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Media, Personal

“For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world, and forfeit his soul?”

Mark 8:36 for reference…This is something that I’ve been thinking about for awhile…

Social media is a public thing. Well, actually, the Internet in general is a public thing, for the most part. We post stuff on our Twitter and Facebook pages, our blogs and RSS feeds knowing that anyone and everyone who wants to can read and judge us based on it.

That’s why I love Twitter so much.

I got into Twitter long before the media hype drove kids with Sidekicks away from Myspace and to this “hip new thing”. I tweeted more on personal issues and generally, things that I was thinking at the time. I had no followers and no one knew that I was on Twitter, or what Twitter was for that matter. It was a happy time.

Then I started hanging out with local Bostonian #socialmediarockstars, gained more of a following (I’m at about 150 now, not a lot to most but a huge number for me) and got a little bit of attention. While I still tweet about life, and how I feel about my job, and relationships and whatnot, I’ve added a bit more social commentary to my feed, some tidbits on social media and links to my blog entries.

Still, I get comments from people saying “Maybe you shouldn’t talk about [insert topic here] on your Twitter feed” or “You come off as so [insert emotion here]. Maybe you should think about how other people are going to look at you”. And then I die a little inside.

In the real world, I can’t say the f-word at work. I can’t talk about certain things at home or I’ll offend someone. I can’t hang out with the upper elite because I’m poor and cant’ afford to buy Fendi bags and shop at fru-fru places. Et cetera. Et cetera. Et cetera.

In the world of social media, I can’t say screw my job. I can’t be a part of the cool kids on Twitter group until I RT something from the “right” person and manage to get their attention. I can’t talk about certain things or I’ll offend someone. Et cetera. Et cetera. Et cetera.

As usual, these are all fences that I’ll be jumping and are jumping now. I’m not saying that these are things that hold me back. I’m just troubled by the fact that, as your get exposure in the world of social media, you are somewhat called to strip away things. Like a rocket as it accelerates towards the universe, I apparently have to discard all of the things that make me me so that I’m suitable to make it to the top.

In the real world, as people become celebrities, people become much more interested in what they are like as humans. However, it’s difficult for them to maintain humanism as they are placed into clear plastic boxes with air holes that they are forced to transmit life through.

In the world of Twitter, as you get more followers, people become, it seems, more interested in how you can be less like you and more like everyone else as you’re coaxed into a format under the guise that “this is how you’re supposed to do it”. Except for celebrities, the people with the most followers in my friends list just tweet about themselves. But not in the “I feel…” or “I love…” way. It’s all about the “I’m so great and I did this” or “I’ll be here. Come check me out” or “I wrote/said this. RT or buy it”.

So I ask, as you gain more followers, do you lose your self?

I know that you have to be safe. I totally understand. For example, instead of having my Foursquare post to Twitter, it just pings to my Foursquare friends, for safety reasons. I don’t mention the name of my job, or the names of my employees when I tweet about my frustration at work. I don’t even use my real name on my profile so that I’m not super searchable. However, I do realize that none of that is 100% fool-proof.

I recognize the need to somewhat censor myself in social media. But I didn’t get into this for the “branding” or the “exposure”. I joined Twitter so that I could keep track of my thoughts. I feel like Twitter is poetry, in that it’s the split second emotion that I’m feeling at the time. If, as more people start following me, I have to stop being me, stop being the naturally transparent, down-to-earth person that I am, then really, what’s the point? I’d really rather have no followers at all and still do what I do than have 1,000 who I can’t be myself around.

“Rip yourself open. Sew yourself shut.” The goddess Brandy Alexander quoted that in “Invisible Monsters.” I feel like social media is the scissors and the needle. I know it sounds crazy.

I’m interested in other people’s ideas on this. Am I the only one who feels like there are too many dos and don’ts to hang with the cool kids?

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Discussion

One thought on ““For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world, and forfeit his soul?”

  1. Being new to the whole social media “networking” world myself, I enjoy reading other peoples thoughts on a myriad of issues. Whether you Tweet, Blog, Facebook etc.. I find people interesting and like the idea of having an outlet to express yourself. A way to be above the masses so to speak.

    What I find laughable is the number of people who have made themselves the “netiquette” police. Social Media Snobs who think they’re the guardians of the Gate. 5 things to do, 6 not to do, 7 reasons to… all to get more followers. I wonder if it ever crosses their mind that a lot of people could care less.

    I say do what you feel. If some people find it interesting great and if others don’t, oh well. Whether your audience is one person or a million it doesn’t matter. As long as you like what you see in the mirror you should be comfortable with it.

    Anyways, the Blog is hype (homage to early 90s slang) and I enjoy it.

    Posted by Rex Regis | August 26, 2009, 5:58 am

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