You only have to spend 30 seconds on Pinterest to come across a “ways to be more successful on your (insert blog/instragam/YT/twit)", and if you click on them they will all say the same thing – BE AUTHENTIC, usually with a picture of a smiley sunny blogger next to it. When I came back to blogging I told myself I was going to let ‘me’ peek through more in my blogs and online, less of that shimmery, perfect lifestyle crap; but it made me realise, what does authenticity really mean?
In general, I am a very sweary person (is that a word? It is now). I don’t mean I swear aggressively, I just often say bloody, shit, crap, the occasional “f*ck” – I’m definitely playing that down, I use the f word all the time – but if I swear in my posts will that make me more authentic? I don’t swear that often in front of my parents (out of habit), so does that mean I’m not being ‘me’ when I’m around them? Absolutely not.
Everything I write on this blog and on my social media accounts is authentic and me. If I’ve had a rubbish day, I’ll mention it – but also, I’d probably say to my friends that I’ve had a “shit” day. This doesn’t mean I’m ‘fake’. In the same way, I’m very sarcastic and definitely take the mick out of my friends, in that loving way, don’t worry, but I’m certainly not going to treat fellow bloggers like that. I’ll let my humour seep through, yes, but would I throw some tongue-in-cheek tweet out to someone who may misinterpret it on the internet? No way.
We are people with different dimensions. We don’t behave in our uni/place of work in the same way we behave with our friends but that doesn’t mean we’re being inauthentic in either situation. I’ve undoubtedly spent too long mulling over the meaning of ‘authentic’ recently, and sometimes I think we can try so hard to be real that we end up getting caught up in that and not doing what we actually enjoy, the writing.
I’ve definitely relaxed into my blog posts more and my traffic is showing that (maybe authenticity is key?) but I don’t think I have anyone to thank for that but myself. I haven’t become the sweary, bantery Soph that my friends see nor have I become the quiet note taker who will occasionally raise their hand in a lecture, I’ve simply become a more confident writer who now has a following and no longer feels scared to hide behind the rose tinted glass that we often see on social media.