Perhaps it’s why keeping a journal never made sense to me. Putting your deepest reflections, memories, and secrets onto a tangible piece of evidence was far too vulnerable for even the emo, risk-taking, teenage Tiffany. Now you want me to post almost weekly and broadcast it to literally any human that wishes to know about my inner most thoughts?? WHOA! Chill out Professor Kane.
“Never put anything in writing you don’t want others to read,” my mom would always say.
Between a mom who worked in government and a stepfather who was a conspiracy theorist, I learned to keep my thoughts and feelings close. It’s probably why my first blog post is a day late to be honest. Blogging, social media, the internet are all incredibly frightening. Sure, it’s great technology that can bridge people and ideas in order to create really meaningful and life-giving products and experiences but is it worth it? Isn’t it safer under this blanket over here?
Almost ten years ago my father shared the following video with me in an attempt to scare me into internet safety. And well, it worked.
Not only has my digital dossier begun well before the first day I fingertipped onto the internet, but with every key stroke, double tap, and emoji story my file gets longer. Knowing this was certainly helpful as my generation experienced the first revolutionary moments of a Facebook profile. The good ole days when Facebook was only available to college students and sweet Aunt Meg couldn’t accidentally share your ex-boyfriend’s latest profile pic with 500 of her closest friends. Almost a decade later and this knowledge is holding me back from fully experiencing all the benefits social media has to offer.
I prefer to hang in the background of the social media world and be an observer rather than an active participant. Knowing that anyone can go back to read, witness, and pass judgement on a part of my life I chose to share with the world is unsettling to say the least. Not because I lack confidence or authenticity but because I’m actually too honest for my own good. I can be so confident that I know I’m right even if others disagree (read: even when I’m wrong). I can be so authentic that people don’t know how to handle it. I am emotional and reflective and thoughtful and intrinsically motivated and vulnerable and human. I’m not always polished, contrary to what the BC experience might have you believe.
Is there space for that on social media? Does anyone REALLY want to know how my day is going? Or do you just want to cute beach pics of me and my girls in matching hats? And if there is space for all the parts of our humanity to shine on our profile pages how do we convince the rest of the internet it’s true? If people are holding back for these reasons, how do businesses effectively measure a need for a product or service? Are businesses aware they may be targeting aspirational versions of who we are? Is that what makes those ideas profitable?
Upon reflection I’m left with many more questions than answers.
My initial thoughts on social media and digital business include the very real and frightening aspects of how social media encourages all of us to divulge information that can ultimately be used against us. While it may seem pessimistic, I know I’m not alone in that feeling. Many have suffered personally, socially, professionally, and even physically as a result of social media posts and messages.
However, despite all of those concerns, my biggest fear is missing out on it all. FOMO if you will.
There are both personal and professional costs to not engaging on social media. You miss out on major events, birthdays, celebrations, announcements, and news. There is an expectation that if something is put on social media you must know about it. Social interactions suffer when you see a friend in person and you’re not up to date on the latest engagement or baby on the way. Meanwhile if you don’t choose to post on social media the assumption is usually negative. Either you have nothing noteworthy to report or things are not going well. God forbid you’re just a private person who keeps their successes within their inner circle. I signed up for this class because I THINK the risk may be worth the reward particularly as it relates to business opportunities. I’d at least like to be convinced. Network effects are great and all but how are we developing as a society through social media? What role does business play in this new evolution of society?
I’m looking forward to this experience to help push me out of my comfort zone, convey my thoughts in 140 characters or less, adopt the wisdom of my younger peers, and add productively to my digital dossier. And if I ever want to run for office some day hopefully I’ll know a guy who knows a guy that can just delete any questionable material that doesn’t support my brand. Because God help me if my mom ever gets to say, “I told you so.”