Image Crafting: I’m Awesome!

Image crafting, as defined by Urban Dictionary, is the act of “glorifying your life by creating it to be something it is not through staged photos, posts, and statuses.”  It is creating a different online life and presenting a fake version of yourself and your feelings. Huffington Post, on the other hand, defines image crafting as “the author wants to affect the way people think of her.”

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Image crafting is most prevalent on Facebook only because of the huge amount of time we spend on that site. It is usually characterized by flattering photos of yourself, extremely happy posts, profound musings about life, etc.

In Filipino parlance, it’s pumi-PR.

But I don’t do that!

Sure, you do! Anybody who is on social media does that! Have you ever filtered your vacation photos and uploaded only the photos where you look good? Have you ever typed, deleted, retyped, edited your Facebook posts because you think of how your Facebook friends may think of you? Do you remember a time when you did not approve a photo tag because your smile wasn’t that nice?

We also do this IRL but in a much toned-down manner. When we are with friends, we share great things we just did but we also share the not-so-good ones. It is in social media that we are just so conscious of presenting a fabulous image of ourselves.

So, why do we do that?

It’s the “spotlight effect1.” In social psychology, the spotlight effect is defined as “seeing ourselves at center stage, thus intuitively overestimating the extent to which others’ attention is aimed at us.” In short, we think that our social media friends pay attention to what we do and how we live our lives.

Another possible reason is we don’t feel good about ourselves and social media validation (likes and comments you receive) is one way of making us feel better. Think about it. When you see that notification that a Facebook friend liked or left a comment, you feel good, right?

It’s not wrong, is it?

We can get caught up with presenting the best version of ourselves online that we forget to live authentic lives. We may be so focused on taking good photos of ourselves that we forget to enjoy every moment of our vacation, dinner with friends and family, etc. We can be so hung up on receiving social media validation that we spend all our time making photos perfect and forgetting that we have family and friends, who want to spend time with us.

Image crafting also creates high expectations of ourselves. Facebook friends, who may want to have a more intimate relationship with you, may feel that you are so perfect that they are not worthy, that they cannot keep up with your life. You may also be unconsciously forced to keep leveling up what you do. “People already saw me wearing these clothes so I need to buy new ones.”

Finally, you may be unwittingly making people unhappy with their own lives. Because your photos make you appear that you seem to be traveling all the time (“Nagtatrabaho ba sya?”), you end making your Facebook friends feel that their lives are boring, insignificant, and unenviable. In the process, you add to the statistics of people saying Facebook makes them miserable.

So, what do I do?

Just be conscious of what you do online. You have that tiny voice inside you that tells you what is your purpose in making that status. B cleverly sums it up. When you post something online, ask yourself,

“Am I trying to express or to impress?”

 

References:

1. “The Self in a Social World” D.G. Myers

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My Digital Journey (So Far)

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This is a modified version of a blog post I wrote here.

I am a digital immigrant as I was born before 1985, the beginning of the Digital Age. My first taste of using a computer was in 1992 when my older brother taught me how to use WordStar, the predecessor of Microsoft Word. I was in sixth grade that time.

I went through my high school and college years without so much a need to use the computer. I would only use our desktop computer for my school paper. We didn’t have Internet connection back then and it was only in 1999 that I discovered the Internet.

Working in the digital field was never my plan. Back then, digital was something I did on my free time. It wasn’t even considered “real work.” But God brings you to different life paths and exposes you to things that will eventually lead you to something. One of these paths took me to the digital world.

When I look back at my life, I could plot my digital journey and how I started here. It’s amazing to realize that all those pro-bono work I did online would culminate with my work as a digital marketer.

1999: My first Yahoo! email. Although Gmail is my default email now, I still keep that email address for posterity because it was my brother who created that for me. Back then, Yahoo! had chat rooms. I remember chatting regularly with a Filipino studying at University of California Irvine.

***

2000: Oows! This was the youth portal of Business World. It was my first time to write for an online publication. Around this time, I also discovered online fora. I was an active member of GirlTalk, which is surprisingly still around. Hanging out at forums taught me to be patient (daming trolls), and how to be a troll (pang-asar sa mods). I also learned to observe how people behave online.

***

2002: Geocities was alive then and you can create websites from Geocities. I remember creating a super pangit Geocities website for one of my MBA classes.

***

2003: Hello, Friendster. The novelty of using Friendster, however, quickly wore out. You couldn’t do anything except ask friends for testi!

