The topic of authenticity and social media is an interesting one and I believe one we need to keep at the forefront. I always remind my audience and community that Social Media is the “highlight reel”. It is at times a digital version of a photo album, where people share celebrations, success, milestones, and social scenes. Life is not one dimensional, so while we see the happiness, celebrations and love on line, more often than not, there is an untold story. You might have a smile on and look like the happy person, couple, family or friends, but also if we were able to crack the code and get into your mind, there might be thoughts of self doubt, conflict, low self esteem, sadness, anxiety and a feeling of not being enough (I think most every person has struggled with these things in their life). The importance for all of us is to not compare ourselves to others, comparison truly is the thief of joy! Everyone has their untold story, behind the smile, might be challenges personally, financially, emotionally or health of themselves or a family members—this is real life.

Overall, I am so very grateful for FB and other Social Media platforms, it has brought so many people into my life that otherwise, I would not have connected with—that is a gift. I also love it because it has helped me to connect with people who have been in my life at various stages, I love to see their lives, their families, their homes, the growth of their kids. Personally I love it because to me it is a digital journal and documentation (album) of my life and my family. If something were to happen to me, my children could immediately go to my site, see my life, see my words about them, my words about life, and to me, it is them seeing and feeling my spirit. Another reason I love FB & SM is that it allows us to remember those we love & have lost. Never before could we share on line how much we love and miss our loved ones. In terms of business, Social Media has opened gateways, that never would have been opened, it is an opportunity to build your personal brand and your tribe of people. Never before have we been able to speak world wide, and have our voice be heard worldwide until this platform existed. Broadcast only happened from television & radio by a few select people, today, any one of us can broadcast our message live around the world. Truly amazing!

Admittedly, there are a few things that I don’t like about Social Media. For one, I see people building personal brands that are exaggerated, and far too curated from the truth. More over, they use these brands and leverage programs that are far too costly, and this to me borders business ethics, and false reality. I truly believe that authenticity is so important when it comes to Social Media and building your personal brand. Be willing to put yourself out there, dream big, but don’t inflate and exaggerate the truth of your life, business and experience. While it is important to be authentic and truthful, that does not mean people need to share all their challenges, some of which are personal and should remain that way.

I have put myself out there on Social Media. & have talked about things that have made me feel vulnerable. I have talked about some challenges and things that are taboo to talk about. I actually blogged about going alcohol free for a year. I have done it before, so I thought I would do it again, and talk about it, because we don’t talk about it. There is this thing about alcohol that we don’t really talk about. The truth is, some people are challenged with it, and when they address the challenge, the only way is to give it up. They try to give it up and they fail. I am not convinced that every person that experiences a challenge needs to give it up. There is this thing that I call “discovery”, when you go AF for 30, 60, 90 days (or one year), and discover what works for you, what does not work for you and base your decisions upon, living your best life. I used alcohol to calm my anxiety, but the truth was, it was not helping me to live my best life. Social Media can make this topic look so romantic, so inviting, so fun, so relaxing when the truth is, it is not always that way. We don’t share the other side of the story: “Rose All Day”, usually is a pretty woman, rose in a pretty glass, celebrating and displaying how it makes you feel good (which is true the first hour into it). If I were to “rose all day”, I would be on the floor, passed out, and more than likely feeling sick the next day. I think alcohol can big the biggest liar on line and on social media, the truth behind all those pictures and stories is not told. So when I started blogging about it, I felt raw and vulnerable, but I also felt empowered because it feels amazing and I could share some truth. The truth that I did not get to sharing is that there is a grey area, and this is what we don’t talk enough about.

While I love Social Media, there are times that I am not in the right head space and I need to unplug. When I find myself judging or feeling that nudge of not enough, I know it is time to take a Social Media break—I have taken up to a month off, and that has been a great thing, because I am on it so much between life and business. Building a lifestyle brand about happiness, requires me to talk about the positive things and our challenges, and the balance of the two.

Here are some things you can do to feel good about Social Media and your experience on line.

1. Remember, it is the high light reel for people, don’t compare your background scene to someone’s highlight reel.

2. Have a positive mindset, look for the best in people, cheer them on in your mind.

3. Let others and their experiences inspire you. Don’t be jealous, be joyful and see your experience change.

4. Try and limit your time on line. This is hard and I am an offender of this, but time blocking can really help.

5. Use it as a tool and platform to share the love. Bring kindness, positivity, and encouragement to your words & comments.

6. Remove negative people from your friend list. If they are not building you up or positive in nature, unfriend them.

7. Don’t be afraid to share, when we post thinking “what will others think”, we miss out on being our true selves.

8. Be brave enough to let your light shine. Be humble, yet be willing to put yourself out there.

9. Don’t Judge: this is hard for all of us. Try not to judge, when you do, they are going to judge you. Karma

10. Participate in groups that build you up. Also, frame your mind and posts in a state of gratitude.