Social Media is a Risky Business

Do you remember the Starburst commercial about walking contradictions? AKA the single most accurate description of the human race as well as a deliciously squishy candy.

While ridiculous, it’s a perfect example of my feelings towards social media and my job. As well as how I can be both anxious and social at the same or how I’m both a very private person who also loves to share parts of my life online.

This is one of the contradictions I struggle with the most. I am a social media manager and content curator for a tech startup — it’s my job to be loud and highly active on the internet. It’s how I feed myself and provide a good life for my fish.

So far, I’ve been able to get by having two separate internet selves. One, my online work persona and the other my very private and safe personal persona. The former is the most authentic to who I am in real life.

But as my role changes so has the demand for my two selves to merge and for my personal to become ever more visible to the public. I’m no longer just being asked to write pieces on tech, it’s much more than that — or at least it feels that way. Before, I could separate myself from my writing, not take the criticism personally. But now it feels as though I’m being asked to reveal pieces of myself and ultimately open myself up to more targeted criticism and vulnerability online. A thought that instantly sends waves of anxiety throughout my body.

Side Note: don’t watch “The Internet Ruined My Life” if you’re having this internal struggle. Just saying.

Now it’s certainly not all doom and gloom, part of me is excited about the new possibilities this merger could bring, but the unknowns are what make me nervous. At the end of the day social media is a risky business. Exposure, both good and bad, is how those in my industry make a living. I love what I do but that doesn’t mean I can’t have hesitations about it. Like I said before, I’m a series of contradictions.

In an uber connected world where we share everything, I am struggling to maintain my digital autonomy. I doubt the separation of my online selves will survive the ever evolving social landscapes as the demand for my private self to become more accessible increases.

As I navigate through this demand I have to ask myself: Is is possible to stay private in a world where social media and constant connectivity are how I make my living?

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