A couple days ago, I was on Facebook when I saw the following quote posted by Sanaa Lathan:
I usually don’t post about one quote, but I liked this one so much that I am doing that right now. This quote spoke to me because the premise of it is why I started this blog.
With social media, we can project whatever image we want to the public. Your posts and pictures on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, or LinkedIn could be as different or as similar as you want them to be. On any social media site, you can be as public or private as you want to be. On certain sites, you could edit the audience for each message or photo. If you want to live a double-life like Don Draper, it’s doable (but not recommended by me). If you want to project the same image across all sites, that’s up to you.
I know this too well. I led a class on the use of social media, specifically LinkedIn, when I worked at a career center. It was my job to train job seekers on how to use LinkedIn and other social media in their pursuit of gainful employment. I taught them how to be strategic as they used certain social media accounts to market themselves while making other social media accounts private so they could separate the professional from the personal.
If it was my job to teach people how to filter their public image via social media, then why do I like the above mentioned quote so much?
I find the spirit of the quote refreshing.
We live in a world where we have to be conscientious of our actions both online and offline because we never know when our actions are being documented.
This can be beneficial to society. With the rise of cameras on our phones and the ease of sharing videos via YouTube, cases like that of Eric Garner and Sandra Bland are forcing us as a society to examine issues of police brutality and law enforcement in a way we have not previously.
This also can be detrimental to our personal development. Although it is wise to be thoughtful about our social media posts for the sake of our professional development or social relationships, sometimes an excessive attention to personal image can keep us from discovering our authentic selves.
Within the last day, my friend shared the following quote:
“All selfies and no knowledge of self.”
It resonated with me because in my life I have encountered people who are so careful about how they appear to the external world both online and offline … that they do not work on their internal selves.
In particular, I know someone whose profiles for LinkedIn, Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter are calculated and filtered to his liking. However, if I were to have a private, face-to-face conversation with him, then he would give me a bleaker picture of his life–the type of picture he would never reveal on social media. His personal issues were so serious that I asked him how he would feel about therapy; however, he was reluctant because he would rather invest his time in his professional development than his personal growth.
Because I have known people with his type of mentality, it is no wonder that “I appreciate rawness so much.” We live in a society that promotes our public images to be so refined that we prioritize building the façade rather than the foundation of our life.
If you’re in that situation, it could be time for you to start prioritizing the foundation.