There is no secret that social media is filled with a lot of fake things. Everyone wants authenticity so they can be able to connect with people. That’s sort of where the rise of “relatable” YouTubers started because people enjoyed seeing people with platforms make self-deprecating jokes and act normal. But then this brought a new situation. People trying to connect on a deeper level and showing transparency where you feel like you know them. But is too much transparency a bad thing? What are we really sharing online? Is there a limit where something is too personal to share? Or how do we navigate someone being transparent where it seems like a humble brag? Let’s dive deep into the need to be transparent.
Let’s Share It All
Let’s be honest, we love to share everything. This may be super TMI and weird but I can remember refreshing Instagram to see when someone would post about someone’s wedding because I knew it was happening and there would be pictures. I’m a sucker for a good wedding, okay. But when good things happen you expect them to go up online because it’s almost weird if it doesn’t. When I get good news, the first thing I want to do is tweet it, even though I’m sure no one will care as much as my close friends and family do. But I still do it.
On the flip side, there has been a rise in people sharing their misfortunes. Yes, I do this too. People react to extreme emotions so when we share both spectrums we know that it will get a reaction. We are so addicted to sharing things to our followers even if its the bad because we know people will engage. It’s a knee jerk reaction when something happens to immediately turn online and post it. Some things aren’t bad. Happy moments need to be shared and the struggles can help others secretly dealing with the same thing.Is too much transparency online a good thing? Click To Tweet
You Win Some, You Lose Some
Let’s address the elephant in the room and something that can even seem hypocritical with this post. Sometimes we can never win. It’s bad if we post things that seem too fake and also if it seems like we’re spilling too much of our lives. On YouTube, for example, I’ve already seen videos talking about “relatable” YouTubers and analyzing their content to pieces. It’s gotten to the point that being fake is bad but seeming to relatable is too. What is the balance? Or can we simply not please everyone no matter what?
What’s the Deal With Transparency Then?
Transparency isn’t bad. It’s important for people, especially influencers, to be honest. Drew Gooden has a great video talking about YouTubers losing relatability and their content no longer connects to their audience. It’s polar extremes. Some post really extreme versions of their life and constant travel pictures and luxuries. While other people just want someone to reach out to them. People want to feel like someone understands their struggles and day to day issues. That’s why “relatable” YouTubers started to rise and brands like Glossier became popular because people wanted to be real and not over the top. Being transparent online allows people to see our struggles and shows that we’re not perfect. Personally, whenever I share something that feels too good to the fact that I feel like I’m boasting or fake, I try to post something that shows that I am struggling. It’s one thing or another. If I share what I’m excited about, I feel like it’s rubbing it in someone’s face. Is transparency only relating to the bad things in life?
Here’s a very important point to make. I’ve talked about this briefly before but we don’t owe our followers our life. People who follow us online, even if they’re acquaintances or people you went to school with don’t need to know every detail of our lives. It is okay to share big moments. I love seeing people get married, have kids, graduate, you name it. And I want to know when a friend is struggling and needs help. But we have to analyze when we’re overdoing it. I don’t need to know the “he said/she said” part of the story or the nitty-gritty details of a situation. There are things that are completely off-limits for me to share on the internet as a personal choice. When I tell people in person about it, they get surprised. The internet shouldn’t find things out first before your close friends and family.
A Tiny Example
One of my favorite worship leaders didn’t announce her relationship until she got engaged and people were so confused. But it brought a good point up. Her closest friends and family knew and they had been together for a while, despite not showing it on Instagram. Yet, as soon as she posted her engagement ring, followers questioned everything. People were trying to dig up who this guy was and asking how. In an interview, she said how she avoided posting him online because she didn’t want the pressure of people asking when they were getting married, having kids, etc. and she didn’t want to deal with that and wanted to grow her relationship without the opinions of people who aren’t their closest friends and family. She’s happily married now and posts things here and there but still keeps it quiet. We know enough about her life but not too much. It’s a perfect example of sharing enough but not too much.
The Meaning Behind It
Something I am working on myself is analyzing why I post something. I’ll post something on Instagram Stories and after a while just delete it because it would be something that doesn’t add anything to the conversation. But it helps me ask myself why I’m posting a certain thing. Is it just because I want attention or I want to make an impression? I feel like that’s where a lot of our need to post comes from. Are we overly sharing to compensate for something else? I know sometimes I overshare because I don’t know how to deal with something and it’s something I have to stop doing. Some situations are meant to be dealt privately and posting them online can actually be harmful. People’s opinions will creep in and we will be dealing with the attention and not the problem.
Complexity is Fine
People will always have a gray area. There are too many experiences, situations, and emotions that happen. Regardless of how hard we try, we can never be always happy or always in an upset mood. It’s about having a healthy balance. When someone’s life seems to good to be true or someone being relatable becomes too much of a gimmick, it becomes easier to tell who is doing things for attention. Share your highs and your lows, but don’t overshare them. Transparency can show people they aren’t alone in their struggles. But if it gets to the point where people know way too much and you aren’t dealing with the root cause of your struggles, then it’s time to step back. Transparency isn’t bad. We all need to be and it’s important to see. But people shouldn’t know everything about our lives. We have to learn what is necessary to share and how much of it to share.
So what are we really sharing online? What are your thoughts?