Has Social Media Made Us All Liars?

The talking heads who label themselves social media gurus have instructed me to spend extra time cultivating a killer headline so that readers won’t skip over my blog posts to go look at cat pictures.

I understand where the experts are coming from and as a content producer I relate to the fear of not having my very important work read by the people.

Those of you who know me will read that last paragraph and wonder if I it was served with a double dose of snark and insouciance or left plain on a plate.

You might do well to remember or learn this about me.

I am a child of the seventies a time of bad fashion and silly television shows.

We were harder and meaner than the kids today. I would have gone Sweathog on you and told you to shove a hose up your nose or some such thing.

Our playgrounds toys were made of metal and you played on them regardless of whether it was cold enough to make polar bears cavort with joy or hot enough to cook a steak upon.

There were no tears shed in either circumstance, at least not in public.

Don’t get me started on how much second hand smoke we inhaled, how we played outside unsupervised and rode in cars without seat belts.

Just trust me when I say you don’t want to mess with a seventies kid because if you get our way we’ll cut you and then hop back onto our 10 speeds and Big Wheels and ride home because we can hear 87 moms screaming ‘Dinner!’

Has Social Media Made Us All Liars?

A while back some friends and I were talking about what it would take to make something go viral online and I told them I was torn about it.

Torn because if I create something that goes viral I want it to be special and meaningful. I want it to be something that I was proud of and would present me in a proper light.

Torn because I don’t want to be so controlling that I only produce content that I would be proud of if it went viral and frustrated because it doesn’t feel honest to me.

I teach my children to not worry about what others think and tell them to live a life that let’s them go to sleep at night feeling like they did their best no matter what happens.

Yet I also know we live during a time when you need to use your judgment about what you put online because you can get yourself in a significant amount of trouble.

If you go around chanting racist songs and or promoting hate speech you are asking for trouble but I am not really talking about the obvious stuff.

It is the inside jokes and off color content that doesn’t always render well because it’s questionable and or easily misunderstood.

How many times have we read/heard apologies from people saying they made a terrible mistake and or were misunderstood.

Some of those apologies were delivered by people who really did make a mistake and some by people who deserve to be taken to task.

The net result of this is I know people who significantly limit what they will post online because they are afraid of the consequences.

You can say that you have nothing to hide and that may be true but there is some truth too in saying that sometimes people misunderstand what you have posted.

Honest misunderstandings can go all sorts of different directions.

Flotsam and Jetsam

A point of clarification, I am not worried that my as of yet unwritten viral post/photo will be offensive or embarrassing.

I am more torn by wondering why I spend any time worrying that this unwritten thing will be considered Kardashian Lite and not War and Peace.

It makes me think of a Mark Twain quote and how sometimes it can be advantageous to produce content that everyone can consume.

waterYou can tie that into my general philosophy about communicating be it for personal or professional reasons.

The best way to do so is to tell a story that is easy to understand.

Sometimes we are inclined to write our stories as if we are still in a college setting and are trying to impress our professors with how strong our understanding of the topic is but the thing is we aren’t in college any more.

So maybe it is not just easier but better to use plain wrap and not the fancy $588 gift wrap we could paper our words with.

Got to run now, after my Sweathogs reference I ‘Googled’ Welcome Back Kotter and remembered half the cast is dead and those that are alive look ancient.

It makes me feel older than I know I am.

Maybe I’ll go on Facebook and swap out my profile picture with one that is about 10 years old. Better hairline and fewer wrinkles.

It would make sense wouldn’t it, Facebook is where we go to see if we are aging better than our friends and relatives. Or would that make me a social media liar…

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4 Comments

  1. Brenda Lee March 12, 2015 at 9:53 am

    Wha!!!! Hey Josh! I loved the 70’s and 80’s. I guess I’m a tweener. 🙂 I totally get what you saying about social media and you’re right. It cracks me up to see folks my age user their high school pic as their profile picture. Really? Own your age douche bag! Anywho, thanks for this post and the giggles. Just love your writing style!

    • Josh March 13, 2015 at 12:44 am

      @JustBrenLee:disqus I liked the 80s too, in some ways I liked it better because I was older and more independent.
      I probably change profile pictures more frequently than many people so it is not unusual for me to rotate some older stuff in there but when I do it is usually so old no one really thinks I still look like that.
      But if they do I’d like to shake their hand and buy them a drink. 🙂
      I appreciate the compliment, thank you and hope you are having a great day.

  2. Larry March 11, 2015 at 8:04 pm

    I am around your age though I think of myself as a child of the 80’s. In truth I straddle both eras and certainly know just what you are describing above.
    Part of what you said about viral content sounded like a sexual encounter – I want it to be real and meaningful, etc. Funny.

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