Whichever interpretation prevails at a given time is a function of power and not truth. – Frederick Nietche
(Originally posted on Jan, 2020)
Who are you, at this moment? As you’re reading these words, in this moment of your life, what’s the energy you’re giving out into the world?
I’ve been thinking a lot about social perception and how at any given moment, a new person who comes into our life has a snapshot of who we are in that fleeting moment in time.
What if it’s a new coworker or a customer?
Maybe it’s just an unknown person seeing one of your tweets in their timeline because someone else shared it and well, there it goes again.
Their impression of you.
As humans, we grow and evolve constantly.
We express a different side of ourselves in different situations, sometimes with the same people.
What are the conclusions people are drawing about you at this moment of your life?
It’s funny, isn’t it, how a moment in time can define a person’s understanding of who you are, where they choose to place you in their life, and whether or not they will be open to evolving that perception as they learn more about you.
I deleted my Facebook account a a few months ago. I’m still active on other social media networks but that platform was no longer serving a purpose in my life. At a gathering a couple of weeks later, a couple of friends who are relatively new to my life and have limited daily interaction with me asking how life is without social media. Their perception of me has been largely shaped by my activity on Facebook specifically outside of our get-togethers and game nights.
A few years ago, the only impression my friend’s husband had of me was that I post a lot on Facebook because we hadn’t met in person yet. It became a running joke. Who I am in his life evolved from that point because our friendship grew.
When I was job-hunting a couple of years ago, I emailed a friend of mine about a job at her company and asked for her insight. She told me that it wasn’t a good fit for me because I was just a content strategist. What she didn’t know was that I had evolved as a marketing strategist and now beyond just a “content” strategist. Her perception of me was frozen in time because even though we stayed connected on social media, the passing snapshots were not enough for her to see my career evolution.
Where does social perception fit in my daily life and how I put myself out into the world?
It’s not so much about being so concerned with what people think of me but what it is I’m putting out into the world at any given time. I don’t want to curate who I am but I want to be cognizant of any external circumstances, which is why I also tend to try to give people the benefit of the doubt in my daily life.
As a society, we’re so quick to judge. We make snap judgments without even thinking about how others may perceive us in passing on the next bad day we’re having but still have to be out in public because life goes on.
It’s human nature. It’s preconceived. It will become confirmation bias until we make an effort to recognize the factors that influence social perception.
Our perception should be more than the sum of the momentary snapshots we experience.
Do you know how others perceive you, right now, in this moment?
What can you be doing to continue to express your evolution as a person?