Before I start my bedtime routine, I typically spend about 30 minutes scrolling through Facebook on my phone. It’s terrible. The worst possible thing I could do before I try to do yoga then go to sleep, and I know this, but at this point, it almost feels compulsive. Inevitably, it ends up being 30 minutes of self-analysis based on what others have done with their day. What their kids are doing, how cute and well behaved their dogs are, what they ate or didn’t eat, how much exercise they did, and how much weight they’ve lost. I make a mental checklist for the next day. Gotta eat more veggies (and take pictures when I do), gotta get a haircut (and take pictures before and after), gotta add a few miles to my run (and take a screen shot of my tracking app when I do), gotta get funnier (and post jokes when I think of them). And then I turn off the light, close my eyes, get into down dog and wonder whether there’s a way I could capture the moment with my iPhone to prove how awesome I am at having a good bedtime routine. Ah….how relaxing.
In the back of my mind, I know what we see on the Internet is a highlight reel, not the whole truth. But often, it’s hard not to simply trust what the photo or post implies, which is that its creation was effortlessly achieved and/or is wholly true.
Whether it’s Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, Twitter, or Snapchat, people are only going to show you what’s good and cool about their lives; The things they’re most proud of. Because in reality, we are our own marketing managers, building very specific brands. I market myself as a cool mom who doesn’t get rattled; someone who makes time for crafts with her kid every day, runs as much as possible, and finds humor in every situation. But sometimes, Maddy watches an hour of TV in the morning (gasp), or I can’t make it out for a run (recoil), and every once in a while, instead of laughing, I cry when I’ve folded three loads of laundry and my cat climbs on top of it, inevitably knocking over the piles and distributing his hair ALL OVER IT. But, of course, those moments when I’m rushing around, or being unhealthy, or crying over my idiot cat don’t make it online, because they don’t fit my well-crafted brand identity.
Every generation worried somewhat about their image. The biggest difference between them and us is that they got a break at night and on weekends whereas we struggle in the carefully woven webs of others from the moment we wake up until the time we go to bed. Being part of this ecosystem now feels natural to us. But in reality, humans just aren’t built to withstand this much scrutiny over a lifetime (see EXHIBIT A).
It’s obvious that today’s social climate has changed the face of marketing, but what isn’t so obvious is that it’s changed the face of marketers. The title is no longer reserved for those who hold hard-earned degrees or years of office experience. We’re all marketers; we just work with very small, individual, boutique brands who specialize in cooking, exercising, and being generally awesome at everything.
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