“Be Yourself” and the Search for Authenticity

The other day, some person wrote about Serena Williams and her husband and how they use their social media. Of course the article was completely unnecessary and full of bitterness and the policing that Serena has received ever since. Beyond that, I am fascinated by the fact that this person, and many others, sometimes even me becomes judge and jury on what is inauthentic. Also the demand that people be what we deem to be authentic, despite not knowing them is hilarious to me.

I’ve been thinking about my social media spaces and how I portray myself to people. Mainly through this blog and Instagram. Social media provides us the opportunity to curate ourselves to people which for some reason gives us good vibes (and for others, money).

Back when I started blogging in 2005, I was such a different person from who I am today. Some things have not changed like not posting my picture etc but for the most part, no.

When people say that they are being authentic on social media, I wonder what they mean and what people who consume them and their lives understand.

Authentic means genuine. In that sense, when it comes to social media, it doesn’t mean that we get to see everything, in my opinion, I think it means that what we do get to see is genuine, it isn’t scripted, it isn’t unlike the personality, character of the person sharing. I think anyone who says they show everything, every part of their lives, is probably lying.

Ben Brown, the YouTuber, went through some challenges and his content changed completely. He spoke honestly about his mental health (I had noticed that before that video, the comments had people berating him about the changes. He also lost over 300k subscribers in the process).

What then is the authenticity, genuineness people want? A continuation of his happy go lucky self even when he isn’t?

In an era of sharing where likes etc means making money, the question of authenticity arises when the consumers of the content wonder if the sharers are being themselves or are doing it for the likes. A time when many people on the internet seem to all have the same personality, to be spreading the same message.

As consumers of this content, why do we sometimes feel entitled?

Why do I share what I share? Especially on Instagram where it is more spur of the moment type posting. Where what I am posting is what I am seeing, what I am doing, what I am thinking. I do not do it for the likes, that is for sure.

I think it’s because I find the fun in it, it’s something I need to put out there and also I think I’m funny.

Finally, to capsulate this with something wise, Knowing yourself first of all is the path to being yourself.

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