You know that line in The Verve’s song Bittersweet Symphony: ‘But I’m a million different people from one day to the next’? Well I would definitely say that due to the multi-faceted and complex nature of the human being, this statement is quite accurate. But I would like to apply this phrase in the context of blogging and social media as it relates to our personal style.
(Oh hey, you guys have already seen this photo before!)
As a blogger and instagrammer, my professional field is dominated by curation of inspirational/aspirational imagery as well as the actual creation of curateable/inspirational/aspirational imagery. It is also intrinsically linked to the individual behind the instagram account or blog, which inevitably creates a situation in which both one’s personal and professional identity become intertwined.
This can be all well and good, especially because bloggers and social media influences are able to share their love for all things visual, but what about all those moments that were not “instagram-worthy,” well lit enough, or adhered to the incorrect color scheme? What about all of the other aspects that make us who we are that don’t seem to make it onto our social media channels and blogs because they fall outside of our proposed content?
Here is the thing: Humans are more complex than the interests they care to share on social media and the things we do extend beyond the carefully selected images with perfect lighting and Scandinavian or bohemian vibes. Now I am not trying to turn this into a conversation on whether or not said curated image is fake or not due to elements of it being staged or not. But what I am saying is that as much as those beautifully curated images represent your tastes and attitudes because they are of genuine interest to you, there are just as many things that represent your interests and tastes that get left out.
Which makes me feel like those of us who work in the social media world are left to confront the sobering truth that we live with a bit of a split personality: our online curated persona and the person we are when our iphones and digital cameras are not near by. Both genuinely represent parts of who we are, but due to the nature of working in the social media world, we create this extremely severe separation between the two which is actually palpable.
The reason why I have been thinking about this lately is because ever since I created a personal instagram account to offset my business one, I cannot help but compare “who I am” on my private account with “who I am” on my business account. I love aesthetically pleasing cafes, trips to the museum, slow food, and interior design. But I also love dancing until 3 am, playing pool in a smoky bar, skateboarding until I’m drenched in sweat, and getting messy at gigs. My professional social media face is this environmentally conscious bohemian nomad. My personal social media face seems is this punk who seems to always be having a good time with friends.
When I think about it further though, this is highly comparable to any other person with an office job. You have your work clothes, and the professional face you put on at work. That person is still you 100%. But you wouldn’t roll in on Monday with Saturday night’s outfit on, cigarette hanging loosely from your lips, hung over, with a bottle of beer in your hand. Okay, you might. But then you would probably be looking to get fired or working for a very very laid back start up here in Berlin (jokes!)
Both of these people represent two different sides of the same person, but one is the work-appropriate version and the other the free-time version. Working in the social media world is the same with the only exception being that since a social influencer is representing themselves, the question of authenticity comes into play a little bit more than it does for the office worker. Although should it really? If the face you show professionally on social media is every bit as genuine as the face you show in your private time, than who the fuck is anyone else to question if you are genuine or not?
I will say though, that the situation can become complicated when you end up putting pressure on yourself. For instance, while I feel a lot more free to post more aspects of myself here on LFB, due to the nature of instagram and it’s laser focus on aesthetics, I feel some sort of responsibility to continue to pigeonhole my public instagram account as some sort of bohemian dream world. But it’s my bloody instagram account innit? If I want to post something that falls outside of those confines I should damn well do as I please.
I have just kind of breached the surface of this topic, and it’s hard to write about this subject without cracking a laugh and thinking of the absurdity of our generation and how woefully self-absorbed we are. But if you pause to actually think about this topic further, it’s actually quite an interesting question to do with identity and representation in the digital age. I’m okay with knowing that who I am when I am working and who I am in my free time are just two extended versions of myself, but as some kind of thought experiment, I am definitely going to try to see if I can merge both worlds together a bit more so that I don’t end up having some sort of weird post-post-modern identity crisis brought upon by instagram – because that my friends would just be a representation of all things horrible in our modern world.
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