This post is not political by nature and is not intended to be; only my opinion.
For almost two decades we’ve been told by our parents, our bosses, and now Google and the social media channels to “be authentic”. What exactly does that mean? In short: to be authentic means to dare to be true to yourself: original, real, unapologetic. Take a look at the definition of “authentic” at Merriam-Webster.com and see for yourself.
How do you define “authentic” for yourself? Not that a label should ever define anyone, but I don’t see the word “authentic” as being a label. I see it as a conviction of self-confidence. I see this as more of a statement of, “here I am, this is who I am, and I really don’t care if you like it or not”. People who are authentic don’t change who they are based on the latest trend or gossip; they are who they are because that’s their belief system.
For example, the “chin shelf selfie” became popular around mid-2019. For those who don’t know, you rest your index finger, sometimes with your thumb, on or just under your chin, and take a selfie. Sometimes thoughts of the day were posted below the photo, sometimes it was just the photo. It’s supposed to come across as more seductive, thoughtful, engaging. Models, Instagram influencers, or those who wanted to be a little more popular on the channel adopted this trend. If someone decided to adopt this trend for themselves, they might look cool for a while, unless that’s not how their personality works. That raises the question: does posting a chin shelf selfie help you look, act, or feel more or less authentic?
Now, let’s look at social media channels. While one can argue it is the right of a private business to have the ability to turn away customers and business opportunities, it seems to be very non-authentic and disingenuous to selectively remove or ban content from one group it doesn’t like for any reason, especially when the same channels were allowing posts and promotions about other private businesses turning away a group of customers and blasting them for it. It seems very non-authentic and disingenuous when, for the past decade or more, each channel has been reinforcing its users to be authentic by promoting original content even though they themselves have no desire to hold themselves to the same standard. It almost doesn’t matter what we believe they’re doing, or if we believe the reasons used for such action. The fact that they’re doing it at all should make us all very uncomfortable.
Reverse or Recourse?
It’s really a simple choice:
- We can turn our eyes away from such activities and take no notice until “something happens”.
- We can join the game and play along, and do things that may be out of our character, but hey — maybe the channels will leave us alone.
- We can each of us decide individually, independently, whether to stay or leave these channels based on our needs and that of our business.
When a business owner bends principles, a business can run into trouble. After all, a business is created by and built upon principles embraced by the owner and held near and dear to their heart. That’s the passion of the business owner, and the business either shines or wanes because of it.
Can a business owner hold beliefs that may be diametrically opposite to what a business should or should not do?
For example, a business owner says, “I won’t donate to that non-profit because I don’t like what they stand for.” Fine, fine. What would you think, though, if you found out the business owner had been donating to that very business for five consecutive years? Authentic or not?
It’s not shameful when a business owner, or anyone else, for that matter, holds fast to their particular beliefs on certain matters. It becomes shameful when they decide to do the very opposite of what they are declaring to the world.
Conformity is overrated. Embrace the reflection in the mirror. It’s showing us our soul, who we are. Be proud of that unique individual, and be the best you that you can be.
Be strategic. Be visible. Be found.
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