Here’s the thing: if you ever go out in public (live or on the web), people are going to see you, judge you, tell stories about who they think you are (in their heads and out loud), like you or not like you.
There’s literally nothing you can do about it.
I recently read an interview with actress Kristen Stewart where she compared the attention, privacy invasion and paparazzi that surround her as rape. She’s been taken to task for that understandably and she’s apologized, but she does make a point. It is unwanted and it is abuse. Anyway, it was a simile, she did not mean to be literal. She says:
What you don’t see are the cameras shoved in my face and the bizarre intrusive questions being asked, or the people falling over themselves, screaming and taunting to get a reaction. All you see is an actor or a celebrity lit up by a flash. Your little persona is made up of all the places that people have seen you and what has been said about you.
The celebrity example is extreme, but with social media—and massive, sudden access to people’s information. It’s not that far off from our realities. Just the other day, someone I follow on Twitter said they decide whether to follow someone based on their last tweet. Ouch. Sometimes my last tweet isn’t brilliant, you know? Sometimes it’s a reaction to someone else or part of a longer conversation I’ve been having.
And it’s not all negative, mind you. Just like some of those celeb photos are gorgeous, the snapshot glimpses the public gets of you on the web are often stunning.
But, if you’re a celebrity and you know the cameras are going to be there, either take massive steps to avoid them (some do this very well) and garner yourself some privacy or get your hair ‘did’ before you go outside. Your only other option is to not care.
It’s the same with us normal people, you know.
We do have a wee, little, tiny, microscopic bit of control. We can be careful what we post, tweet, update, etc. We can be careful in our interactions with others. We can always be our truest, bestest selves.
But, most importantly, our control lies in our understanding that it’s going to happen. It is! We will be perceived by others—however they want to perceive us.
Think about it. And think about it as you, inevitably, write your perceptions of those around you.
The images in this post were created by my favorite artist, Traeger di Pietro. His perception of my logo was done with paint, his perception of the Geek Girl logo with mixed media—I wish you could see it in person, the layers and bits are so inspired. If you want him to judge you in this beautiful way, visit his site, email him or just let me know (I’ve got his numbah).