Selling the culture of insincerity

·3-min read
Malay Mail
Malay Mail

JUNE 8 — Instagram, as we often get reminded, isn't real.

It's depressing how similar the bigger Instagram accounts look — either it is stylised framed graphics with some inspirational quote or a thousand selfies.

Yet the social network that I think is more guilty of promoting fakeness is LinkedIn.

There is an entire industry dedicated to creating posts to promote individuals and companies as thought leaders to the point they have become meme-worthy as the writers for said posts tend to keep recycling the same styles or ideas.

I think that is partly why so-called shock jocks such as Joe Rogan are so popular.

Sure, what comes out of their mouths is unfettered vulgarity and implausible, poorly researched claims but it all sounds a lot less polished and rehearsed.

Candour is in short supply and I think people are much better at seeing through carefully crafted facades and will question just how sincere personalities are.

What about VTubers then? People creating videos that do not show their true faces but instead you see animated avatars with made up names?

What differentiates them is that the audience is in on the smoke and mirrors.

No one believes that 2D or 3D anime avatars walk among us and that it is just a computer generated presentation, obscuring the actual person behind it.

Because those avatars take away the need for VTubers to work on things like their hair or makeup, it frees them to concentrate instead on connecting to their audiences with less self-consciousness.

I just find it tiresome to read email copy or social media posts that are obviously fashioned from a template.

Perhaps it might seem too much to be asking for more authenticity or originality but whether it's press releases, LinkedIn posts or curated Instagram campaigns I am tired of the junk that is being sold as copywriting these days.

It is perhaps also the by-product of an obsession with metrics, that Facebook has revealed to be a lie anyhow.

There's more to explaining reach and the success of a message than peppering it with 'call to action' sale pitches and conversions.

Facebook and YouTube likes can be bought, as can social media followers.

I think that perhaps Twitter is, despite Elon Musk's complaining about bots, the last platform left where you can see unvarnished personalities.

It is Twitter where I got information on whether I should renew my passport at the nearby Kelana Jaya immigration centre, where I found the nearest Covid-19 booster shot appointment and where I get the latest updates on public transport delays.

It would be a shame if the platform also devolves into a celebration of inauthenticity and cynical sales pitches.

I don't know what the future might bring for social media but to communicators past and present, there has never been a time when originality won't be appreciated — so do the right thing and shelve those fake interview anecdote posts.

As the saying goes, be real. The world needs that now more than ever in a world of curated personalities and digital Ponzi schemes.

*This is the personal opinion of the columnist.

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