WE ARE WHAT WE SHARE

We live in a digital world where Internet is a part of our daily life. We spend 4 to 7 hours a day on social platforms, where it could potentially reach thousands of strangers. So before posting stuff online do we ever think, what are we trying to say and to whom? Facebook is one of the main social platforms to find information about others, whether you are trying to get to know your course mates, or employers looking for their new employees.

Sharing operates in many different ways. It’s a way of communication, and we connect with others through feelings, opinions and emotions.[1] We display our tastes and things we find meaningful, and circulate collections of music and images that matter to us [1]. Instead of just reading, watching and listening, we are urged to share our ideas, images, information and entertainment. But why? Is this the only way to communicate with someone or to find people with the same interests? Or is it actually to seek attention? I think we live in a culture where the ultimate reward for most of people is attention, where all the followers and ‘likes’ for our posts make a difference. It is one of our human needs to feel that we are wanted or someone cares about us. We care about status too, if it depends on how funny or smart we are, people are paying attention to all this, and the feedback reflects back to the status.

Charles Leadbeater wrote that ‘In the economy of ideas that the web is creating, you are what you share — who you are linked to, who you network with and which ideas, pictures, videos and links or comments you share’ (Graham 2016: 2)[1]. It all builds a story about the writer, which tells a lot about person, but it is not always the truth.

I’ve experienced it myself, after following the blogger for a few years, who I suddenly met on the street. I had a feeling that I already knew her, I knew where she lived, I knew her family members, her hobbies and eating habits. You feel like you already know everything about that person, but in real life in many cases it is deceiving. In my case, the blogger I had followed didn`t actually look the same as in her posts. You actually don`t know their personality, just what they choose to share about themselves within social media.

So we should always keep in mind that not everything people choose to share is the truth. In most of the cases people just choose to share highlights of their life, which leads the followers to believe they have “the perfect life”. So you are an artist and everyone else online is your audience. So what kind of story are you telling online?

1. Meikle, G. (2016) Social media. 1st ed.