Since the birth of social media, there’s been a constant buzz about both the benefits and drawbacks that coincide with its use. However, more recently this buzz has been centered on how social media can either be a tool for personal destruction, or a tool for personal promotion.
Enter the authenticity versus over sharing debate.
Online authenticity means that your presence on social media is an accurate representation of your life. It’s both equal parts good and bad. It includes the ups and downs, not just ‘highlight reel’ of your life which is ultimately not the full truth.
Over sharing meaning that you, “Ate at Chipotle for lunch with Kelly and it was DA BOMB. Next stop the bathroom cuz #beans.”
Not only do people genuinely not care to see information like this on their timelines, but over sharing info can lead to a myriad of both personal and professional problems.
For example, overs haring can jeopardize your current employment, future employment, relationships, and even in some cases your educational status.
A good rule of thumb to follow: don’t post anything you wouldn’t want your boss or your grandmother to read.
Being authentic online is important
From a business mindset, it helps to think of online authenticity as your own personal brand. Ask yourself this – is what I’m sharing an accurate representation of who I am?
Social media isn’t just for personal use anymore. Hiring managers look to your social media to learn more about you.
My most recent employer said, “Of course I look at social media accounts. I need to know that you’re a real person, and that you have a healthy balance of social activities. If all I see is pictures of partying, then I have to assume that’s what you spend your time doing.”
Lala cofounder Molly Longest also shared some great advice on this in a recent article: “…make an effort to have your social media accounts reflect the interesting aspects of your life that your resume can’t – your taste in music, that amazing backpacking trip you took last summer through Southeast Asia, your knitting skills, or the Pinterest-worthy raw vegan smoothie bowl you made for breakfast. Companies are as interested in your personality as they are in your GPA.”
To put that into context, if all of your Instagram posts involve you and red solo cups, then all a potential employer sees is a girl that likes her alcohol – never mind that it might have been pink lemonade in that cup.
As renowned research professor Brené Brown defines it, “Authenticity is the daily practice of letting go who we think we’re supposed to be and embracing who we are… [It] is a collection of choices that we have to make every day. It’s about the choice to show up and be real. The choice to be honest”.
So, how do you achieve online authenticity?
Authenticity starts by sharing small pieces of information about yourself and your life that anyone can relate to.
Here are some ideas to get you started:
- One random fact or thing about yourself that you always felt was sort of weird or different.
- The best piece of advice you’ve ever received.
- Someone or something that you’re proud of.
- An event or time in your life that was pivotal – meaning it helped shape you into who you are today.
- Share something about the world you really wish you could change.
- Voice your opinions on everything from politics to pop culture. Start a conversation!
Over time, these small pieces of information eventually become part of a larger picture – the picture being who you are and how you present yourself to the world.
Still struggling? Check out online courses from Instagram’s @carakuulei and @bossbabe.inc for tips on how to keep true to you online.
Image Via Kayla Bacon