The Social Networking Mask

Social Networking kind of creeps me out just a little bit. I think it’s because you never know if people are being quite truthful, they can shape an online identity completely different from their normal life…case in point Catfish. This movie was the extreme I know, but how many people lie or withhold the truth just a little bit to make themselves seem cooler than they really are?

It could be as small as taking 200 profile pictures (holding the camera above your head of course, goodbye double chin or chins) of yourself until you find the right pose that makes you look 10kg skinnier or even photoshopping your picture. What’s wrong with looking like your real self? If you’re that worried about the way you look use a funny photo of your cat as your profile picture. Or maybe you are doing the withholding information trick…I used to use this one. When I first started working as a wedding photographer I was embarrassed that I wasn’t booking weddings every weekend, so I would deliberately stay off Facebook and Twitter on Saturdays. This way no one could prove that I hadn’t been at a wedding, like all the other photographers. When the truth was I spent the day sitting at home in my PJs stressing about how I was going to get people to book me. I know it sounds so silly now, but in my head it made sense…even if you aren’t busy yet make people think you’re busy. Instead of sitting in my PJs stressing, I really should have been out practising taking photos…maybe then I would have gone full-time sooner.

Then there are the big liars…the Catfish liars. The ones who claim other peoples work as their own, lie about what they do for a living and sometimes even steal other people’s faces to use as their own. This just makes me sad, how crap must you feel about yourself to have to do this? I don’t get mad at people when I hear this kind of stuff, I just feel sorry for them.

Truth is something that can get easily lost in the social networking realm. People ‘like’ things that they don’t really like, they comment so they can be heard and noticed instead of being encouraging…I know, I’ve done it. But I don’t want to be that person, the person who uses others to further my career and then casts them aside once I’ve gotten everything I can from them (even if it’s only online). So a while ago I made the change, truth first. The person you see online will be the same person you see in real life…this may not be as nice as ‘fake Amanda’ because real Amanda is pear shaped, regularly gets food stuck in her teeth, watches and loves Glee (I know I’ll lose a few friends with that one), doesn’t buy free range eggs and didn’t shoot a wedding last weekend. Not cool, but all true.

In the spirit of truth here is a very unattractive photo of myself.