“Having a relationship with an audience is cool. I get it. As long as it doesn’t turn serious. As long as it’s “hooking up and home before sunrise” then everything is fine because
They don’t feel about you the way you want them to.”
(Mackenzie McHale, „The Newsroom”)
This should serve as a warning for people using social media. It is a thing we all should have in mind when posting something personal or not. Because people will judge you by it. This fits a lot to situations in which you might be sad and you update your status by sharing with everyone how you feel. The thing is social media is not the platform where you should seek help for personal issues. People will rarely empathize with you by giving you feedback on your status.
Mostly the quote from “The Newsroom” is a great piece of advice to have in mind when using social media. But, the downside of it is that people will ditch authenticity in order to create an ideal image about themselves. To make people feel what they want them to about them. And this is where things get tricky.
People’s profiles, whether it is Facebook, Twitter or Instagram may very well be the image of a life that person wants you to think they have, but that they do not actually have. And yes, beautiful pictures are great to look at, but do they really reflect the life that person has or describes? Thing is, the feedback to these ideal lives tends to be big and positive. People respond well to pretty photographed stuff and “perfect” descriptions of happenings. But the downside of this is that people tend to think, at least at first, that what that person is portraying as the life they lead is also what happens in real life.
Also, besides the positive feedback, people get jealous and sad because they don’t have what that person, whose pictures they are viewing, has which is pretty stuff and appreciation and, so, they will do the same the person with nice pictures does. Viewers will make similar posts because, this way, they will get the feedback they want and they create the life they think they might.
Creating the perfect online persona seems indeed much easier and a shorter way towards increasing self-esteem. But in the long term the effects are not lasting. Because what we post online might not be in tune with who we are in real life. Of course likes and comments are a great reward for our creation of ourselves, but mostly those are strangers who don’t really care about you, they only care to “like” the photos they like and live vicariously through what you present as being your life.
Ultimately you have to ask yourself is it really worth not being authentic in the long term? Is that what I really want for myself? Instead you could identify your best characteristics, work toward improving what you feel needs improving, identify what makes you unique and then offer your public something valuable that is really authentic, that people may use also for themselves for their own good.
If there were some ethics for social media they should state that you should be true to your fans or readers and not create a false image of yourself that could lately blow in your face. What you post online should reflect who you are offline.
I get mixed feelings of sadness and fury when I see on some Instagram accounts comments like “You are so lucky”, “I really love your lifestyle” and “I wish I was more like you”. All this because some people tend to trust that what some individuals put on social media is what best describes them and is those individuals being authentic. They also get this illusion that they know that person even though they never met them and talked to them and did not see how they really are offline. All they get is that “perfect” online persona which seems to be living a pretty great life. Or at least that is what they imply from the 3-4 picture posted every day.
Some popular, famous people or bloggers contribute to this illusion by pretending online how great and perfect their life is. Of course everyone does what they think is right for them and their personal brand but I believe people should approach this illusions with caution. I’m not saying all of them are fake, but you should not make assumptions based ONLY on what you see online. Life is more complicated than that and everybody is confronted with all sort of problems. Of course most of us might have fallen prey to these illusions that social media feeds us, at some point. The important thing is to be cautious in the future and inform others of the traps.
“We may get the impression that folks are more famous, powerful, influential, or informed than they really are, or funnier or nicer than they really are. Social networks naturally concentrate and amplify particular voices, no matter whether those voices are right or wrong.”
Also, watch this video to get some perspective on the matter:
wanted you to watch this video to offer you some perspective and a critical
advantage. The truth is when we are offered a new piece of information we
believe it to be true, unless there is other information in our brain that puts
that initial information at doubt so we don’t readily believe it to be true
just because it is presented to us. So it is, also, in the case of the online
personas people create. Do not hurry is assuming everything to be just as it is
laid before your wondering eyes.