***

2004: I joined a Yahoogroups group because I was transitioning to a new life. I was pretty active here and in just a few months, Mimma promoted me to be one of the moderators. Like hanging out in online forums, I got to observe the different online behaviors of people.

I also transitioned to corporate communication work. My first project was the development of our corporate website. This was the first honest-to-goodness digital project I did.

***

2006: I left that Yahoogroups group and graduated to the next level. That group is still under Mimma. And just like before, I was promoted to become one of the mods. Around this time, I also became active in PinoyMoneyTalk, an online community that shares information about personal finance. Naging mod din ako dito. All these mod works were pro-bono. It was something I did because it was fun.

I also dabbled with Multiply although just like in Friendster, the novelty of blogging quickly wore off.

***

2008: Hello, Facebook! This was where I learned a lot about online behavior and how to tweak my security settings. LOL! I learned how to block people on Facebook. 😀 I also started a blog called Pinay and Money.

***

2009: My colleague and I created the digital accounts for our company. It was an experiment lang because back then, di pa uso sa mga Philippine brands na magkaroon ng presence online. Malay ba namin kung saan papunta ito.

***

2010: I was formally transferred to work on corporate digital. I was handling internal comm for six years and my boss then said I should try handling digital naman. One of the projects I remain proud of is Unilab Active Health. Yes, that brand behind the hugely successful Run United. I’m still an admin of that page but the new team is the one that updates it. Kaya na nila and I’m so proud of them!

I also went back to blogging, courtesy of Women’s Central. This was the year that I was active in the blogging community and got even invited to a lot of brand events.

***

2012-2013: I created and managed other social media accounts in the office like CarbTrim, Pure ‘n Fresh, Celeteque, Asian Secrets, Asian Secrets Whitening Spa, among others. Some social media accounts I created and managed have been deactivated na but some still remain.

***

2014: Fast forward to 2014, I made a name in digital marketing in the office. I am still learning as I go along and don’t have any illusions that I am great at what I do. I am and will always be a student of digital.

It was a journey that I didn’t realize would take me to where I am today. I love what I do and I love that I get paid to do what I love to do. I’m excited where this journey would take me.

Secrets PR Reps Won’t Tell Bloggers (But I Would!)

My friend AB and Me were chatting about blogging and SEO, when we touched on her Dear PR post. She had an idea of coming up with a response to Dear PR, which is Dear Blogger.

I volunteered to write it for her, which you’ll read on her blog soon. This inspired me to share some secrets of what PR reps feel, do and think when dealing with bloggers. Bear in mind that these come from collective experience–stories shared, personal experience, etc.

Love it!

1. When you tell us privately that you have a problem with our agency or our client. It tells us you are a decent human being and that you care enough to share your feedback.

2. When you recommend bloggers, who you think are interesting or worth communicating with

3. When you share dirt about other bloggers because you help us be more careful

4. When you share what our competitors are doing

5. Seeing personal blog posts that show who you are, what you do (aside from blogging), and what/who you care about

6. When you are kind to us

7. When we become friends and our relationship is more than just blogger-PR.

 

Hate it!

1. When you copy/paste press materials. It doesn’t look good when we report it to our clients.

2. When you do not reply to our invites. Be decent enough to confirm or decline. We hate it when you just show up without notice.

3. When you only approach us when you need something from us (sponsorship, blog giveaways, etc)

4. When all we can read in your blog is brand-related articles

5. Poor grammar. Occasional lapses, fine. Poor grammar all throughout, unforgivable.

6. OOTDs. Please find something else to write or IG about.

7. When you host too many giveaways. It makes for a messy blog.

 

Yes, we do these!

1. We gossip about you. We know what you do with those extra loots you got. We know who took home five gift packs. We know who gatecrashed which event.

2. We tell our friends, colleagues, and clients who are the good bloggers and who are the bad ones. In the same manner that we consult one another for feedback about bloggers we are not familiar with. Forward and CC are our favorite email functions.

3. There are bloggers, who we will NEVER, EVER invite. EVER.

4. We play favorites. There are bloggers, who will always be part of the list that we recommend to clients.

5. Our favorite bloggers are not always the most popular. Sometimes, we tolerate the popular bloggers because, well, they are popular. But if we can have it our way, we’ll push for nicer bloggers.

6. Sometimes, we don’t believe that what you are charging for your services is worth it.

7. Treating us kindly will go a long way.

Real Problems of a Digital Palengkera

It’s very real!

