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The Propogation of Authenticity

Authenticity on social media is impossible. Everything is a filtered version of reality—including this post.

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The “It” factor that people who spend way too much time talking about the need to have a social media presence tout as being Social Media 2.0—the gateway drug to the money-making, strangers-liking-you holy land.

It’s not.

Authenticity on social media is impossible. Everything is a filtered version of reality—including this post.

We’re all posturing. We’re all posing. We’re all editing, curating, caring about what others think of us, and trying our absolute hardest to make strangers like us.

We manipulate reality to feel included, smart, relevant, and valuable.

Let’s stop pretending that any of this nonsense is real life. Real life is “out there”. Yes, out that window. On that Zoom call with another human. In the facial expressions of the person sitting across from you.

Real life is the emotional rollercoaster that is balancing personal and professional life. It’s in the making of things that people want to pay you money for. It’s in the joy and challenge of productive collaboration. And it’s absolutely in whatever that thing is that tells you that you’re contributing.  

Real life is not in the filtered pictures and carefully chosen words describing “out there” on here so people can tell you that you’re good.

The only thing that matters is your real-life contribution. (Read that again.)

Social media posts are perhaps the most unnatural form of all human behaviors.

But if you must play in this fantasy world that we call social media content creation, focus your contribution on a narrow group in a way that inspires thought and creates dialogue. Or make people laugh their asses off. (There’s a lot of social cred in doing that.)

And for the love of god stop talking about being authentic and admit that our online selves filter the hell out of every move we make.

Instead of manufactured authenticity, just tell the truth. Establish context. And whenever possible, qualify your hot takes, opinions, and perspectives with the data (qualitative or quantitative) that you used to arrive at that thought.

It’s not complicated. It just means that you need to care much less about the numbers and a lot more about reality.

Simple. Not easy.

Good luck.

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