I think most people know that what we see on social media is only part of someones life. In fact, some of the time it's plain ass fake. However that doesn't seem to stop us judging ourselves against those unrealistic images of luxury, fitness and perceived success.
I have even started to wonder if we are far less jealous of objects or belongings than we are of others social media persona and their personal brand.
I have had a few conversations lately about 'influencers', 'personal brands' and people with multiple working roles. It seems social media isn't just affecting out personal lives. Social media, and not just sites like LinkedIn, are becoming increasingly part of our professional lives.
It started with emails on our phones, and it's continued to grow from there. We are always contactable. We are always on standby. Our phones ready to vibrate the instant a message is received. Heck, users of wearable tech even get a vibration on their wrist.
Yet how often do you see or hear about someone's 'regular' work life. I am not talking about the big successes or highlights. You know, Dave's speech or Sara closing that deal. Just the regular grabbing a coffee/ juice, replying to emails, printers broken type stuff.
I think I notice this mostly on twitter and Instagram, just because I'm there more often, but I am sure it's true of most social media. Whether for someone else or ourselves, social media too often seems to be an attempt to portray a 'perfect' version of ourself. Proof we are 'succeeding' at life, through images of workplace successes, relationship growth, family development, home ownership, holidays in the sun, being at Instagram worthy locations and that all important promotion.
It would seem the best way to convince yourself you’re feeling or doing great, is to illustrate it for others.
LinkedIn is no longer just for résumés and networking. It's a place to post articles that match your personal brand. Showing your peers, colleagues, bosses... future bosses, who you are. And future bosses has become increasingly important. Thats not just on LinkedIn either. More and more often I have seen these work related articles posted on someones 'personal' personal social pages.
We live in a world where Brexit is about to be a reality. Already we have had months, if not years, of businesses downsizing, streamlining and even closing. No longer do people think their job is for life. The pressure to know you are attractive to a future employer or to have a second job, or to have your own small business is becoming the norm.
This mindset, like social media's initial impact on our personal lives, has made us all need to see ourselves as a brand that needs to be marketed.
There's no clocking off, there is only working and being on standby. The need to constantly 'sell' ourselves is never-ending. The 9 to 5, for many is now gone. As is the idea of an empty inbox.
I believe 2019 will see more of us need, rather than want, to sell ourselves as a brand. More of us will be working longer and with this change I hope more of us become aware of this change. Because, I think being aware is the best we can hope for.
Being aware means we can try to be mindful of this change. I don't think we can stop it.