Is it possible to consolidate authenticity, social media and self worth? How do we stay authentic to our selves in an age of social media? By engaging with it authentically. That’s how.
Do you judge me based on my facebook profile? You should. You should judge how accurately, effectively & engagingly I am able to present my personal brand. Yep. That’s right. Even if you are not a business: facebook & social media is STILL a Brand.
1. Social Media is a Brand, NOT an Identity
Before I decided to leave my path as an academic to be a blogger, I tried to leave social media entirely. I had gotten sick of being judged in this way. I realized how inauthentically absorbed my identity & sense of self worth was wrapped up in social media. I wanted out.
In my observation, the happiest facebook profiles have sometimes belonged to the saddest lives. Studies link facebook and depression. I didn’t want that to be me. It wasn’t real. I tried to get off completely, but Spotify wouldn’t let me. I took it as a sign to remain, but change.
A friend convinced me to help people with health online: to get on social & brand my expertise. The rest is history — I left academia to blog full time. What I realized when I started to create guidelines for social media, for my message, was that I always needed a brand. This lack of framework let my self worth slip through.
It irks me, now, to see how people irl judge me on my social engagement. If you’re impressed by high engagement on social, you should realize it’s work the person has put into it. And if you’re unimpressed that someone doesn’t put that kind of value on social media, you’re missing something very important.
If you care about something enough to put work into spreading it on social, that’s amazing. Some people don’t. And that’s also incredible.
Authenticity on Social Media — Truth — Everyone is Branding
The difference between your Self & your avatar is there, everyone is actually branding online, and we really need to understand that. When someone sings a song, draws a picture, or posts a status—it’s an expression of their self, at BEST, it’s an act of creativity.
People’s art isn’t WHO they are, it’s merely WHAT they do. How they fit. And some people’s authentic selves & creativity don’t fit into the confines of social. Their personal brand colours are elsewhere. Realizing this will help you remove judgement about your own self worth being dependent on social engagement and get you back expressing yourself authentically on your social profiles (if you like).
How do we stay authentic on social media but not have our self worth depend on it? We choose our brand identity! You want ot be a postitiv influence? An informing one? Awesome! Design that and give your avatar boundaries!
Truth — Self Worth is Personal: You Don’t Need to Care About Authenticity on Social Media
Don’t get me wrong. I love social. I’m a giant fan of having a place people can grab some info about me on their own time and keeping in touch with people I meet from all over. But let’s be clear: your character does not fit into software designed by someone else. Maybe your personal identity is completely unfit for social! Remember: it’s important to stay clear that ‘worth’ is not depicted by social media, (for you or anyone else) unless you’re measuring the specific social media value you bring! Sounds silly, right?
And do not forget, fb was designed by a really neat, smart & talented… sophomore in university. It is software designed with the parameters of what a (19 yo) Mark Zuckerberg cared about.
2. People Who Judge You On Social Are Lacking Authenticity
I’ve spoken to friends who have existential crises over not getting likes… Facebook (especially) can really mess with your self-esteem. If we’re going to draw a hierarchy between what matters concerning connection & relationship—fb presence, I hope, is not nearing the top. It’s fun, it’s important in our world (to me) to be authentically presenting ourselves in a public way … but I know so many people who re so valuable to this planet who are not represented on social media. Their worth doesn’t fit there. People who judge you on social media engagement are putting their own value on the platform too.
Authentic people (even massive social influencers) won’t do that; even those whose authentic self fits social perfectly will understand that uniqueness is the first character of identity.
3. Your Social Presence is as Important as You Make it
How do you want to connect? To the world? Is it through social media? How important is that aspect of your connection to people? One huge truth of this whole life thing is this:
Connection is All that is Truly Important: On Social Media and in Life
It’s a strange & troubling thing, we are realizing the massive gaps in our connection by addiction & depression rates sometimes fatally affecting our communities, it is just so important to recalibrate and remember connection is what we’re after. You decide how social media plays an authentic role in that.
Authentic Use of Social Media — it’s a Form of Art — for Better (Engagement) or Worse
What is quality engagement really anyhow? Is it number of likes? Maybe that’s not what we want. Maybe we want to touch at least one person. We can’t really take for granted that we are able to judge who someone is, or what they want, based on their social posts. I’ve unfollowed people I genuinely enjoy spending time with because I don’t care for their posts at all!
I hope that when people meet me, they’d be open to getting to know me—I’d like to do the same for others.
4. Ultimately, Your Social Says What You Want it to Say: the Personal is Elsewhere
Facebook isn’t life. It’s just a tool of the living. Don’t judge yourself based on software. It’s inadequate. It’s such a loss to do so—real life is flashing by every moment & so are our chances for confidence, comfort & connection.
You define you.