjoy reading your blog, it’s so nice to have a place I can come back and check and get your unique perspective on style and design. It makes me happy, keep doing what you’re doing :)

    social media/blogging is such a strange thing. it used to have such a great community aspect to it and now it’s really fragmented. I personally hate twitter, I only have it because it’s necessary for the ‘professional’ aspect of my blog. I don’t usually tweet at people who I don’t know or have thousands of followers but I have tweeted a few smaller brands questions and gotten.. silence. which boggles the mind, because you’d think that every potential customer counts!

    also the whole race aspect in the blogosphere isn’t something I’ve seen discussed outside the black community (I’m mixed) and I often wonder about it.

  37. Sophie says:

    Its funny how something starts out for good intentions but gets sidetracked on the way…I am taking about social media and blogging. Guess this challenges us all to be patrons of change and bring back the good cause. Thanks for being sincere.

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