In a time when having the most likes on Facebook is equated with being the most liked, most valued, and most important person in the social sphere, to be completely honest and naked about yourself can be quite the feat. Most of the time however, you deny it.
Picture this. You wake up with your make-up left on overnight, your hair in disarray, and your head full of the day’s long to-do list. You pick up your smart phone to check on your emai – oh wait! Your officemate just had her hair permed. It looks kind of fake, really, you think to yourself. But you click like anyways. You take a sip of your morning coffee and write on your journa – oh look! You have 20 new followers on Twitter and 5 new friend requests on Facebook. Better confirm their requests then. Will you look at that? That evil superintendent of mine followed me after all. Guess you can’t help being envied even by the higher-ups. Ha.
The clock hits 6 AM, and you still haven’t prepared for work, nor posted a new status.
“Meh. New day I guess – a new day of rants from my boss and a whole day of meetings and paperwork. For what? For how much? Is this what you call a life?”
You type. But wait, you just confirmed your superintendent’s “friendship” with you on Facebook, and those 20 new followers were your target clients. Plus you wouldn’t want your ex to know how miserable you are only after a week of breaking up. So, you scrap the whole thing.
“It’s a new day ahead! New day, fresh start! I can’t wait for today’s agenda, I’m sure I’ll be learning a lot from the big boss today 🙂 Keep smiling everyone! You can’t waste time on worthless things after all – keep moving forward!”
I know that’s just one picture of editing out what you truly think – simply because you want to please everyone.
There was one day when I realized I’m not being 100 % honest on my social networking sites (SNS). I learned how to tweak my statuses to be neutral and to keep arguments at a minimum. I edited my About me part because I didn’t want people to know how “boring” my life sounded (which actually isn’t:). I posted only the best pictures of myself, I can’t let them see my “hell week” face, can I?
But then I started to worry. I worried that I am starting to have a split personality, a dual mind set. I was a different person online from who I was in front of the computer screen. And that’s a dangerous thing for me – and for you.
I started asking questions.
Who are my real friends? Who are the actual persons I can trust with my life?
What things do I really like, and what things do I honestly dislike?
What standards or beliefs do I have that I’m actually compromising for the sake of pleasing my so-called friends?
Why am I so worried about what other people would think of my new hairstyle, my odd jobs, my difficulties, etc?
Who am I? How would people who see me describe me, and would it be the same as how they think of the “virtual” me?
Since when have I thought that the world revolved about me? What people think of me, say about me, like and hate about me etc?
You may have had the same thoughts, or maybe you haven’t. But being a person who saw the transition from writing letters and sending postcards, to texting, to email; from friendster to facebook to twitter, I tried to remember and bring back the days when I didn’t actually have to put up a front.
I understand that you may be tweaking your posts a bit because you may be a person of influence (like me, I’m leading a small group in our church), but even then, you must have asked those questions as well, which is actually helpful.
So, what do you do now? Do you start typing curses for your boss or unfollowing the people you really hate, just so you can say that you’re being yourself? Well, maybe that can work. But maybe it would be better to do it the other way around.
Maybe you should rethink about the way you think. If you’re a person of influence and you want to influence people in a positive way, maybe you should re-evaluate how you’re living your life. It’s not about tweaking your online identity so that people will like you – it’s about changing yourself into who you want to be and how you want to influence people. Maybe you ought to ask:
Why do I dislike my boss?
What do I not like about myself that I keep on hiding from other people?
Why am I so worked up when my FB friends post photos about their perfect little lives while I sulk in my poverty?
While “finding your true self” may be a trending thing online and offline, I think it’s more of “being your true self”. Who you are is already inside of you. Your values cannot be given by how many likes or positive comments you have on Facebook, or on the number of followers on Twitter and Tumblr. What are you passionate about? What things strongly affect you? What do you sincerely think about certain issues?
While being yourself doesn’t amount to much nowadays, it’s rare and it’s priceless. The world needs the real you, with a real heart and a real dream and a real purpose – not that perfectly air-brushed girl online with 5, 243 “friends”.