One of the things I have truly loved about writing this blog is the friends I’ve made along the way. Real live, in-person friends? Absolutely. But I also have a stalwart crew of amazing women who have become dear friends and people I truly admire…whom I’ve never clapped eyes on.
Beth Thomas Cohen is one of my dearest “blog friends”. She ran a fantastic PR firm for years with her bestie, and was one of the people who believed in SMC and what I was trying to do almost from Day One. Plus, she’s hilarious, brilliant and doesn’t suffer fools. How could I not love her?
So, when Beth told me she’d written a book, I was thrilled for her (and, okay, mildly jealous. The book’s about being more honest, after all.). When she told me the title, I laughed out loud and said, “Hey, how about you write something for my readers?” She immediately agreed, and we decided the thing to talk about would be how much time we all spend pretending to be a different version of ourselves on social media…which is, as you might recall, a topic I have some feelings about.
Beth’s fantastic new book, Drop the Act, It’s Exhausting!, is out this week, and it’s jam-packed with all of the sassy, savvy, real-life advice you need to keep yourself on the track to sanity. Reading it is exactly how I imagine a dinner date with Beth would be. And by the time I’d turned the last page, I was ready to hop on a plane to do just that.
Below is the piece Beth wrote for us. Read it, love it, buy the book.
The Act: I’m Throwing a Social Masquerade Party!
Why To Drop It: Because you don’t need to be at any party where you hide your true self behind a mask
I find it fascinating that the world we live in is filled with amazingly different types of personalities and people…and we waste the diversity by not getting along. Whether it’s politics, race, religion, socio-economic differences, you name it, we keep overlooking that we all have a giant thing in common: the need to be accepted.
I see this need for acceptance play out every day on social media. I mean, can you get more literal than using “likes” and “followers” as a gauge of your value? I’m no different. I too want to be liked and “followed” on social media. I can go through my Instagram feed, find a person from Qatar and see that his group of friends are having a better time than my group of friends here in NYC, and immediately feel jealousy creep in. His picture of his friends at a bar has 837 likes? Mine only has 43. What’s wrong with me?! But something dawned on me one recent morning at the beach:
Maybe those guys in Qatar were full of shit.
A few college-age girls strutted out from their car toward the shore with their obnoxious “selfie stick” in hand, took a few shots in front of the waves and another few by the boardwalk, got back into their car and drove away. I’m presuming they posted their five-minute photo shoot as an actual experience that others, like me, will actually be jealous of.
Drop the act! How is that considered “connection”? Last month I turned 40, smack in the middle of the teeter totter of life. And suddenly, instead of throwing up pointless posts, I found myself stopping and remembering the point of social media: to mix with others, not masquerade.
We have a duty to everyone to make sure that the intention behind showing our fun, our successes and acquisitions is not to make others feel small. We need to be sharing important messages mixed in with the fun. We need to use social media as a catalyst to spark important conversations, share charitable ideas, and build self-esteem. If we used social media as a platform for more important messages, life might be a little bit sweeter. Everyone might just feel better about themselves, without needing outside approval.