You can't fake Authentic, nor do you need to work at it

A couple of interactions these last few days on Google+ have had me scratching my head. It seems that while lots of people preach Authenticity and its value, for many it has been wrapped in so many layers of marketing that it has ceased to mean what it actually means.

"To thine own self be true" - Polonius, Hamlet

Part of the social fiber, or social contract of "social media" is that you are interacting with people. Interactions of all levels constitute various degrees of relationships, and for those relationships to be positive (or meaningful), there needs to exist levels of trust. Trust is built upon authentic interactions. What is an authentic interaction? An interaction based on knowing the other person's goals in doing/saying what they're doing/saying, and accepting them at face value.

The moment that level of social trust is violated, is the moment that the relationship comes to an end. One party in the relationship feels swindled.

To be authentic one does not need to do anything special except to be honest about their aims. They don't need to be fuzzy, to post selfies, cat photos, pictures of their kids, or cool stuff they did today. They don't need to be warm and caring and smart and thoughtful, nor pretend about intelligence or success. They just need to be honest about their aims.

It is when they've cloaked their aims, obfuscated them in marketing messages, or flat out reneged on them by saying one thing yet doing another, that their Authenticity becomes outed as a sham.

And there is little worse, in my opinion, as you forever doubt their words as a gimmick.

I don't mind someone constantly selling me. They're being honest. I can say "No thank you, not interested".But cozying up to me, pretending to be interesting, or worse yet, my friend, in order to "earn trust" to then sell me? Ugh. Cold shower time. On a few occasions I've actually messaged individuals and asked "so why are you here?". I did this because I couldn't figure them out, couldn't figure out their strategy, and in not knowing their purpose, I wasn't quite sure how to view my relationship with them. I'm sure a few are chuckling as they read this. But I needed that level of clarity in order to determine their Authenticity for myself, to decide whether it was a relationship or just really really good marketing.

I don't think that was bad approach. Maybe a bit forward, but hopefully respected.

And that's my Monday morning rant. Thank you for reading :)


P.S. I hate discussions about the Importance of Authenticity, even though yes, I've written missives on the subject before. Mainly because I believe the word continues to lose real meaning and value as it becomes a marketing ploy. Not a strategy, but a ploy.
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