Welcome to Monday Confessional, where I spill my beans about something I did, thought, or think I thought I did over the last week/weekend. I confess: I have someone very talented doing PR for me.
He runs my Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram accounts. He double- and triple-checks my emails to make sure they're just the right blend of getting down to brass tacks and lightening the mood with humor. He even dresses me in the morning and fixes loose strands of hair that haven't submitted to the sticky will of my hair gel.
Yes, my PR man is me. Myself. I work very hard, almost around the clock, at this public relations gig.
Which is funny because I'm pretty quick to point the finger and accuse famous people in the public eye for being hollow--shiny, positive PR on the outside and not a lot of substance inside.
Maybe I'm still, even a year later, fatigued from the last presidential campaign and election season. Everything seemed to be about scoring points in the public eye--whether it was kissing a baby, showing up at a factory to hang out with workers, or bringing up a tearjerker story about a single mom down on her luck. All for voting appeal.
It's why I can't help but be skeptical when I see any celebrity doing something "nice" in public. One part of me wants to believe in the best in people, and another part of me thinks, She's got a great PR machine running behind her.
Even when one of my heroes, Hines Ward, put up the post I wrote about him on his Facebook page with a personal message, I had to wrestle and question his intention a little bit. He could be a great guy, or he could have a smart PR person. (My guess is that it's probably both.)
The problem with trying to judge people's intentions is that it's nearly impossible. I can't sit here and actually determine if what someone's doing is only for good publicity or a genuine extension of their character. It's hard to tell PR from the real thing.
Take me for example.
Every photo I post, every thought I write, every saying I quote on social media builds the image of me that I want you to see.
Let's peruse some pictures, shall we?
I want you to think I'm adventurous.
I want you to think I'm funny.
I want you to think I'm spiritual.
I want you to think I'm a dreamer. That I'm brave.
The truth is that I really am some of those things. But the truth also is this:
I'm boring most of the time.
I'm probably more funny-looking than I am funny, but you wouldn't know it because of the time I spend on both to convince you otherwise.
I post reminders about faith not to remind you but because I need it that bad.
I'm afraid. I'm so afraid of making my dreams happen that I often sit paralyzed instead of taking the next step.
It's not that I'm trying to be fake. I want to be genuine--I try desperately to do be that. I think much of what you see of me on social media is what I'm constantly struggling and striving to be. Then there is the version of me, that human and mistake-prone and imperfect person, that sometimes only I see, or my friends or coworkers who actually spend time with me can experience and know.
So don't be fooled by my PR--not all that glitters is gold.
But I hope you join me in the space between the polished, ideal version of me you see on social media and the very human, boring, and sometimes afraid version of me that only I get to see at 11:00 p.m. on my couch.
Strive with me to be the best "us" we can be--to be so bold as to hope for adventure, and faith, and courage. Join hands with me, and let's pick each other up when we inevitably fail to meet that standard.
Whether it makes for good PR or not.
Anyone else struggle with how to be genuine on social media?