Having a version of yourself that only certain people see is nothing new. We all do it. At work, you behave differently than you do when you’re out with your friends or with your family. But, the core of who you are is still intact. We simply tend to alter, or adjust, ourselves based on who we are with.
What about your online self? When it comes to our digital lives there is more room for the crafting of a persona. Behind a screen, the possibilities for who we can become are limitless.
As you navigate the digital world, you’ve probably come across the term ‘branding’.
Companies have been doing this forever. They craft a unique story that helps them stand out to their potential customers. But now, individuals find themselves trying to stand out – to say ‘I’m here. Look at me.’ We began branding ourselves.
We alter, or adjust, our personality online. Putting together the most unique, the most outstanding pieces of who we are into a tidy, neat package for the world to see. On the surface, this is no different than being on your best behavior at work.
Branding can be as simple as making sure all the pictures of you binge drinking in college are gone. Or developing a elevator pitch for your LinkedIn profile. Perhaps it’s easier for you to interact with people online than in person.
But branding can go far beyond these little tweaks. At times, our online selves become such a perfectly molded impression of a human being that are no longer recognizable – they cease to be real.
Which is why I love Kaitlyn Bristowe’s #realstagram movement.
In a post to her Instagram followers, Bristowe wrote, “From my last post. Same wall, same camera, same angle, no make up, no extensions, no filters…No problem. Once a week let’s post a real pic. A pic that shows we are confident enough to be happy with who we are. Because what’s more beautiful than that!! #realstagram”
This week she posted a second photo with the hashtag #realstagram.
Fans and friends alike have rallied around her, posting their own #realstagram photos. Including, Witney Carson from Dancing with the Stars:
Those who have the platform, like Kaitlyn, can foster a real conversation around who we are online and who we are in real life. Kaitlyn hopes to show young girls, women, and men that the perfection you see online is crafted – it’s molded.
The line between adjusting your personality and crafting an entirely different one is blurred. But when we become someone else completely, we run the risk of loosing a self beyond the digital world.