As if you ordinarily invite us to see the real you, Halloween gave you the proper opportunity to pretend. That is pretend to try and fool us with your mask or costume.
At work I saw witches who believe they were wearing clothes becoming someone with a worse attitude. Ghosts who believe we don’t know they regularly hide from hard work. And, some French style maids who appeared in slightly more scanty clothes, basically wearing the same underwear that artificially pushes them in, up and out on the average Monday.
In other words, you’re not really fooling us the rest of the year. It’s just that Halloween gives you a little more permission to reveal yourself by pretending you are someone or something else.
The same is true on social media. You try to fool us, but we eventually know what’s really going on in your life.
On Facebook, I’ve begun a experiment that is pretty telling. Outside of my true friends, colleagues and former students, I am staying “friends” with people I really don’t know. I have about 500 stranger-friends, kind of like sister-wives.
As a trained sociologist now in business, I don’t have a better opportunity to watch a worldwide panorama of personal thoughts, societal mores and of course, what people photograph before they eat.
I don’t know if you’ve seen the same thing, but fundamentally I “see” people doing these things of social media:
- Amuse themselves
The current social media formats allow such a simple typology, because there’s so little subtly in any post, or more properly put: so few characters allowed.
Look at your Facebook. You see mostly short bursts of:
- Love: Anything quoting Mother Teresa
- Hate: Anything quoting Herman Cain or Ron Paul about immigrants, the unemployed or poor people
- Amusing: snide truisms like “the grass is greener where you water it.”
No matter what anyone of us tries to be, social media will eventually reveal us for whom we really are. The same is true for any other communication over time.
A very close friend who’s a psychiatric nurse had a date with someone who looked like a legitimate prospect for the dreaded/longed for long-term relationship. When he didn’t call her again, she moaned, “How could he not like me? I was much better than I really am!”
The spooky thing is, we will eventually see you for who you are. Consider being you earlier and more often.
Nance Rosen is the author of Speak Up! & Succeed. She speaks to business audiences around the world and is a resource for press, including print, broadcast and online journalists and bloggers covering social media and careers. Read more at NanceRosenBlog. Twitter name: nancerosen
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