1. We use social networking sites more for updating our brand pages rather than our own personal accounts.

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2. It’s difficult to explain what we do.

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3. We define the world just a little bit differently, e.g. engagement does not involve a ring.

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4. Clients expect digital to create miracles.

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5. We’re always online (it sucks!).

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7. Digital killed our ability read deeply.

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8. Spam.

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9. We have become impatient.

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10. Slow Internet connection.

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It’s a Spam!

The irony is that I just had spam for breakfast.

I received this text message from PureGold.

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I am 100% sure that I never subscribed to this. I don’t do my grocery in PureGold and I haven’t been to any PureGold outlet in years. So, why am I receiving this?

If you can notice it, the sender’s name is masked as PureGold. This means it’s official and the sender has an official access to a network’s text blast system.

I know this because I use a similar facility for our employees. So, why am I receiving this again? The worse thing about this is that the text blast doesn’t give the recipients any option to unsubscribe.

I reported this to Globe and its Twitter account said its staff will do something about it. Let’s see.

Update:

Globe, through its Twitter account, has informed me that the text is a infotext and not a spam or scam.

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I never doubted that it’s a scam but the mere fact that I never subscribed to any PureGold text makes me consider this as a spam. Sorry but I’m not going to disregard it because it’s annoying.

So, Globe, how do I opt out of this?

Social Media Do’s and Don’ts during Disasters

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Photo credit: thecultureur.com

Typhoon Mario and habagat just inundated the Philippines, causing massive flooding in the capital and nearby provinces. At times like these, many people I know are online to post weather updates, how they feel about the situation, and to share whatever they want to share.

But these are also times when people can be high-strung. They rant about practically everything–power outage, traffic, flooding, incompetence of government agencies, among others. And when people are hot-headed, it’s easy to tick them off. Even a mere post about what you’re eating at the moment can spark a whole debate.

Unless you want to start a social media firestorm, these are just some tips on social media do’s and don’ts.

1. Don’t post selfies.

Any kind of selfie in times of disasters and calamities will never be appreciated. Don’t post a selfie while you’re knee-deep in flood water. No selfie while your evacuating neighbors are seen in the background. Just don’t take any selfie. You will just come across as insensitive, period.

2. Don’t post food photos.

Okay, this is not as bad as selfies. During inclement weather, I commonly see friends sharing food photos that they are enjoying at that time. It’s quite acceptable for rainy days but can be really frowned upon during big disasters. I remember that during typhoon Yolanda, netizens were just so vicious in bashing those who Instagram food photos. Make sure you exercise prudence when posting #foodporn.

3. Do share weather and news updates.

These are always welcome and especially helpful if you tag friends, who may be affected by the calamity. Tagging them shows that you are thinking of them and that you are concerned with their safety. But make sure you post updates coming from reputable sources. Don’t post anything that has not been validated by credible sources like that stupid hoax about cosmic rays entering Earth from Mars.

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4. Don’t rant and don’t humble brag.

Ranting against government agencies, Meralco, traffic, delayed flights won’t help you. Okay, maybe you’ll feel a little better when you see your friends agreeing with you but then, what’s next? You’re still stuck in traffic, your flight is still delayed, and your power is still not restored. So did your ranting solve anything?

Humble brag is even worse. Personally, I hate humble brags during disasters, especially posts that brag how #blessedbeyondbelief you are. Yes, you are safe and sound in your home. Yes, you are not stuck outside. But please, please consider that your friends may have lost their homes, may still be stranded somewhere, or even lacking food and water.

Humble brag is just way too insensitive and you will only come off across as a complete asshole.

5. Do have a bit of fun.

What I love most about Filipinos during disaster and calamities is our ability to be optimistic and inject humor in our situation. You see it in news coverage. When the camera pans, Filipinos just automatically wave and smile at the camera even when they’re on their rooftops or wading through waist-deep flood. It’s that optimism that helps us be resilient, no matter what challenges may come our way.

It’s quite okay to share funny photos during bad times because it jolts people to stop and breathe. But do exercise caution and be a bit sensitive, as well. You can make fun of the situation but never make fun of people. This photo is one of the most common posts I see during inclement weather when people are asking whether classes and work are suspended. I’ve seen this dozens of times but I always, always laugh when I see this.

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Personally, I usually just lurk online during times of disasters and calamities. I prefer to just read posts rather than make one or even comment. People are just too sensitive and who knows what can trigger them off.

Bottom line is be sensitive, be sensitive, be sensitive.