Does The Social You Match the IRL You?

I worked several years ago with a young radio personality whose on-air persona was that of a smart-ass punk. Unfortunately, listeners weren’t accustomed to hearing a smart-ass punk on our station, so his was a polarizing tenure. On the other hand, listeners who met him in person found him charming. In real life encounters, he was warm and friendly. My daughter, then 5, thought he was the coolest thing going.

In the social media era, is your social media persona close to what you’re like in real life? It is sometimes surprising for me to meet a social media friend/contact IRL and find that she or he is a bit different from what I expected. More (or less) serious. More (or less) friendly. More (or less) engaging. Younger (or older).

Do you converse freely with others on Twitter when, in reality, you’re more of an introvert? Do you mainly just share thoughts about your business/profession on Facebook when, in fact, you’re a person with many interests? Do you brag about your accomplishments on LinkedIn when most people know you as a generally humble person? Are you a person who spends hours honing a simple business presentation but launches spontaneous social media rants with much less forethought?

Are your social media photos from years ago or are they of recent vintage? I’ll admit that my Twitter avatar was from late ’07 until I updated it last fall. My LinkedIn pic is from that ’07 session and due for an update—that’s on my long “to do” list for spring.

I hope I’m the same person when I’m posting on social media that I am when I’m chatting with you over coffee. Social media gives us an opportunity for self re-invention (which is not necessarily devious). It gives us an opportunity to put our best foot forward. But the social you (and I) should be not far removed from our real life selves.

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