With a Little Effort, Anyone Can Be Authentic Online

You can’t throw an iPhone in 2018 without hitting an anxious person. And that person would probably be on her iPhone, tweeting about how Twitter is giving her anxiety. The irony of our inability to disconnect from the very connections causing us mental anguish is undeniable, but I believe there exists, amid the online cacophony of data snoops and catfish and capitalistic ploys, an antidote to the dumpster fire, and it doesn’t even involve putting our phones down. You may have heard of it: It’s a little thing I like to call authenticity. Below, five ways to get started today.

1. Make authenticity a priority.

Some may tell you to pursue views, clicks or followers, but I’m here to tell you there’s no more noble pursuit than that of authenticity. If you want to fight against all the bullshit online, it’s paramount that you understand the importance of being honest, being you, and most crucially, being true to your personal brand. Make it a priority or call it quits right now!!!

2. Consider your strategy.

Once you’ve deemed it important, it’s time to strategize. Developing an authentic persona doesn’t come easy. Consider a few of these questions: What kind of audience am I looking to attract? How do they behave online? How can I emulate the best of them in a way that feels true to me? Where do my natural instincts differ from theirs and how can I tuck those away for private use only? Authenticity is a delicate balance: It requires you be honest enough to seem genuine, but not so honest that you push people away who disagree with you. Remember there should be a straight line between being authentic and being likable, ideally by all.

3. Be willing to put in the work.

Social media is not set up in a way that reflects real life — instead it merely highlights “important” moments, rubbing away the nitty gritty. That’s why being authentic online is not for the faint of heart. It might mean taking 600 selfies just to find one where you look perfectly “you.” It might mean copping to flaws you don’t actually have. It might mean posting even when you’re feeling depressed and sick of social media. In those moments, why not share those feelings on your channels? Regular posting is key — don’t let anyone forget you exist. Be a social media machine!

4. Track responses and pivot based on them.

If you want to reap the benefits of authenticity, closing your eyes to how people respond to you is a tantamount to throwing your hands up and saying “I’m enough.” Are you? See tip #3. Laziness will get you nowhere. Collecting feedback is an important part of understanding what parts of you are worthy and what parts need to be changed and/or approved upon immediately. How else will you achieve the most scaleable version of authenticity? Every so often, take the time to analyze that data, reconfigure your strategy accordingly, and get back at it with a different, better version of you.

5. Above all, just be yourself.

As many inspirational posters have said before me: “There is only one you.” And if you’re willing to dedicate time, energy and ingenuity to packaging the most optimized version of that you (or anyone, really) online, no one could possibly call you a fraud. Authenticity forever.

Haley Nahman

Haley Nahman

Haley Nahman is the Features Director at Man Repeller.

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