As more and more people from my professional network add me on the social media platforms I still considered fairly informal, I am starting to miss the days when social media was purely social.
I alternate between considering myself lucky to have been at the forefront of experiencing social media develop and unlucky to have to deal with all its pitfalls.
The latest problem I face is having my superiors – and most recently, my dad – send requests to connect, befriend and follow. Especially on Facebook, the last platform I considered ‘purely personal.’
I opened my Facebook account eight years ago at the age of 15 so for me, and many others, Facebook is not a place for professional conduct. I am my silliest, funniest, most political and most vocal on Facebook. The ease with which I can post images and long bodies of text allows me to dissect and discuss ideas, interact with friends and explore my developing identity. An identity that people aren’t always too receptive to.
The informal nature of Facebook and the fact that I only had friends and peers on the platform meant I did not feel the need to filter my thoughts and feelings, even from the people who didn’t and don’t always agree with me.
But, as I sit here staring at a Facebook invitation from the CEO of the company I currently work for, I feel like I will have to let that freedom go.
I can safely say Drake and Future were on to something when they named their mixtape “What a Time to Be Alive” for the personal reason that being a young, black feminist right now is lit!
My tagline on every online profile I own states that I am seeking the fullest expression of self through music, art, fashion, pop culture, politics, history and various other topics of interest as well as how they play out in the digital space. Social media is one of the main ways in which I do this.
Even though I am expressing a curated version of self on these platforms, the space offers a safety net for my expressions of black womanhood that does not exist in the real world.
Now that my former boss (who is a woman), my current boss and my dad wish to be let into such a personal space – what am I to do with my honest expressions of black womanhood?
I pretty much post the same things on Twitter as I do on Facebook, it’s just that space is just limited and free thought and a difference of opinion seem to be more widely accepted on Twitter. Especially as “woke Twitter” is on the rise. Twitter is also just easier because the older generation hasn’t taken too much of a liking to it so they are less likely to find me there.
Logic states that I am faced with one of two options:
- Do not to accept the invitations OR
- Accept them and just keep being myself…
But it’s easy to give advice from the outside. Not accepting the invitations means that I will have to have a frank discussion with each person about why I refused the invitation (unless I just send them a link to this article).
Accepting the invitations and continuing to post as I always have means that I – like many black women – will have to deal with the backlash from people who are offended by MY expressions of MY reality. I already have to deal with it from black men, which is what makes me wonder if I am ready to add white tears and side-eyes from my father to the mix?
Like Sway, I do not have the answers. I will just opt for the first solution that resembles the halfway mark between both options and deal with subsequent problems as they arise.
Share your thoughts on the matter with me on Twitter, @Kay_Tatyana