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How Real Are You On Social Media?

In 2004 a young college student called Mark Zuckerberg teamed up with a few of his Harvard buddies to create a way for college students to connect with each other. Back then I don't think he could've envisioned what a life-changing tool Facebook would become for millions of people around the world. Today, in 2020, millions of people use Facebook for hours every day - they check in with friends, they scan their feeds, and they laugh at videos. But when they share things about themselves how 'real' are they? How real are YOU?



People like to show their 'best self' when sharing on social media, whether that's on Facebook or elsewhere, and sometimes that can be completely different to their 'real self'. I've heard terms like 'show up as your most authentic self' and it grates a little. Why on earth do we need to be reminded to be authentic? Surely we do that just be being us - right?



How I am on Social Media


I'm a quiet, reserved person and I believe this is reflected on my social media pages. On my personal Facebook I don't post often and when I do it tends to be about parenting or writing - the two things that I spend the majority of my time doing. On Instagram my feed is curated - like most users of Instagram. I select photos that represent something I'd like to say and make sure it fits into my schedule of topics. At the same time though I like the photos to show who I am or what I like so they mainly contain coffee, my boys, and Walt Disney World. Twitter is slightly different in that I use it to connect with other writers. I post occasionally and it's almost always about writing or promoting my writing. I chat to other writers and help them promote their work too. 


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While some of my content is curated I'd like to think it represents me, however there are some things I don't say.



What Happened To Free Speech On Social Media?


The problem with social media is if you happen to have an unpopular opinion people aren't afraid to use violent language and even threats to tell you you're wrong. I have had friends who have deleted social media accounts to get away from the barrage of insults they're receiving over a post they made.


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You're not allowed to have unpopular opinions anymore. Whether you're a Brexiteer, a white person, or even just a man or a woman, you're not allowed to state fundamental facts without being berated. People aren't afraid to label you a racist, sexist, or transphobic just for saying what you think - even if it isn't directed at those people.





The influence of social media is unbelievable. It's sad to see - it's a fake life that some people live.

Virgil van Dijk





You can happen to say the wrong thing or use the wrong term and suddenly you're the worst person in the world.



Social Media - Both Wonderful And Terrible


Social media has been a wondrous thing. Over the years people have been able to reconnect with old friends, rekindle past relationships, and even find lost relatives. I've reconnected with people I went to school with and neighbours who lived next door and it's lovely to say hello to long lost friendships. Social media has the power to open up your world in amazing ways and make you happier than you could imagine.


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It also has the power to tear down and isolate. More than school bullies or a single annoying person social media opens you up to a world of bullies who aren't afraid to make you fear for your life. Which is why I don't share many opinions on social media.



Be Real On Social Media


It's easy to say 'be real' but if by sharing opinions you're attacked that can only result in less people sharing honest opinions. We become a community living in an echo chamber where we have our regulated views repeated again and again, never hearing conflicting views and therefore ignoring the fact there may be people with different ideas out there.





If everyone did that social media would be a much nicer place to hang out.






Yes, be real on social media - that's a good goal - but don't attack those you disagree with. Hear what they're saying and come up with a reasoned response for why you think they're wrong. If everyone did that social media would be a much nicer place to hang out.



How real are you on social media?

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