What are the downsides of social media?

I recently had a bit of an epiphany about social media and the pitfalls of perception that come from digital personalities. Here are my thoughts.

If you have an average day and nothing great happens, do you post on Facebook?

If you have a bad meeting, your project gets cancelled or your interview goes badly and there are no obvious learnings, do you write it up on LinkedIn? No, you don’t.

I recently spent the best part of a day editing Directors profiles and photos on a corporate website. The importance they place on their own Bio and photos ranks very high them. While there’s a value to their online profile, to their career and to the business, it seemed disproportionate compared to other priorities.

Social media is a filtered view of the best, hyped, spun, exaggerated parts of our lives. The holidays, the days out, the wins, the fun, all of that. But, it’s not a true reflection of living. It’s very selectively filtered, it’s your own PR and your the agency writing the press releases.

So, comparing what your doing day-to-day to other peoples digiital PR wins is inevitably going to leave to disappointment.

Compare your last face-to-face encounter with a friend to their social media feed. You talk about the good and the bad face-to-face. You share emotive things if they are a good friend. The fun, the banter and the tough things too.

It’s quite a different landscape. It’s richer, it’s balanced. There’s real personal connection. You pick up on other signals too. Get a more rounded picture of what’s going on. You use all your communication channels. Nice, isn’t it?

While digital channels bring us many benefits, be aware of the filtering that occurs. We’re all selling online.

On a bad day, LinkedIn is The Apprentice, Facebook Is Love Island, Instagram is Sewing Bee. You only see what people select to show.

With the rise of depression, anxiety and digital media use its easy to see what’s driving peoples negative perception of themselves.

When we depict someone with depression they are often depicted in their pyjamas, alone, looking sad and staring at their phone.

Don’t get me wrong, digital media can be an amazing way to find and connect to new groups, to learn, to get feedback, to meet new people or find a new job. But don’t forget it has a downside. Don’t neglect personal channels when your building your view of the world and yourself.

Don’t let the hype of what’s selected and presented online drive down your own self perception. Would you trust a web page from an unknown source over a concersation with a friend?

Which one gives you a richer experience with all your senses engaged?

Next time we will look at the positive side of digital and social content. Be selective with your time and your communications.

Have a good week, on and offline.

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