Authentic Me? My Feeling is in Play

I think it is very hard to be authentic and genuine on social media. While everyone says to “be authentic”…”be genuine”…”be honest and who you are”. It’s much more difficult and complex than just “being”.

I think everyone has spurts of truly authentic moments on social media. But if we are constantly thinking of what type of responses we might get to our tweets, how our posts may be interpreted, if they will get us noticed, will it help create our brand, or just making sure that we sound ‘politically correct” or “intellectual”, how truly authentic are we?

This is something I’ve been struggling with for months now. And I’ll be the first to admit I don’t have an answer to this. If you read through my posts and tweets, you will see my struggle of trying to find my authentic voice while also being a professional, human being, and who I am, and it is not a balance that I have close to perfecting. (At least my cute animal retweets are authentic 🙂 lol)

I’m trying to be as honest as to what I feel and think, but in the back of my mind, many times I’m running those questions through my head and it has made me question if I’m being authentic to myself, especially when I decide to stay quiet with an opinion or a thought rather than “rocking the boat”.

Let’s be honest: One tweet can destroy a person or brand. The limited world of 140 characters and the ability to remove oneself from direct interaction with another human being by using Twitter or Facebook has created an unforgiving and harsh environment where it is hard and almost impossible to always and honestly be authentic. 

Sometimes I envy the younger generations coming up behind us. While we all cringe at the brutal honesty and emotions they share on their platforms, and wonder if their posts and tweets will have negative impacts on their college applications or job prospects, I have to give them props for being truly and brutally authentic about themselves and their thoughts and feelings.

At what point in time do we start losing that? The brutal honesty and authenticity of who you are? Is it because we enter the professional world means that authenticity and raw emotions must take a back seat to survival? Is it because we must brand ourselves as educated and that politically correct and upping one another to be more “expert” or “insightful” becomes more important than what you actually feel or believe or even just want to say? And then subsequently, are we really having those conversations that we are always saying we have if there is little dissent because of the lack of honest and genuine feelings and thoughts?

I’m not sure. I’ve always been an emotional person and my Feeling is always getting me in trouble.

I’ve looked through my posts from when I first began using social media. I’ve changed. I don’t share emotions often with the exception of my blog. Yes, it’s hugely embarrassing seeing what my thoughts and feelings on Facebook were back then and how silly they seem now (Let me tell you….Drrrraaaaaaaaaama). But it was what I was feeling and thinking at the time. And reading back through them, I’ve seen myself grow and I’ve actually been learning more about myself. I’ve seen my journey. I’ve also seen myself become less authentic on social media platforms. Part of it is growing up and becoming a professional. But part of it is because being authentic and genuine seem to be more buzzwords rather than actual practices that are acceptable on social media now a days.

I’ll be honest. I love those people I follow who share not just those thought provoking questions, or insights, but those who tell me that Paddington will or will not be the best movie that will come out in 2015; asking for help; sharing a panda photo with me because they know its my favorite animal; or telling me that dogs are better than cats when I post photos of my cat; or not being afraid of sharing what they are thinking even though it may not be popular.

Like I said, this is just something I’ve been thinking about lately. And that ultimately my goal is when I meet someone in person I want them to tell me that “who you are online is who you are in person….in tone, thoughts, personality, and all”. I want them to recognize and know the overly optimistic, panda loving, sometimes aloof, dedicated, silly, mature, complicated, developing, questioning, poor typing, mistake making, eclectic Brian.

And of course, odds are, there is no answer let alone an easy one to this, but its something I’m trying to understand better and find my balance.

Until next time

Peace, Love and Pandas!

Published by Brian

I am currently the Assistant Director of Student Life for Registered Student Organizations and Late-Night Programming at Michigan State University. After earning my B.A. from the University of Michigan-Flint, I entered the Student Affairs profession. After a few years in the field, I returned to school and earned my M.A. in Educational Leadership-Higher Education Student Affairs from Eastern Michigan University. In my spare time I blog about my thoughts and musings on current issues in higher education, student affairs, digital worlds, identity development and general life inspirations and observations. I also volunteer a lot for my fraternity and multiple regional and national professional associations.

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