Are you who you say you are?

social media

I would like to pit a new topic into the ring for negative social stigma. There are quite a few articles analyzing the posting habits of the average person, pegging them as more social media savvy than they actually are. I can’t believe that the average person is constructing a false persona for themselves and projecting it through Instagram and Facebook.

I’ll keep it brief, but this has been bugging me. Why are people complaining about other people being fake on social media? There was a Contently article about it, Wired, Time, BuzzFeed… why are we propelling this stigma, when it’s hardly the norm?

Not everyone is social media savvy

I know I’m biased because it’s in my job title as “Social Media Specialist”, but there’s no way that we’ll ever “master” social media. It’s constantly evolving, and not everyone on Instagram knows exactly what they’re doing. Scroll through your friends’ photos. Are you seeing out-of-focus, badly tagged photos that are lacking context or are you seeing more and more fashion models with each swipe of your thumb?

Maybe my friends are the rare ones, who show their true colors online, but I can’t envision a world where the average person would take the time to devise a separate persona for themselves online. Are we really that cunning? Are we trying to hide something about ourselves? I don’t know about you, but most of the people I know express themselves online in a truly authentic way, without elaborate strategies and if/then scenarios to trick people into thinking they have more money than they do or travel to more exotic locales than they normally would.

People post more out of error than sophistication in my opinion.

giphy

People get paid to construct personas

Is it really possible that the average Facebook user is so social media savvy that they can make you believe they wake up with makeup on? It’s ridiculous. There are PR agents, makeup artists, and writers for some celebrities, who compose a construct for their infallible personalities. Are we buying into this mass conspiracy that no one is who they say they are online?

Should we really stop trusting everyone?

Social media profiles are on an upswing, there’s not doubt about that. Some businesses (particularly in the design, copywriting, multimedia field) use LinkedIn to evaluate a potential employee’s skills, instead of asking for a résumé. In this regard, social media can be seen as a tool to be used to share the truth about where you went to school, which programs you know, and what you would like to do as a lifelong profession.

There is an up side to presenting yourself in a positive light, but I think it would be exhausting to expend all that energy faking your own personality just to get a few extra “likes”. Someone should debunk this myth that social media plays into our immoral tendencies to lie about who we are in order for people to like us. I mean, if you have 500 friends online, who didn’t like you in real life, why would you bother keeping them on the list?

I just wish this expectation would disappear, that there’s no trust out here on the net. Sure, it’s semi-anonymous, and maybe I’m an idealist, but I like to think most people are just putting themselves out there, sharing food photos or a link to the latest band they like.

Downward Spiral

I’m sorry, but I’m sick of seeing these articles that are bashing on people who post photos of themselves smiling or traveling the world. Yeah, I’m jealous I’m not on a yacht in Malibu, but really, could you live the rest of your life in the sun? You’d shrivel up like a raisin! So, let’s all come back down to reality and take a breath, here. It’s not the norm! Not everyone is faking everything! There’s no way to know for sure, but I have enough faith in humanity to think that maybe some people just work a little harder to look good. There are those who use DSLRs when taking photos of their vacation, and there are those of us who just snap that pic of a palm tree with our camera and send it out to the world.

We’re just a population who’ve contracted the jealousy bug and let the wave spiral out way too far, in my opinion. So, come back down to earth, BuzzFeed and Contently (love your stuff by the way) and let’s just allow people to post what they want without making overgeneralizations about the population’s agendas about their own appearances.

Featured image via MajorPlayers

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