June 11, 2011

The Facebook You, and the REAL YOU.

Like many of us, I am connected using various social media outlets which I update daily (sometimes more) with photos and everything I do.   I have a personal Facebook page for friends and family only, a facebook fan page for my art, I tweet about everything I do, I sometimes remember to check my Linked In and I know there's been more.  I like these tools because they are content generated by me and I feel like I have some control over the online presence... you know... the "brand that is me".  But, I've caught myself asking this question lately:  Am I connecting with people in the right ways knowing what I know about social media? Do people think I am being "me" or a better alter ego?

For example, some of the best advice is "always stay true to yourself".  It's easy to use social media as a way to set up a virtual "you" and make your life seem more spectacular or amazing than it really is- we all have friends on Facebok who do this.  Ever heard Brad Paisley's song "I'm so much cooler online"?  (If not, you have to hear it). My true self is a nerdy artist who has had a life long obsession with horses and I secretly listen to country music when no one else is around.  I have no shame in that and I really do want it to be known... but for some reason, I do find myself posting pictures of myself all made-up and at a photo shoot... the much cooler "Model Valerie".  I have two very different realities... so how do I connect both worlds?  I certainly wouldn't want my Facebook friends to think I am trying to be cooler than I really am.

Riding with perfect posture.
Often I find myself asking after I have posted something... should I have posted that?  I make most of my decisions based upon A) Is it going to be ok if my mom or little cousins see it B) Is it going to be ok if a client, photographer or other industry person sees it and C) do I look good in the picture?  (kidding but who doesn't do that).  But one thing I don't want to do is ever come across like I am bragging or more special than anyone else.  My generation already has a bad rap for this sense of entitlement thing... and me being a "model" already gives me strike one.

I've concluded that there is just no hiding anything about yourself anymore, and why not put it out there before someone else does? This post was meant to show you a very real-deal side of me that I've realized I  don't usually post enough of, and people probably enjoy just as much, if not more than any of my adventures in the world as Zoolander.  I am reminded that the whole reason social media connects us so well in the first place is because of that personal, relatable and human element.  So, I'm going to leave you with the nerdiest picture I could find of myself with no shame.  I swear, my job makes me seem way cooler than I really am.  Now you see.

My Quarter Horse, Glows Skipper at the 2008 WSCA State Championships.  There is nothing cool about this photo, but I have nothing to hide.  This was one of the best days of my life.