Consuming Social Media with a Critical Eye

  1. If you recall my post on authenticity and social media, I’m back here again to share and further my thoughts. As I grow my personal brand on social media, I find myself questioning authenticity more. Maybe it’s because as a Communications student I’m trained to consume everything critically, but there are a couple things I noticed and learned about the social media world. Here are some tips to figuring out authenticity:
1. ASSUME EVERYTHING IS WRONG

I’m not trying to be a pessimist, but since everything on the web can be fabricated, it doesn’t hurt to look at things from a critical perspective. It is so important to remember that social media isn’t real life. You can post only about the good things, but that’s 100% not what your life is like 24/7.

When you assume that everything is wrong on social media (or the Internet), it prompts you to do more research and a little more digging. What about it seems fishy? What doesn’t add up? What is the purpose? What is the perspective? These are good questions to ask to help identify what you’re consuming.

This doesn’t mean that you should spend 10 minutes analyzing an Instagram post – please don’t do that. What it does mean is that you should start to train your eye to catch those specific, identifying details. It’ll take time and effort to do so, but it will help you along the way to be clear about your social media consumption.

2. UNDERSTAND SOCIAL MEDIA AS TOOL

The purpose of social media is no longer singular – there are multiple uses. It’s not just for connecting with others or sharing your life – it’s a marketing tool. Advertisements, campaigns and agendas are being pushed on these platforms that don’t necessary align with the original nature of social media.

Once you understand the multipurpose-ness of social media, it’ll be easier to train your critical eye. You’ll be less likely be fooled by marketing tactics and obvious inauthenticity on social media.

3. LEVERAGE YOUR KNOWLEDGE

When you’ve mastered your critical eye for social media consumption, you’ll be able to use what you know for your own gain. For your posts, what you share and how you share will determine how well you do. If you’re trying to grow your personal brand (like me), you’ll be able to spot what works or doesn’t. You now know what not to do if you want to come off as authentic (as you should be).

Do you find yourself consuming critically on social media? Why or why not?

Photo by STIL on Unsplash

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