Well. It has to be. We’re living in a world where we have to state that something is true before we say it.
Why does it have to be that way?
At risk of offending other people, and in the interest of being transparent (the other word of 2016) and authentic (SEE! HERE IT IS AGAIN!) I’m going to use myself. I don’t have anything to hide, right?
No, I don’t. But that doesn’t mean that the version of me you know is authentic either.
Take a look at my LinkedIn profile for example. Some of you may look at it and think ‘meh’, and others might think I’m doing alright for a 24-year-old entrepreneur, speaker, and thought-leader. When you see it though, you don’t really know who I am, what I’m like, or what it might be like to be around me. In other words, my LinkedIn profile is only a partial representation of who I am.
Now take a look at my Facebook profile. Nice. Quite a few ‘friends’ there, some goofy pictures perhaps, and a wall full of… well, no, part of me.
Finally, take a look at my Instagram page. Well, this isn’t really me at all. Just a bunch of landscapes and the odd picture of a blonde guy in a new place in the world doing what he loves to do. That’s what I want you and the rest of the world to see. That isn’t authentic.
Yes, these are all me. But this isn’t the same me that you get when I’m sharing a glass of Gamay Noir (2014, best year) with my girlfriend on the balcony at the cabin. The version of me she gets is the authentic one. It isn’t the Eric that I post online, it isn’t the one that is writing this article, it isn’t the one that worries if his quote onstage will offend someone, be tweeted by the 500 people I’m talking to, and then retweeted in the next five minutes to become ‘viral’ and destroy my speaking career. She gets me. Just me. All of me. The ridiculously transparent, brutally authentic, goofy and sarcastic, me.
See, I believe we are living in a world that is more hyper-competitive than ever before. The lives that we live aren’t the same as the ones we post about, and as a result, aren’t an accurate reflection of who we are.
The 10 second Snapchat or Instagram story isn’t one that talks about the tough day we are having; it shows you that the 10 seconds we just recorded are likely better or more funny than the 10 seconds the audience is living when they watch it. This isn’t an authentic representation of what is going on because I think there is a hidden agenda.
I think there is a desired reaction.
Social media is a boasting tool, no longer is it one that simply updates and educates.
As are job descriptions.
Same with dating profiles.
Same with profile pages.
Same with conversations about our day.
Same with most things that are outward facing where I need validation.
I need approval. We need to hear that our audience likes our content.
We’re all performers. We’re all on our own stage. And when we’re performing, are we really authentic?
No. Not at all.
If we were authentic, we wouldn’t be presenting. We would be present. Just ‘being’.
But now, here we are. The limelight is constantly on us through social media. We are always on some kind of stage. If you really want me, it seems as though I have to preface what I’m about to say by telling you I’m being authentic.
And I’m not even going to get into the marketing of products and services. Authentic? Maybe, but you’ll absolutely be told so first.