After reading an intriguing article in USA Today by Teddy Wayne about social media singlehandedly being the demise of authenticity, I felt inclined to comment.
This article brings up some valid points, however, since my profession is immersed in the social media space, I feel like it’s my duty to play a little devil’s advocate.
Wayne said that thanks to Facebook and Twitter, the internet is looking a little bit too much like Disneyland and that status updates have become less of a sneak peek into your friend’s life and more of a corny, airbrushed snapshot of your friend’s finest moods and moments. I understand that some friends may post status updates that are all rainbows and butterflies, but I’ve seen my share of irony, authenticity and sarcasm out there too.
Social media is all about expressing yourself and the great thing about it is, if you don’t like what someone is posting, you can delete them as a friend or block their status updates from your news feed.
Wayne also mentions the breast cancer awareness bra color postings that were popping up everywhere on Facebook a few weeks ago. I do agree that posting your bra color on Facebook isn’t going to help raise money for breast cancer and that making a donation or participating in a walk would be a much more sensible way to benefit the cause. I also agree that we should raise awareness for lesser known diseases too, but I’m never going to knock someone for fighting breast cancer and raising awareness. Although breast cancer is well known, it’s still killing people every day so I think we shouldn’t hesitate to talk about it through any medium we see fit.
All in all, I don’t think social media is ushering in the death of authenticity. If people are expressing their happiness (whether it is genuine or fabricated) or even posting their bra color to raise awareness for cancer, who are we to judge?
Wayne talks about the internet’s cloak of anonymity, and we both agree that the greatest thing about social media is that it lifted that veil. The enforcement of personal accountability is refreshing, as people will say cruel things when their name is not attached to their face and their real identity. And the fact that you can find your long lost best friend from grade school or your favorite professor from college on Facebook and not have to worry if it’s really them brings a smile to my face. Maybe the internet is a small world after all.
So if social media is turning into Disneyland, I’ll be the first in line.