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The Whole “be real” thing is Hard if you spent years learning to be Professional First



Above: Photo Collage / Lynxotic

Who am I? I’m the person writing this.

But is it really necessary for you to know that I am female, love only cats (no dogs) and just got engaged?

No? Good, cause none of that is true. (Except the female part) That’s only one example of the odd twists that can come with the current trend of people going viral when they show “realness” and vulnerability.

Heard of acting? That’s what Meryl Streep does when she plays a person that never went to Yale and is not a rich famous actor, wink wink.

Daring Greatly

I suppose, as with so many online phenomena these days, it’s TikTok leading the way. No longer a place for young girls to dominate using only dancing, beauty and feminine wiles, it’s now a place where less objectively attractive people can blow up by showing, ostensibly, who they are.

Or by wearing a bear head as a hat.

This trend towards realness has, based on informal research, also spilled over into places like LinkedIn, Medium and even Twitter.

On the whole, I think it’s a great thing. If Meryl Streep was only able to play herself, movies would be much less interesting, no doubt!

And maybe at least half of all the realness really is real. Just take it with a grain of salt if you see posts of someone getting engaged 3 times. In the same week.

All kidding aside this trend is part of a bigger, important evolution in digital communication

The evolution from journalistic norms, such as never referring to yourself directly but only as “your scribe”, “the writer”, “your correspondent” or just “one”, as in “one can only wonder…” to today’s norm of writing like the whole world wants to read your diary….

These journalistic conventions seem archaic and even ridiculous when the formerly forbidden “I” is commonplace and the authenticity of direct TikTok style casual presentation is already dominant and growing as a trend.

But the overall shift has more than just a style preference behind it, if you ask this writer (me).

It’s also far more than just the outgrowth of armies of non-journalists communicating spontaneously in every format and on every platform.

It’s really the early beginnings of what has become a common topic of late: the transition to the so-called Metaverse.

Not the Zuckerbergian Metaverse where people run around without legs and have joyless celebrations of themselves.

But rather, the real life cyber world where billions are on their phones communicating in various ways basically all the time. Even while jaywalking.

And as we do this more in every imaginable format, the desire to see “beautiful” landscape photos that have been photoshopped to death, instagram style, is eventually diminished to zero.

And what follows in a new hunger for the “real” or at least the honest seeming portrayal of the real (hi there Meryl!) and content that pushes an entirely different layer of psychological buttons.

As I mentioned above, dear reader, I love this! In spite of the fact that it leads to really scary TikToks (just check out the posts of some of the people that follow you on Tiktok (to see what I mean, the ones that follow 8753 people and get followed by like, 23 have nice videos…) where the frightening reality that’s out there (the banality of empirical unattractiveness you might call it) is already on full display, and how.

But that’s just the price to pay for a deeper and more authentic experience. And for the benefit of the real and valuable advice and knowledge you can get directly from “non-professional” actors who are not acting (presumably). We are reaping the profits of real life experiences, in exchange for nothing more than our attention, and clicks, likes and follows. And I say, Amen to that, bro.

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