Most of the consumer images that are put in front of us have been modified in some way before they are distributed: photos get touched up and videos get edited (yes, even “reality” TV is edited). Through the editing process, a new, a more enhanced version of reality, is shown. If you are not familiar with how “enhanced” reality can become, I invite you to check out this photoshoot and this videoshoot to see the process in action. However, if you have taken a graduation photo or a family photo recently, chances are you are already familiar with the process as photographers are becoming more adept at touching up their digital shots to make us look “flawless”.
The evolution of web 2.0 now makes it possible for us, the common user, to create and enhance multi-media content. You, me, everyone can “edit” their life and make it more impressive before putting it on public display. To some extent this is encouraged through ideas like personal branding and online image management. However, there is also the risk of taking this too far, of creating idealized versions of ourselves and our lives. It’s in these instances that we go from communicating with an audience to performing for an audience. Research shows that young people in their teens and early 20s are particularly sensitive to this as they are at the stage of forming their identity and close social ties. In some cases, they can begin to compare themselves against the idealized “personas” which has a negative impact on their happiness level, their self-esteem and their offline relationships.
For those of us who need some tips on how to create content like the pros, I would like to share the following links:
Start the crafting process by collecting all the “artefacts” (images, bios, resume info, etc.) that you want to be part of your public digital life (since this page is actually part of a larger collection of materials on social media, you will also find tips for getting started with Facebook and Twitter).
No you don’t need Photoshop, you can use a free software program to help you create that awesome Facebook cover. Need some inspiration, check this out: Facebook Timeline Cover : 40 (Really) Creative Examples.
Remember that social media is like a soap box, not a diary. Know your audience. Post something they care about. For Facebook, be positive. For Twitter, make an effort to write properly. For Pinterest, pin vertical shots without people’s faces in them. Need a reminder of these dos and don’ts, check this out: How to create Perfect Posts on Social Platforms.