We do so love our social media as a pressure relief valve.
It's given us the ability to pop off about whatever annoys us, and I've been guilty too. Get crappy customer service? Tweet it. Have a frustrating day? Let that Facebook status update have it.
But as David Thomas pointed out (sagely, I might add) not too long ago, sometimes that too much "TGIF" can be construed in a way that makes it look like you dislike your job. And the concentration of "this sucks and that's annoying" over time can paint kind of a one-dimensional picture of us. Laughing at yourself too much can have a similar effect.
Most of us aren't that way in reality. We're far more nuanced and complex creatures. We have our good moments, our moments of excitement, or just quiet contentment. But we're rarely as verbal about those, perhaps because they're not as exciting. Perhaps the big ones can feel too braggadocious. Perhaps because it we don't need the pressure release valve for the good stuff, or even the okay stuff, as much as we do for the things that irritate or confound us.
What's interesting, too, is how people will react to you if your balance is in one direction or the other.
Someone who isn't afraid to speak their mind intelligently on occasion can be seen as pragmatic or refreshingly not part of the echo chamber. Disagree or find flaw in everything, however, and being the perpetual contrarian somehow just doesn't come off as sexy. Moreover, at a saturation point, that negativity or defiant nonconformity is just as one-sided and unconvincing as someone who's unicorns and rainbows all the time.
As with most things, it's a balance. But the trick is that the internet is really a series of filters, and no one sees your whole self at any one given moment. We get to know people online based on micro-interactions, brief glimpses into the daily thoughts and experiences of people based on what they choose to share. Rarely do we have the opportunity (or take the time) to assess someone based on the merits of their aggregate online presence but instead, we see the small pieces as they're served up to our immediate field of attention.
And in our heads - consciously or subconsciously - all of those pieces stick together to form a feeling, a perception, an emotional aftertaste of that person, based on what they give us to see. That humanization thing we keep talking about? It can cut both ways.
I know that I've been particularly conscious of it, because I'd like the people that know me to know that I can be tenacious or even ferocious, but also funny, kind, or introspective, too. And while I can't spend forever mired in what other people think, I'm quite certain that how I present myself to the outside world reflects on how I feel about myself and my world, too.
On the web, words can be more than just words. They're small little reflections of who we are, what we believe, and what we want others to know about us.
Are you paying attention to how you're using yours?