Remember Sociality Barbie? Her Instagram was on point, yet it was designed to make you feel a little uncomfortable. More than just an insanely slick feed, through sharp satire she raised a very important question.
How do we define authenticity? In today’s world of nicities, online personas and trends how do we know what is truly genuine? Sadly reality is often not what is said or shown.
To quote the words of the creator of Sociality Barbie, “I created the account to make fun of the people who were using the ‘liveauthentic’ hashtag on Instagram. All their pictures looked alike to me and I couldn’t tell them apart anymore so it just didn’t seem all that authentic.”
Authenticity is being of "of undisputed origin and not a copy; genuine.” Being authentic means you are "true to one's own personality, spirit, or character is sincere and authentic with no pretensions.”
This sounds dreamy. The type of person we’d like to be, and the type of person we’d like to be friends with. We all aim to be ourselves and genuine. Yet somehow truly authentic people are becoming somewhat of an endangered species.
"Some people are magic, and others are just the illusion of it" - Beau Taplin.
The very process of trying to be authentic ironically takes away from the very nature of being authentic. However let’s embrace the irony and delve into this paradox. Let's try find our own inner magic...
Knowing oneself is very cornerstone of being authentic. Do a bit of soul searching and take an honest look at yourself. One of the greatest things we can learn is to be comfortable in our own skin. Figure out what’s important to you. What’s essential for you to be able to be yourself?
We all want to be accepted and liked by everyone, Facebook merely tapped into this universal longing - and what a hit the like has been. Stop trying to get everyone to like you, that’s a long road to being miserable. Being a people pleaser is synonymous with compromising yourself. Re-read point one. Once you've comfortable in your own skin the need for affirmation from others wanes. Slowly, but surely...
Once you know who you are you have a better idea of what you want. Authentic people don’t just follow the status quos or fufill societal expectations. They forge their own path be it across career, relationships or life goals. They aren’t afraid to speak their mind when necessary. They can express themselves and be vulnerable.
Consistency over flaking
Be consistent with your words and your actions. Do what you say you will. No one appreciates a flake. Say what you mean. Be straightforward. Authentic people take the no BS approach to life. They don’t say something just to make someone happy. They have integrity. You can trust what they say to your face is what they’ll also say when you’re not around.
An authentic person isn't the same in every situation. They don't have one game face they show to the world. If it's not your day don't pretend it is. People will appreciate your honesty, disclosure after all breeds intimacy. Part of being authentic is the ability to act true to yourself in every situation. This changes with variables. You wouldn't talk to your client the same way you'd talk to your children.
Be faulty not flawless
Admit your faults. Don’t live in a shiny fake world of just positivity, this is sadly not one based in reality. One of the most refreshing traits someone can boast is being open about their own weaknesses. Embrace imperfection. Take responsbility for your own failures and short comings. This helps make you less judgemental of others as well.
"Perfection is the antithesis of authenticity." - Willie Garson.
We end where we started - with Sociality Barbie. How does authenticity translate into your online world?
There's a saying that on social media you compare your behind the scenes with someone else's highlights reel. Yet this is kinda the nature of the game. Don't post all your woes, or personal problems online. That doesn't make you authentic, save those conversations for real friends.
There is a power in storytelling. Skip the bragging tone, and try speak as if talking to a close friend.
Social media for all its perceived flaws actually provides us a tool to exercise our creativity. Use it as a form of self expression, channeling the creativity we all have instore. You'll inspire yourself and who knows maybe others too.
Want something that will shake your online world more than Sociality Barbie? One episode of Black Mirror 'Nosedive' is set is an eerily not too distant dystopian future. Social media and rankings rule the land in this creepily nice world.
Back to the world of reality. Think of people you know who embody the qualities of authenticity? Think of what you appreciate about them, and how this could translate into your own life. Then start that soul searching process.
"Just be your authentic self because there's nothing sexier or more beautiful than that." - Carol Leifer