This post is a continuation of an earlier post of mine from November 2020. I became inspired to write this post after finishing a route in a game and being too shy to write about it publicly.
That made me think a bit. What we post online, when attached to our real name and face, will be filtered most of the time, if not all the time. Would I have written about the game if I was using an anonymous account? This filter that I/we engage in is pretty interesting. I have friends who know me in real life, online friends, and there’s an overall feeling of discomfort around disclosing too much information. So yes, I’m completely aware of the filter that I put up on social media. And this isn’t just for potentially embarrassing or unhinged topics — the effort and time people put into editing their photos and making them look nice also counts. Sure, they might be posting for themselves, but part of it might be that they want their content to look presentable for others to see. But if it is posted just for yourself, would all of that still matter?
You’ve probably heard of the old phrase “Think before you speak” and I totally agree with this statement. But what would people look like if they didn’t have a filter at all? Judged and/or outcasted would be my guess.
I might try an experiment to see whether my content would differ if I used an anonymous account, specifically around photography. But I might be too lazy to go through with it. I guess only time will tell.
3 thoughts on “Authenticity? Part 2”
Adjusting based on the social setting and context is not necessarily being inauthentic. Changing the way we want to present ourselves on social media is no different than how our behaviour differs when we’re at the office, with our family, or with friends – like an ogre, there are layers to a person. In terms of editing photos to be posted, I feel like it’s pretty harmless and only marginally affects how people perceive you. It’s also somewhat of a conventional practice, so people who see you through the lens of social media wouldn’t find adding filters to a photo surprising or inauthentic. The only way it can be considered inauthentic is if the reality dramatically doesn’t live up to the expectations, such as in the case of over-embellishing a resume or posting photos of oneself with the absolute best angles + lighting + editing on dating apps. There was a video I recently watched where someone posted AI-generated travel and work photos in order to see if they could fool their friends with a constructed narrative on social media. Had they not come out to say that it was just a joke, it would have been extremely inauthentic.
Honestly, I do think that it wouldn’t be too terrible if most people didn’t have a filter. Having to attach your own reputation and image to something can make it harder to express whatever it is you want to express, but it doesn’t mean that what you want to post without that filter would be considered unhinged. It’s just a matter of what’s acceptable within the environment you’re in. How I behave with my friends is different than how I behave with my parents since there are things my friends will accept that I know my parents will not. Similarly, content creators may force themselves into niches as they build audiences that like only one facet of their work. I think creating an anonymous account to post photos on would be like writing under a pseudonym. While you would have to build a following from scratch, that following will have no preconceived notions on the content you want to produce.
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Hahaha, I like the ogre reference. That’s pretty clever. 😛
Adjusting based on social setting – I definitely see the parallel between that and the filters that people put up. When you put it that way, it just seems so normal now. It’s just something everyone does. I guess for me, it’s less of a matter of editing and more about posting X and not Y. So the question is, why am I posting about X but not Y? – Assuming that Y is less acceptable to post about. But that could be more related to what you choose to share about yourself and oversharing. But that cycles back to adjusting based on the social setting. Haha.
We see that people mostly post good news and less bad news about their lives. This is understandable, of course. But is selectively choosing to post only good news authentic?
Pen names are probably as old as writing.
A lot of people use anonymous accounts for personal security. Nobody wants an online stalker. A “non de plume” and an avater deflects a fixation from a real person onto a disposable fictional person.
I gave up on anonymity a long time ago. I have nothing to lose. Just another fat old man on the web like a million others. Not a subject of fanboy fantasy.
I think it is true that a Rose by any other name would smell as sweet. So go for it!
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