I love oxymorons: jumbo shrimp; the living dead; unbiased opinions; and the fact that I’m wearing a Phish t-shirt, watching the Kardashians, and texting my goth best friend about Matisse cutouts at the Tate Modern all at the same time. Why can’t we be and enjoy so many things at once?
In this new era of social media, we are indirectly asked to define ourselves in such a way that fits into the silo of a unified online identity. Who you are must be easily conveyed via Facebook cover photos, Twitter jokes, Instagram hashtags, and Pinterest boards. You love the outdoors? Make sure your Instagram is exclusively pictures of you climbing mountains. Are you a Williamsburg Hipster to a tee? I want blue hair (no smile) in your profile picture, and all links shared to be from Vice. Oh you live in San Francisco working for a cool tech start-up, right? Hun, be sure to tweet notable blogs and check-ins of your business trips regularly.
Because it’s all about playing the part, right? The part that we think we are, that part we want to play, the part we want the entire internet (the whole world?) to believe we embody. But that’s not fair. When have you ever met a TV character as interesting and diverse as you are? Answer: never. Because characters are built upon stereotypes and gender roles, and why should we be forced to play one of those in our real life?
Look, I’m all for building your “personal brand”. But isn’t there a happy medium? I’m passionate about content marketing but I like Widespread Panic memes too.
I don’t think it’s fair that the internet is so polarizing; it’s this amazing place where you can find people interested in literally any single thing you can think of, and yet you somehow have to be fully committed to that one thing. That’s just not realistic. I mean I get it – I follow people like Sam Biddle, Matt Fitzgerald, Musa Tariq and Scotty B because I care about their “expert” topics of interest (tech, running, community marketing and Phish) and that’s what content I desire. But at the same time, when Matt posts a picture of his post-long run IPA, Musa talks about San Fran moving pains, and Scotty tweets sports scores I’m ok with it. I actually love knowing these people don’t live and breathe that one thing; no one actually does.
I went to the Grateful Dead reunion shows wearing mass amounts of tie-dye, but I also love wearing my edgy new heels and dancing to Ariana Grande in a club on a Saturday night. I love to backpack and hike, not showering for days at a time while remaining completely off the grid. But I also enjoy a good spa day, intense Netflix binges, and melting into the internet for hours as I tweet every dumb thought I think. I’m a pseudo-vegetarian health-conscious marathon runner, but last night me and my boyfriend couldn’t resist the HOT NOW sign at our local Krispy Kreme. I love Community Marketing to extreme amounts, but I also love a lot of other really cool stuff. Like I said – I love oxymorons, and more importantly I hate having to define my life by boxes.
So I don’t think I’m going to.