Humor me here as I make up a completely fictional story about a completely fictional person to demonstrate a point:
Linda has an etsy shop and makes beautiful purses. She has happy customers and wonderful 5-star reviews on her etsy shop. She also has a blog, a facebook page, and an instagram; on these channels she shares primarily about the products in her shop, interspersed occasionally with photos from a recent ski vacation or her cute kids at the playground. However, these channels are primarily focused on her business.
One day, Linda has a falling out with a friend in real life, and Linda’s friend shares just enough online that everyone knows who she’s talking about. Linda is accused of being a not-nice-name and this comment is made:
“I’m so glad people are finally seeing through her social media facade.”
Regardless of whether or not Linda is a not-nice-name in real life (and maybe she is), and even if she did treat her friend badly, does that make her custom-designed purses any less awesome, or her customers any less pleased, or her kids any less cute? NOPE. Not unless she’s secretly hiring models to act as her children and selling purses made in a sweatshop instead of her own little handmade shop.
This is the equivalent of saying a woman is a complete fake if she puts on makeup and a pretty dress to go to a party because the “real” her is the one in sweats and no make-up. Those are BOTH the real her. One is dressed up for public, but neither is a lie.
The tricky thing about social media and blogland is we end up thinking we truly know a person, but we don’t. We can’t know everything even about real-life friends and neighbors and coworkers; if that was the case, we’d never be shocked, for instance, when someone announces a divorce in what we thought was a happy family.
I wrote about this idea a few years ago, but this particular post was inspired by that “facade” comment on instagram recently about a person I’ve followed online for years. Again, whether or not this person is a jerk in real life does not mean their online persona is a lie; it’s merely an aspect of their real self. Let’s not forget that.
End of rant.
*image above courtesy of pixabay