Several different people have said to me, in the last couple of weeks, that people only present the good side of themselves on social media.
Actually, the way it is often said is that “people are always fake on social media; they only share the good stuff.”
Whoever says this obviously doesn’t have exactly the same connections I do. Some of them, I would beg to share something positive about themselves!
But I think either way, we are missing the point. I believe that social media is different from any other media only in its immediacy and reach.
In other words: people can be as fake without Facebook as they can with it. People who don’t have responsible personal boundaries in their non-virtual lives ought not be expected to suddenly and mysteriously display appropriate boundaries on the internet.
We are who we are.
Now, admittedly, the variety of social media available now is exponentially greater than it was 30 years ago. But let’s be real, ok: pen and paper and telephones are social media as much as facebook, twitter, or whatever the newer things are this week might be,
Social media is not new. The fact that you can connect instantly with multitudes of people today in ways that were not imaginable 20 years ago is new. But it is still connecting with people.
The challenge remains the same, though it is a bigger challenge that we face more than we used to. The challenge is still to share appropriately with others.
Some we rightly share more with: these have established that they are trustworthy.
Some we share less with: we either don’t know them well or they have (perhaps) demonstrated that we ought not share more about ourselves with them.
Are you really the you that you present broadly on social media?
Are the boundaries you set for sharing different on electronic social media than in person, or on paper, or by phone?