One of the most consistent pieces of advice I have received throughout the past few years is that I should professionalize all of my social media profiles.
This is upsetting for me, mostly because I’ve been sh*t-posting since before sh*t-posting was even a real thing. My parents have wearily recounted (many times, on different occasions) all the absurd things I’ve said over the course of my life. It started when I started mixing words to be petty at the ripe age of one and to this day I will say dumb jokes to my mom, at which point she resignedly look away and pretend she never heard it.
I’ve been an avid Twitter user since I was 16. Good content creation on this platform is akin to art. The skill to put together a good jokes and quickly create context within a restraining word/character economy deserves way more credit, and most of my favourite internet personalities exist on Twitter.
Social media is becoming an increasingly integrated part of human interaction and social connection. Even with busy lives and distance between us, I’m still able to my friends who are in different cities across the world; yes, we still talk on the phone, text, Facetime, etc., but those activities take time and it’s hard to keep that up on a regular basis with everyone.
However, in a single tweet, I can learn of the tragic dating incident my friend was entangled in; a single Instagram photo can let me know that my BFF on exchange in Copenhagen went for a weekend hiking trip in Norway.
As much as the baby boomer haterz think we rely on our phones too much, social media has really become a simple way to stay connected with a large network of people.
So back to professionalizing. I can see it in some places: obviously, you should have to keep it clean-cut on LinkedIn. That just makes sense. But TWITTER?
I’m not saying that we should feel free to post anything on social media (i.e. free speech does not mean spreading hate speech; basic human rights should still apply), but making people give up their ability to express themselves online in any way that isn’t strictly professional seems pretty unhealthy.
Yeah, I could just talk about my professional activities and accomplishments on Twitter, but a) I think 90% of my followers would find me irritating and b) that’s what LinkedIn is for.
Twitter is such an interesting forum for memes, internet culture, and jokes. It’s a place for sharing wittily crafted personal anecdotes. It allows for social and political commentary in a factual or comical way. For thought sharing. It’s pretty isolating to give up the connections I’ve forged with people over our senses of humour, our tragic dating lives, and our ability to share sub-prime stories of ourselves. Frankly, seeing other people be imperfect on Twitter kind of makes me feel less alone.
This blog post came from this very sad place where I was scrolling through my old tweets and deleting some out of fear of being unemployed forever. I don’t know how to reconcile the fact that being a real adult means having to appear perfect on the internet. I’m exhausted and frightened by the very idea.
And that’s okay.
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