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Being Authentic

I try very hard to be authentic and genuine. To share as much as I can about my design business. Good, bad, or otherwise.

Over the past weeks I’ve been thinking… what does it mean to truly be authentic?

Does it mean to be painfully honest at all times? Does it mean you show all of your work whether you like it or not? Or does authenticity come from just being yourself, secrets and all?

I never want to look or sound inauthentic.

I struggle to find the right balance between being open and honest about my struggles, sharing my work, and more practical knowledge. These are not completely separate views. They can coexist in the same space. But I wonder if I’m capable of effectively building an audience around seemingly disparate themes.

I believe in curating what you share. To only put things out in the world you want people to know you for. If you’re an artist, only share your art. If you’re a baker, only share photos of things you’ve baked. People will build up an association between you and that thing you love and share consistently.

Say you follow an artist on instagram. You enjoy their work, you like their message, they entertain you. When is it ok for them to post something that isn’t their own art?

Some say “never.” Others say “sometimes.” Others still may say “anytime.” None of these people are right and none of them are wrong.

You can never know what someone’s preferences are on social media.

I follow so many designers and artists because I enjoy their personality as much as their work. That being said, I don’t follow them to see pictures of their cats.

Personality should come from the medium you work in. I don’t follow a designer because he only posts cool lettering pieces. Personality plays a huge role in why people choose to follow anyone online.

Never forget, everything you post takes up a moment of someone’s precious time, no matter how small. Honor that and post with intention and care. Ask yourself, “What am I accomplishing and who am I helping by sharing this with the world?” If you can’t think of an answer, reconsider.

“So should my feed only be shots of my work and process and nothing else?” Some would say yes, but I would disagree. We can trick ourselves into thinking we only care about that one reason we pushed that follow button, but it’s not true.

Social media is about making a connection to other people. We’re reaching out into the digital ether and hoping to make contact with someone else. It’s people looking for contact with other people. Never forget that.

So while curating your feed has countless benefits, remember that part of what you are curating is yourself. Whether you want to be or not, you are the star of the show. The work is not the star, you are. There’s no work if there’s no you.

So every once in a while post a selfie or a shot of you working. Let people know about the real person on the other end of that account they decided to follow. Reach out and say, “Hey, I’m just a normal human like you. This work is a part of me, but it’s not all of me.”

I took the photo at the top of this post just now. Today I’m working at a coworking space here in Buffalo to meet with a friend and try and get some extra productivity in today. This is the kind of thing I normally wouldn’t post on my Airship account, but it’s the reality of what’s going on in my life and business right now.

This is me. This is my business. This is my reality. Hopefully it helps you.


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