Opinion: Blogging – Writing truthfully under imaginary circumstances

by Mark Schaefer

One of the biggest ironies of the social web is that almost any post you read will pontificate about the need for “authenticity.” It has been repeated so many times we are beginning to believe it.

I heard a guru guy speak about this last week. Authenticity. Authenticity. Authenticity.

Yet his Twitter avatar photo is 10 years old. At least.

His blog is covered with badges about this list or that list he is starring on. Most powerful Twitter this or that.  Some of the lists are made up by his friends. Some of them are made up by him.

Most of his blog opinions are simply repeated quotes from the other gurus that he has commandeered as his own.

I’m not picking on him. We all do it, to some degree. Point is, we are NOT authentic. And why would you WANT to be?  Isn’t the social media “you” a lot better than the real you?  When was the last time you read a blog post about somebody being constipated, smelly, or horny? Do you really want that in your RSS feed? On the social web, I think people more often present the person they aspire to be.

Last week I had shoulder surgery. I have been sleep-deprived, wracked with pain, medicated, and working with one arm packed in ice. In this period, I haven’t been transparent about almost anything in my life, but I have been honest, writing about challenging issues that have been on my mind. I think that is a better contribution to the world than showing up as the whiney, miserable bitch-man that I authentically am at this moment!

But there is always an expectation for honesty.  Yes, there is value in that. Honesty. Truth, as we see it. Can we use those words more often?

Ladies and gentlemen, we are writing and connecting and tweeting in Oz.

In Wonderland.

Is anything as it seems?  Is anything authentic? In one way or another, everybody is pretending to be the Wizard of their world, pushing the buttons behind their curtain. Nothing wrong with that … as long as we can try to be truthful under these imaginary circumstances.



*Op-ed pieces and contributions are the opinions of the writers only and do not represent the opinions of Y!/YNaija.

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