The Reputation of Self as a Brand on Social Media
Here’s my response to the statement that “the problem with the self-as-a-brand social media is the dissonance it breeds.”
Technological advances have brought about a connectivity culture where social media have become an increasingly popular component of our everyday lives. And, contrary to the larger view that social media makes people feel inferior, I believe that social media promotes free, informed and creative expression. One’s social media accounts are often tiny windows into one’s own psyche; and like anything else we try to project the very best versions of ourselves to the world. Yes, social media can get really overwhelming with all the unrealistic expectations and can even lead some to a place of depression. But this is because most tend to see the glass as half empty instead of half full.
As someone who is in the business of “the reputation of self”, I help others to make social media easy by showcasing their true, authentic self so that social media does not become another job. If social media is a window into one’s psyche, then a part of who you are includes a range of opinions, vulnerabilities, insecurities, failures and wins. This is why when perusing others' curated photos showcasing the best moments of their lives, it does not make me feel inferior. I use social to market myself by showing off my unique skills and creativity, doing what I want to do as opposed to what people want to see me do. I don’t use social media as a superficial way to get validation through likes and followers. In Gary Vaynerchuk words, I use social media as a tool to “document, not create” the authentic me. And because I know who I am, and have a clear definition of what success means to me, I do not derive self-worth from how many comments and shares my posts receive.
However, I am human! When I start to feel myself drifting, or becoming dependent on these external sources of validation, I take a tech break. Of course, in the globalized world we live in, I can’t swear off digital interactions, but hitting the pause button allows me to reconnect with the people who are key to my emotional well-being. And, instead of the FOMO (fear of missing out) with social, I stay grounded by the FOMO with family. Though I much prefer meeting people in person, I use social to give people a glimpse into my life.