We’re already aware of the fact that social networking has completely changed and altered our lives. It changed the way we meet people, keep contact and our perception of each other form altogether. And with the growth of networks such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and the like, we’re given the liberty to mold those perceptions and give off the exact impression we want. Or are we?
Social networking has become an art form, or, if anything, it’s just hiding in the art of fooling people. Did you ever come across that one girl’s Instagram profile and just scroll through her pictures in awe of how aesthetically pleasing her life seems to be? Or better yet, do you have that one follower on Twitter that never fails to tweet something hilarious, as if he’s collecting those “Retweets” and “Favorites?” Chances are, he is.
Social networking is a big, giant popularity contest. That unsettling desire to have X amount of followers, X amount of likes, X amount of friends? It’s all part of one grand scheme. The fact is that, as glamorous as one’s Instagram pictures look, and as hysterical as someone seems to be on Twitter, that’s not a reflection of the fabulous or comedic nature of that person’s life. It is only a demonstration of perfecting the art form of fooling everybody around them and having too much time on their hands to even do so.
Of course, there are those who would argue that they do have entertaining accounts and profiles because they want to put their best foot forward. Why would anyone upload an unappealing photo or say something dull and boring? It’s definitely not a crime to make yourself look good, and any human trying to thrive in this world obviously wants to make a good impression. This isn’t about that.
This is for the people that over-do it. Unless you’re an heir to a fortune or a familiar face on the television screen, you don’t get a million followers by just being yourself and putting your best foot forward, you get a million followers by wasting your steps and your time, trying so hard to a point where you’re not yourself anymore.
The other problem with those who try too hard to sell themselves on social networks is the false essence of success. While that one guy you’re following might have 50+ retweets/favorites for everything he posts, think of all the significant things he could be doing with his time. He could be the popular Internet guy now, but it’s guys like him who are going to be working for that quiet guy on Twitter, who worked his way to the top instead of wasting his valuable time and effort tweeting. Tweeting, nonetheless, on a social network that probably won’t be around or relevant in years to come. Think about that.
It’s good to be that quiet guy on Twitter. We’re not saying “quiet” in the sense of boring, of course. You obviously have a Twitter account for a purpose. Just keep in mind that not every little shred of a thought is golden, nor does it absolutely have to be shared.
There’s nothing worse than seeing that one follower tweet about every moment and every experience at ten minute intervals. If tweets were recited orally, that’s the one follower that would’ve been smacked a long time ago. No one likes someone who talks too much. And they definitely hate the person who tweets too much. We’re sure that pedicure is just as bad as you think it is. And we’re sure you’re tired at work. And we believe you when you tell us what and how many drinks you had last night. We don’t care. No one cares, and that’s the bottom line.
That might be a little harsh for some people to hear, but it’s the truth. Your life is your life and you’re welcome to do with it what you will, but you have to understand that not everybody is as interested in your life as you are with your own.
Rather than giving all your followers every bit of information about your daily life, try giving them a sense of wonder for a change. That’s the one thing that can gather more attention than anything you can say. No one is going to be curious about your life if you feed them its contents. However, the less you say, the more curious people will become, and the more intriguing your life will seem. And once again, this all goes back to the art of social networking, which goes hand in hand with the art of fooling.
Social networking and the Internet is home to a whole other world, one in which most of our generation is living in today. And the art of fooling people via social networks is one you don’t necessarily have to master or avoid, just one you have to understand.
You have to realize that the various profiles and accounts are not reflections of people’s lives, they’re carefully constructed to be a reflection of what they think they lives are. There is a saying: “Believe half of what you see and none of which you hear.” So now imagine someone feeding you images of their lives and carefully picking the words they want to share with you. The Internet version of that saying would be: “Believe none of what you see and doubt the source of what you hear.”
Again there is nothing wrong with putting your best foot forward and making a good impression, but you have a better chance of getting a genuine impression with physical contact, not through social networks.
Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me. Fool me online, and I’m a fool too.
Kathy Polo | Elite.