Honestly, I’m torn on this subject and not sure what the correct approach is. As someone who connects with people as part of my professional networking through social media and my own blogs, I completely understand the goal of using it to make yourself look good. On the other, as a childhood abuse survivor and mental health advocate, I know what kind of pressure that puts on young people to always be “on” and to compete with others who’s lives look so good online.
In their desire to protect their futures, young adults are filtering out reality, tamping down their emotions and steeling themselves against one of the most human qualities we all share: vulnerability.
We are a country engaged in a debate about the importance of truth, of what is real and what is fake. Meanwhile our young people are learning the importance of full-time, online spin, the art of creating profiles replete with “alternative facts” — updates that may not exactly be false, but that certainly leave out the whole truth in the service of pleasing potentially powerful audiences. The long-term effects of the message “be you, just not online,” might have a higher price tag than we have yet to comprehend.
That’s why we need to eliminate stigma. It shouldn’t be a career killer to admit to having struggled with depression, or were abused as a child. But right now, it can be.
As long as that is true, and being vulnerable and honest is seen as a poor choice, were going to have this dichotomy. A dichotomy that is unhealthy for everyone.