Authenticity In Action: Exploring Your Authentic Self on Social Media
I like to think of living authentically as trusting our intuition and allowing ourselves to be the authors of our own lives. It’s not a secret that social media has made “authors” out of all of us. We have the ability to share and connect with people in ways we never imagined. But are we really authoring our own lives on social media or are we re-writing the script? Are we always sharing our authentic selves? And how do we know what kind of balance to strike between being authentic and “oversharing”? As a recent article asks: “You can share. Does this mean that you should share?”
This is a great question, and something that anyone who is on social media really needs to think about, especially younger people. What is the value of sharing pictures, stories, quotes, and articles with others? What are we telling the world about ourselves when we share? It’s important to understand that there is a difference between being authentic and being transparent. Authenticity is about presenting our true selves, while transparency is about how much of ourselves we share.
You can be 100% authentic with the things you share on social media without being 100% transparent. You have the right to share as much or as little of your authentic self as you want.
Sharing is just one aspect of social media to consider when exploring our authentic selves. Social media also allows us the opportunity to follow other people and to get a glimpse into the lives that they present online. But what are we learning and gaining from this?
When thinking about staying true to yourself on social media, some helpful questions might be:
- If someone I never met came across my social media profile, how would they describe me based on the things I share and the people I follow?
- How does social media make it easier for me to wear a mask?
- When do I find myself most in need of social media?
- How would my social media behavior changed if I had to have these conversations in person rather than online?
- When I post something on social media, how do I feel?
- As I am looking at other people’s profiles and pages on social media sites, how do I feel?
- Why am I drawn to the celebrities and people I follow on social media?
There is no “one size fits all” when it comes to finding a balance between living your authentic life and being active on social media; it will be different for everyone and it’s important to know your own boundaries and limits.
What brings me comfort is seeing the ways that people use social media as support. Whether it’s sharing a tip that got you through a rough period, or encouraging someone on their journey, we have the power to use social media to inspire and help each other!