Last week at PC(USA)’s General Assembly I was on a panel about social media and the church. I listed five tips or themes that were emphasized in this post and promised to write a little more about each of them.
So, tip #1: Be yourself; be authentic.
Social media amplifies our Spider Senses. I am convinced that people can smell when others aren’t being themselves especially over social media because social media is all about relationships.
True relationships are built while people are being true to themselves. The most comfortable places for me to be in are places where others are comfortable. It’s one of the reasons I like comic book stores so much. If you’re in a comic book store, you’re comfortable with people knowing you’re a geek or friends with geeks.
When I started building a professional social media presence a few months ago I used a black and white photo that you can still see in a few places if I haven’t gotten to change it yet. One of my friends looked at it and said immediately, “That doesn’t look like you, Emily.”
And you know what, it doesn’t look like me. It’s not a bad picture. The picture is just who I thought others wanted me to be in my blog and Twittering, but the truth is everyone just wanted me to be me. I still kindda like the black and white picture because I think it’s classy, but I’m no longer using it for my social media engagement.
It was taken after my first trip to Tim Horton’s. My hair isn’t done, I don’t have any makeup on, I’m wearing my grandpa sweater, and there’s a donut in my hand. It’s an actual picture from an actual event in my life that was shared with a good friend. Whether or not people have noticed that I changed my picture, I’ve noticed.
Since changing the picture I have noticed a change in how I engage with others. If nothing else my mental state has evolved about my professional presence online. As a Jesus follower I believe we’re called to wholeness, and I feel that since making the move to a more holistic and authentic view of social media I have been able to talk more openly and real-ly with people.
You don’t need to go over the top, especially if you don’t want to share a bunch of personal things about yourself. You can be an authentic individual and still not tweet when you’re thinking of taking a shower. Boundaries are important. But what you do chose to share, be yourself.
A lot of girls aren’t going to like the real you, but none of them will like a fake you. -Megatokyo, #1014 (written by Fred Gallagher)