I dare you to put up the ugly pictures of yourself on Facebook. Or Instagram. Or…whatever you kids play with these days. The kind of pics that look like you have a double chin, some bags under your eyes or just appear like you had no idea someone was taking a picture and caught you mid-blink.
We all have them.
I would guess that out of the thousands of pictures (ok…maybe hundreds) taken of me in the last year, only 25 or so I deemed fit to put on a website; yet I have been unwantingly tagged on occasion–thus the uglies have snuck in.
See that picture of me on the top right? That was a good day. It made the cut. Even if you do not care for long hair or handlebar staches, I do. I feel comfortable in that skin. I like the impression that gives off.
In terms of places or events I attend, I rarely put this information out in cyberspace. I will every so often, though I would prefer that people’s impression of me not include certain, uh, events. I have an image to maintain you know.
What is the message you are sending out to the world about yourself? Back in the “day” that decision was largely predicated on our wardrobe and bodily decisions for real life encounters: What style hair? Make up? Piercings? Tattoos? Fashion sense. How effective are we in communicating face to face with others?
In today’s “digital day” such decisions are still to be made, though we now have an additional component that lends us far greater control over the impression we send to others, namely through social networking. We are able to control the events people see, the specific words we use and the images of ourselves we like, and simply discard what we would rather not have others see or read in forming their perception of us.
Now all of us are certainly free to send off any impression we desire of ourselves to the world. This being said, here are a few helpful hints as you decide what kind of perception of yourself you want the world to perceive. As you send off pics, words, ideas, events and such off to cyberspace, perhaps it would be a good thing to keep these in mind.
- Be aware that every bit of information you send off to cyberspace will have an effect on you in some way big or, more often, small. It will give off an impression of you to the world. Often times we will never know of the effect because it frequently goes unmentioned. But it’s there. Don’t care? Your choice.
- If you are under the impression that just a select audience will see your cyberspace offerings, think again. If you are willing to drop a “fuck bomb” here or there, or worse (I personally believe a strategically placed “fuck bomb” can be effective at times) just know ALL living creatures can be privy to reading it. Even though there are ways to hide things from mom, it does not mean the dude who’s pissed at you cannot print it out and show her! Cool with that? Cool.
- Know that most online users can read between the lines, i.e. sense bullshit. For example, putting up pics of your self always at fun parties? Since life is not a constant party for most of us, most people will assume you have a great need to impress others and that your life is much more fun than it really is. Though your intended impression is, “Look at my fun life!” It may read more as, “Look at my gaping needs because my life is tragically sad.” Now this may be true or not, though that message can be sent. I find that users who constantly put up lovey-dovey pics alongside their significant other, often have a struggling relationship –as if a posted pic might change it. Even if people believe the erroneous perception, eventually the truth is discovered. Don’t care? Awesome.
- Careful of the philosophies you desire to espouse online. Be it religious, political, or philosophical, a wrong perception can be easily sent to others as (close your ears as I’m about to scream) SOCIAL NETWORKING IS NOT AN EFFECTIVE MEDIUM TO DISCUSS IN-DEPTH ISSUES THAT DESERVE THE RESPECT OF A MEDIUM THAT OFFERS ABILITY FOR DEEPER DIALOGUE! A blog will do just fine. Don’t care that people may get a wrong impression of you without the ability to further clarify your position? Fine. Just don’t be surprised when it happens.
- Providing personal information to the cyber world audience is a lot like getting a tattoo: It seemed a good idea at the time. For some, they have a life-long love for their chosen skin ink; for many others it was just not a good choice. I have chosen to be candid about most of my life online, though, to be sure, it was not flippant or “not thought out” decision -as my M.O. is allowing people in. I am far from an alarmist by nature, even if the threat is small, yet it still exists.
Go ahead. Put that ugly pic up on Facebook. Say something you really mean. Give the world a right impression. Or is it?