Sum of the Whole: A Perspective on Social Media Blunders and Repairs
We all want to be perfect when it comes to social media. Even if you are not busy perfecting a "brand," the way that many of us are, you are still most certainly curating a life in the most semi-disingenuous of ways; posed photos, filters and gifs, color correction, or whatever else is going to make your story (even those promoted as being "gut-wrenchingly real") a little easier on the eyes.
This isn't a bad thing. It's literally impossible to showcase every good, bad, and ugly second of your day, and so the things that do get included are inevitably put through some sort of filter of importance. What is important to you? Is it the same thing that FB thinks is important to you? What about Twitter or Instagram? What about Google?
I have made some pretty off-brand internet blunders in my life. I'm pretty sure everyone has. I choose to be proud of myself for being as consistent as I have been over the course of time, especially with a brand that boils down to open, accepting, happy. Guys, my son died, and my grad school turned out to be a money pit, and my dog has an auto-immune disease, and this year has been hard. I am not always open, or accepting. I am not always happy.
Google, though, will inevitably tell you that I am generally happy and fulfilled, and this soothes me. There are pictures of me smiling, and helping, and being kind: this is a representation which is not only accurate (I'm a good person, damn it!) but it's right on brand. Because an employer who is looking back on my social media history is, unlike a blind date stealthily gathering info, looking more for the sum of the whole and the brand as it exists and interacts with the world, as opposed to the individual instances of poor word choice, negative voice, or unhelpful commentary after a badly-made internet argument against an anonymous troll.
All this to say, it is human to err, and it is even more human to err digitally, in an environment which is the very least human to navigate. How you respond to that error is almost more important to your overall picture as the error itself; it's okay, in fact it's best, to acknowledge that it was, in fact, an error. And as long as they are few and far between, you're likely to reap any benefits of your more consistent habits far after the slip-ups have faded.
Now get out there and meet someone you haven't Googled before.