Sincerely guys, the way I feel writing this post, I can only hope that words would properly convey them exactly to you. I have always felt that the rate at which people live ‘fake’ lives online these days is saddening, but I didn’t think it was something that should urgently be addressed until I found this picture, while scrolling through the net on Friday.
The picture had been originally posted on snapchat, with the caption “bae caught me sleeping”.
Immediately I found this picture, I showed it to a colleague and the both of us were just really awed. Still can’t wrap my finger around why that person did what he did, but if you are reading this post and you also put up fake pictures to impress your followers and friends, please stop it. I know that there is that subtle pressure to portray our best lives online but you don’t have to and frankly, you don’t even need an explanation on why you don’t have to. It’s okay if you have friends that have more than you and it’s okay if your neighbor is showing off the life you want to live, but you don’t have to fake anything.
Now back up to last Friday, in the midst of all the laughs we had looking at this picture, something else suddenly struck me.
You see, it’s very easy to laugh and point judging fingers at those who lie on social media to impress their followers, but what about those of us, who are not lying directly but are living lives very different from the ones we live in real life? Those of us who are entirely different people online, so much that when someone who follows us meets us in real life, they find it very hard to connect us as the same person.
Let me give you a personal example.
On Friday, I was telling my friend that there was a time in my life when I had really secular songs on my phone and used to be discreet about it. At home, I could play those songs all day, sing along to every word and dance to them like crazy, but when it was time for me to put up a video on Instagram, I would now be looking for gospel songs to use as background music.
Apparently, the image I had built online was that of a Christian, inspirational lady, so uploading videos with secular songs just wouldn’t cut it. At the time, I didn’t even know it was deception, not just to my followers but also to myself and I didn’t even see the fault in it, until one day at an event, one of my online friends (whom I had just met) picked up my phone to send some ebooks. I was so lost in something else that I didn’t notice she had finished sending the books and was already going through my playlist to check for which songs to send. When I finally saw her, my heart literally ran into my mouth and I started to wonder what was going on through her head, considering that she could now see ‘the kinds of songs I listened to’.
‘How would she see me now? Would she judge me? ‘What kind of eyes would she start looking at me with? The next time I put an inspiring picture on facebook, would she like it?’ These were all the questions that were running through my mind. Of course, when she handed me the phone, she didn’t say anything and me too, I just swallowed the explanation I felt I had to give her.
This was the day I knew I had to reevaluate the kind of life I lived online. It’s really not healthy to be pretending and believe me, the moment you feel you have to explain something to your online followers, so they can excuse the gap between your virtual life & your real life, then there is a problem.
I think we all need to do that – reevaluate our lives online.
I still do that consciously, asking myself, ‘Seun, if tomorrow, one of your Instagram followers meets you in person, would that person go back and say ‘Seun is just a fraud. She is not the same person she is online’? or would s/he find consistency in my personality (that can only come from me just being myself)?’
I mean, it’s okay to build a consistent brand across your social media platforms and if inspirational, motivational, coachy, fun or sassy is your online tone, it’s fine, just be sure you are not faking anything to impress anyone.
In other words, don’t pretend to be who you are not. You know you are when you consciously have to keep up an image when you meet an online follower or when all your followers see you as inspiring but your close friends, siblings, colleagues at work, classmates and neighbors do not see you in the same light.
I remember one time a friend of mine was playing with another friend, when suddenly she said, ‘See the way Wunmi (not her real name) is acting now o and when she gets online, she will be doing like a better person.’
That particular statement, for me just emphasized more on the social media hypocrisy I’ve used this entire post to teach on.
I’m sure you too know a couple of people like Wunmi – that is if you are not even the Wunmi yourself , so, what I’m asking us to do today is be ourselves, even online.Be yourself, even online. Click To Tweet
That’s the takeaway. I hope that you learnt something and will begin to evaluate your life online as from today.
Whatever it is you’ve learnt here or can relate with, please share with me in the comments. Also, if you have ever had to deal someone whose life online was fake, even if that person was you, share that with me as well. Will love to hear all about them.
Till later 🙂 ,
Be real guys.
I love you plenty,