Social media — the first mass medium to allow people to publicly share their thoughts, feelings and lives with others — has become dangerously inauthentic. From cries of “fake news” to the rise of bots, bogus followers and other trolls, it’s hard to know whom, what or where to trust.
To even begin to remedy social media’s problem with inauthenticity, we have to first resist the urge to believe that better, more secure technology will fix the problem. While tech is a symptom of the bigger issue, it’s not the underlying cause.
Everyone on social media is infected with the same problem: The very nature of it causes all of us to be fake by default.
So, while we can share the delectable stack of pancakes we had for breakfast, the highlights of last night’s party, our feet poolside on vacation and of course, our “likes” and laments, all we’re sharing is a simple chronicle. One that with the right filter and a snappy status update can project an image of a life far better than the one we authentically experience.
The most widely used social network, Facebook, with over a billion daily active users, currently doesn’t support deeper interactions that reflect more naturally occurring conversations. And it’s also missing another important component: Whole storytelling.
The challenge is to turn “narrative”, and “data” into genuine, authentic communication.
Which brings up another current limitation of social platforms that has actually supported our vulnerability to inauthenticity. Choosing “friends” based on the assumption that they’re like-minded is self-limiting, yet social platforms tend to make recommendations based on your set of interests and “likes.” Varied points of view energize the juiciness of storytelling by challenging assumptions, opening up a world of possibilities to move toward an even more inauthentic representation of who you are.
There are three types of relationships that you can clearly see being expressed on social media.
- Having: Deriving momentary pleasure by collecting or acquiring amusements and objects.
- Doing: Hoping for a return by doing something, such as personal gain or advancement. The measure of effectiveness in this case is “usefulness.”
- Becoming: One person immersing him or herself in a shared experience with another person; the assessment of “worth” is not relevant, and there is no calculable positive or negative.
“Having” and “doing” are simple, linear and direct. “Becoming” is more disorderly and messy. Acquisition and usefulness can be rewarding, but they are not necessarily genuine self-involving.
This is the reason of why we spend so much time and effort becoming the “real us”. “Becoming” who we really are is not necessarily reflected on our Social Media. In fact it’s usually the opposite. In our work at EIS, and in my personal blog and website, we endeavor to swim upstream in this reality forum. Social media is an opportunity to bring truth, light, genuineness, vulnerability, community and more to a platform that invites genuine interaction and connection… if not in posts themselves, it invites people to look inside, ask questions, get answers, bring answers and experiences that can help transform us all.
Source: Entrepreneur Magazine/ Adapted BH