Thanks for sharing this, Matt. I think the link between our “true” selves and online personas is really interesting. Not only do we see the tendency towards “shiny, happy people”, but I think there’s also a real drive towards emotional oversharing online, where we see social feeds filled with political or cultural screeds that would never happen face-to-face with the account owner.
So far, it seems like there are very different responses to digital representation based on generational adoption. True digital natives seem much more at ease with presenting a greater authenticity, even if they’re carefully curating personas by channel. Whereas, older people tend to view social media as a specific kind of outlet and have more monotone activities. At least, that’s been my experience.
As someone who does a lot of training on social representation and branding, helping people understand the fine lines between authenticity and oversharing is hard. It’s something most of us are taught by our parents at a young age, but for whatever reason, those lessons don’t seem to translate well online.