Does your closest friend know the real you? Most likely they do.
The two of you have talked face to face, you confide in each other, you share stories. You are there for each other when problems arise.
What about the people you know online?
Would the people you associate with online have an accurate perception of who you are? Could your online persona be negatively affecting how people perceive you without you realizing?
What has social media and all this modern technology got to to with the way people perceive us?
A lot as it turns out.
Once upon a time, people asked each other out or asked to meet either in person or over the telephone. If someone wasn’t all that keen, you had a chance of picking up on their feelings through the tone of their voice or their facial expressions. It wasn’t all about the words that came out of their mouth.
Now it is all texts, Facebook, Twitter, forums, Internet dating and getting to know each other via social media and technology.
Don’t get me wrong I have nothing against social media, I love it in fact. I use it a lot here at my blog to connect with people.
With the explosion of social media, we are connecting more than ever online. Yet does this really mean we are getting to know each other better?
Here are some things to watch out for and why it’s important to be yourself.
Coming across as superficial
We all want to seem fun and easy going, don’t we? We flirt, we show our cheeky side and basically talk a lot of fluff. Which is fine and fun, in moderation.
If you want people to take you seriously at some point or get to know you better, you will have to dig deeper.
If you constantly portray a ‘life of the party’ image, that is ultimately all people will see. If that is what you are aiming for, all well and good but even that persona may run thin after a while.
Make an effort to show the more meaningful part of your personality. Show you have substance. What are you passionate about? What causes do you support? What world issues have your attention? What brings you joy and comfort? How do you enjoy helping others?
Dig deeper. Show people what you are made of. Be interested in other people. Be yourself.
Related post – What’s Your Message? What Do You Stand For?
Pretending you are something or someone you’re not
There are a lot of pretenders online. You wouldn’t have to look too far into dating sites, to find a lot of people pretending to be something they are not.
Whether they are lying about being married, not being honest about their age, pruning massive numbers off their weight or pretending they have a profession or education they don’t. Lying online is rampant.
Don’t be one of the pretenders.
Whilst I am sure it has short term gains, in the long term you will be uncovered for the pretender you are. When this happens, your credibility could be severely damaged.
Related post – Stop Waiting for Acceptance – Accept Yourself
Being who you think people want you to be
Equally prevalent is saying what you think people want to hear or fitting into a stereotyped personality type set for you.
What if you are a party person who secretly wants to get married and have children? Or someone who yearns for a better education or a different way of life? Yet no one is even aware of the goals you want for yourself.
You keep up with your current lifestyle because that is what people expect of you.
People are not mind readers, you need to tell them who you are and what you want.
Don’t let people define who you are and most importantly don’t be defined by what other people think of you. Stand your ground. Be your own person.
Related post – Don’t Let Anyone Else Define Your Worth
Showing and telling too much
On the other end of the spectrum, is showing and telling TOO much of yourself – exposing every thought, every problem, every photo (good, bad or inappropriate) taken of you.
This can damage your reputation both online and off. It could also make you more vulnerable to the more sinister types lurking on the Internet.
Be careful not to reveal too much of yourself online.
Remember your parents or relatives, could be reading the same bit of juicy gossip you put online for your friends.
Related post – Do We Talk Too Much About Our Problems? Time to Talk about our Joys
Fighting on social media
I have one words of advice on this topic. Don’t. Fight on social media. If you have a problem with someone work it out between yourselves in private.
I have seen a few people fight on Facebook and it is never attractive. Even if you are in the right, it won’t look that way. You will simply look petty and not a nice person. It will be an instant turnoff for people reading your information, particularly if they are seeing it for the first time.
People will put up an instant barrier towards you, the minute they see you attacking another person, because they worry your next attack might be aimed at them.
Related post – Don’t Compare Yourself to People on Social Media
Not communicating clearly
I’m not a big fan of having conversations via text. For one very simple reason. By nature, texting is brief and might I add abrupt in many cases.
Sometimes we simply do not get our message across. Sometimes we completely screw up the meaning of our message and upset or confuse the person on the receiving end. If you are sending text (or email) for that matter, think about what you are trying to say and make sure you hit the mark. Don’t just type in the first thing that pops into your head.
As far as sending text when you are drunk. Anyone that has ever held a drink in one hand and a mobile phone in the other knows that is a bad idea. When drunk – put the phone down.
Related post – 5 Communication Mistakes That Can Mess with Your Life
If someone doesn’t accept the real you, move on and do it quickly.
Of course this can be easier said than done. Particularly if we really like the person. It is the old adage of ripping off the band aid slowly. It hurts a lot more when you take your time.
Liking someone that doesn’t like you back (the way you want them to), is an unpleasant situation. I speak from personal experience on this one.
The one thing I have learned – once you find out they don’t like you the way you want (and there is a big possibility they never will) – get the hell out of there. Disconnect yourself from the person as much as possible.
Don’t waste your precious time with time wasters. Move onto people who will appreciate you for who you are.
Whilst many of the above topics are aimed at our personal interactions online, the same could be said for many of our business and blogging interactions as well. While business and pleasure can be mixed, you need to be able to draw a professional line, so your online personality does not negatively impact or damage your business.
If you are running a blog, being superficial or not presenting your true self, won’t get you very far. The most successful bloggers are the ones that are authentic, honest and show integrity.
Ultimately you will benefit more when you be yourself – be uniquely you – rather than simply trying to blend in or be someone you are not.
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