I hope I’m half the person I am on social media.
If you only knew me on Facebook, you’d think I only take great pictures, my marriage is flawless, and I’ve never eaten a gas station hot dog. I wish.
Like most people, I’m not 100% of myself on social media. I’m a deliberate and curated forgery of myself, designed to make people think I’m funny, smart, worldly, a good father, good husband, and good friend.
Before every comment I post or picture I share, I think – consciously or not – about how it will make me look. I’ll often write something, then go back and edit it later to make it sound better.
When I post videos of my kids performing, I do want people to see them; but I’m also addicted to all the comments of “Amazing!!” and “You must be so proud!!!” that fill my need for validation – validation that my kids are special and that I’m an awesome parent.
Even when I tell an embarrassing story, it’s probably just to show people how humble and self-effacing I am – so people will “Like” me more, perhaps only because it makes them feel better about their own lot. It’s manipulation and narcissism in their lowest forms.
For those of you who are authentic and self-assured enough to say, “I don’t do that! I keep it real!” I have mad respect for your I-don’t-give-a-fuck-ness. I wish I could be that way. Just know that you’re in a distinct minority. I have data to prove it.
Ever see anyone ‘check in’ from their marriage counselor or kid’s therapist’s office? Doubt it.
It may be decades until we understand all the ways Facebook et al. have changed us – but this one is happening right before our eyes. Social media convinces less cynical people that everyone else’s life is so much better than theirs, that they’re being left behind in a wave of widespread prosperity, Hamilton playbills, and Caribbean vacations.
But it’s not real life.
Everyone, myself included, has real struggles and fears right this minute. We‘re just not broadcasting them for the world to see. You see mostly good things because the people who share the most on social media are usually the ones who are best at self-promotion.
It might even be fueling the socio-political dumpster fire we’re living in.
Think about it.
Here’s what we’re seeing that’s 100% real:
After a brief respite, consumer confidence started precipitously sliding again. Nearly a million out-of-work federal government employees certainly didn’t help. But economic sentiment across the board is suffering – dipping to the lowest levels we’ve seen since two weeks after the 2016 election. Attitudes toward major purchases and the overall direction of the U.S. economy have been particularly sour. Maybe everything will course-correct if the government stays open. But maybe not.
If you’re looking for a new job in this tenuous economic climate, it’s all about who you know. We ran an interesting study this week asking where/how people found their most recent job. The number one answer, by a mile, was a person’s network of contacts. It was nearly 3X more common than the next answer, job boards/websites. Next was an employer’s website, a move within an existing employer, a newspaper/Craigslist, a headhunter, then a job fair. Build your network folks, make friends, and pay stuff forward. It matters.
In even more job news, too many people have to work even when they’re sick. A whopping 54% of people said that they went into work anyway the last time they were sick. 34% took a sick day and 12% “worked from home”. Men are more likely to be jerks and go to work when they’re sick, invariably exposing their coworkers to whatever funk they’re carrying around with them. Unfortunately, people in service or labor jobs are the most likely to work sick – probably because many of them don’t have the luxury of paid time off. No surprise, people who go to work when they’re sick are much more likely to be suffering from job burnout. Sad. But here was the funniest stat – 39% who are bothered when their coworkers come into work sick, come into work sick themselves. Hypocrites.
Podcasts are so hot right now but of course you already knew that. We haven’t studied this nearly enough – until now. But the podcast phenomenon is legit. 24% of Americans currently listen to podcasts and 8% listen every day. That may not blow you away. But, the numbers skyrocket among Millennials, 44% of whom listen at least somewhat often. That’s more than the percentage who use Instagram. Podcast listeners also skew male, affluent, and professional. We’re going to track this a lot more closely moving forward.
Legendary web publishers are not so hot right now. You probably read about the job carnage at a number of digital publishers this week, most notably the Verizon/Oath family of sites including AOL, Yahoo, and Huffington Post. Just look at the two charts below and you can see why. It’s a rough sport they’re playing.
On a more uplifting note, here are some of our most popular poll questions this week. I had a lot of fun with a few of them.
Do you brush your pet’s teeth?
Do you consider Olive Garden real Italian food?
Would you be comfortable retiring with $1 million in your 401k?
Have you ever been asked out on LinkedIn?
If your hotel offers a continental breakfast, do you typically eat it?
Have you ever applied for an airline credit card at the airport or on a flight?
Hoping you’re well.
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