How Real Is Your Highlights Reel?

“Social Media is your highlights reel.” That’s a quote from Nick Foles following his Super Bowl victory. Pair that with a recent viewing of Black Mirror (the British science-fiction series in which one terrifyingly plausible episode reflects a world in which your true social status is determined by how many virtual “likes” you receive), and you’ve got the perfect illustration of how pervasive social media has become in our everyday personal and work lives.

Our social personas can also paint a glorious life that’s not quite reality. Good or bad, Social Media has become the go-to way to offer opinions, to connect with friends and clients, and to view funny videos, but it goes deeper than that.

This got me thinking about where you draw the line in your business and personal life when it comes to Social Media. I know many clients personally, and I enjoy seeing their vacations, family pictures, etc. It helps me feel more connected on a personal level.

I still consider myself a Photographer, so I like to post pictures of landscapes, family, travel, and even lost dogs. I have about 40 thousand photos in my camera roll, so I like to share. The down side is that I sometimes get comments like “it looks like you’re always on vacation.” This type of misperception gives me pause as to whether I should continue to post. It also raises questions for me as a business owner.

What is the impact on personal or business relationships when Social Media posts inadvertently create false perceptions about your standard of living or political leanings? Where’s the sweet spot? I can assure you I’m not “always on vacation.” :

I’ve decided that I will continue to post photos or an opinion about a movie or an occasional news article, because that’s the way I see the world. I’ll let the perceptions fall where they may.

These days, politics drives a lot of the content on FB, so I purposely try to steer clear of the negativity (although I may have a weak moment here and there). Does that mean I’m avoiding important issues or selling out my beliefs? Not really. That’s because I never built friendships based on who people voted for, or their income, or if they made a living driving a truck or being a CEO, anyway.

Bottom line, you may think you know someone because of the Social Media profile they’ve created, but if you look beyond, they probably deal with the same day to day issues that you do, and their “highlights reel” may just be a way to reflect a virtual escape from the more mundane aspects of everyday life.