Is Social Networking Scary?

When I was a teenager and suffering through all the normal teenage insecurities, my mother gave me many pieces of advice but one really stuck with me.  She would smile knowingly and say, 

Don’t compare your inside to someone else’s outside.

Maybe you’ve heard this expression before.  The point being, everyone wears their masks in life.  The image we want others to see.  We don’t see their pain, insecurities or hear of their success or failures.  This has been especially true in business.   Projecting the ‘right’ image has been very important.

With the advent of social networking, the masks are being thrown out the window.  It’s now acceptable to show your flaws.  To let your audience know when you’re having a bad day or are celebrating a success.   While LinkedIn is still business oriented, tools like Facebook and Twitter are taking the world by storm.  Why?  I think it’s because we as humans want to connect with others.  Really connect.  There is much talk about Relationship Marketing but how can you have a relationship unless you get beyond the masks and make an authentic connection with another person? 

I’ll be honest.  This shift is liberating on one hand but scary on the other.  It’s like the old ‘naked in school’ nightmare.  Am I able to show the world who I really am?  Stand up for what I believe without always having to be politically correct?  What if I say the wrong thing?  What if others don’t take me seriously?  All the same insecurities pop up every time I go to post a twitter or write on my blog.  Fear shuts down action.  It stops each of us from letting others know who we really are. 

So, I’ll take my mother’s advice and remember that we all feel this way.  It’s not just me.  I’m among friends.  Right?

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