We often perceive the people we meet through what they say, especially online, when there’s no direct interaction possible than talking either by typing or video chat. Because I live on the internet for over twenty years now I got a bit careful about with whom I interact and what I say. There are loads of people out there simply looking for a fight, trying to stress you out. Not only your classic troll, but also people wishing to feel domination about somebody else, for example by fighting over stupid stuff in facebook comments or under youtube videos. So this article is about the difference of what people say and how they act and if these things actually match up all the time. (Spoiler: They don’t 😉 )
I spent a lot of time on internet forums in the early 2000s. They were the number 1 resource for one of my favorite hobbies which was cartoons and pop culture items of the 80s and early 90s and most of the people there were a tad bit older than me but that was okay. I got to know some very amazing artists at that time who are today working (at least sometimes) in the industry and turning their talent into cash, which is really dope! But occasionally the common troll, the jealous bitch or the annoying fuckboy appeared, caused some uproar and then vanished never to be seen again. They said a lot of stuff, claimed this and that, sometimes writing epicly long posts for hours on end, depending on what they tried to achieve, and of course they tried to interact directly with members of the community to get the fuel for their written escapades. Sometimes some people met them in real life and were a bit taken aback that the person who just wrote huge or agressive texts was very different from what they saw right in front of them. Which once more taught them the lesson that it’s most likely not what it seems online.
I, too, had a few unpleasant encounters like this and decided I would keep my private life and my friends out of the internet. I don’t feel comfortable exposing people to an audience, who may be not as experienced or simply not interested in internet related things, no matter how small this audience might be. Hence I’m very careful of sharing photos or tagging them or mentioning them at all without their consent. Because once it’s out there, it’s out there.
So, I’m a girl and I post photos of myself, sometimes looking witchy, sometimes a bit sexy (without exposing all the gaping holes or protruding ornaments, you get the gist), often times painted with makeup, wearing cloakes, crazy amounts of jewelry, wigs and stuff. And since this is part of what I do for a living I’m oftentimes more polite on my social media than I’d be in direct interaction. My accounts are my business cards and if I cuss too much, it’ll be descriptive of me. Sometimes I do cuss indeed, but I use it as a stylistic device in articles I write but direct interaction with customers or acquaintances is strictly polite and professional. Just like your average internet troll the image I project of myself is not completely true because I won’t let people know when I’m annoyed because of private reasons, while the troll will make himself seem bigger than he is in real life. I do it because I strive to be professional, the troll does it because he strives to feel good.
I’m not spoiling it for you when I say that these artificial images can be problematic. This professional appearance is one of the reasons why actors, models and influencers seem to be flawless at the first glance. Nobody knows whether I’m wearing my beautiful elven gown or gray sweatpants with holes two unspecific male cats clawed into them while trying to chase eachother, and a rather out of place lavender colored PJ top saying “This moment should last forever” on the front. But this picture is definitely not going to appear on my instagram. And if it is, someone’s gonna die ;).
For me, social media is not a thing to show off my perfect life on but a source of inspiration. My photos show my work and my face, the occasional outfit of the day when I once more went a bit overboard with my clothing choice, but my everyday life is filled with working on projects, puttig things into envelopes, ordering things, cleaning my cats’ litterbox, washing clothes, repearing shit these two little buggers broke, caring for my family and friends and basically being a very normal person in general, with a few exceptions concerning my hobbies. Sometimes I witness perfect moments I don’t post anywhere. Sometimes I’m lit af but nobody online will notice 😀 Everyone’s life has loads of facets.
And of couse you get messages from people, complimenting you when you post photos of yourself or what you do online and I really appreciate all of them. So much. You have no idea! And I overlook most of the awkwardness when people write me because I’m out there all the time, I talked with people about 1000 times richer, more experienced and more talented than I am and I’m quite confident most of the time. So it’s okay if your joke doesn’t kick off right away. It happens to me, too. I’m the queen of awkward jokes that I need to explain 😉 And if I don’t answer you back I’m usually not pissed, just busy.
Sometimes I get annoyed and indeed pissed about what people try to do to get in contact with me or how they think they can act around me just because they talked to me a few times via Facebook. That’s also something natural, that people sometimes cannot contain themselves. Not because I’m that awesome but because they get really excited and overwhelmed with meeting someone new with an unsusual job whose photos are all edited and they’re simply not used to that. The younger generation is, but some people at the age of 35+ aren’t necessarily.
So what happens is that people try to hit on me very hard or they try to get my contact information very hard, message me each and every day about the stuff they do, ask me for an opinion, ask for collaborations, ask for help with digital art or even order stuff from me just to get the feeling of having to do with me.
I’m really not that special. And I often remind people that they are writing to a business account and some of them realize that they were somehow misled by the circumstances. Some get angry, some feel ashamed but some just ignore that. They start writing very flirty stuff, tell me things out of their private life, mostly that their marriage is going down in flames, that they are depressed because they lost their spouse, that they lost a shipload of money, and while I appreciate that they trust me with this information and they think I can at least give them some kind of advice, it’s a very thin line that’s sometimes being crossed with a bulldozer.
So, some of these fellows, especially the very flirty ones, I can’t take seriously. Not the laughing-kind, but I cannot be responsive to online flirting. Not only because I have a partner but because these people are flirting with a business profile that only shows the good side of the medal. It doesn’t mean I’m faking this whole entire pagan thing I’m doing, because I’m not. My living room is stuffed to the brim with devotional objects, but nobody is that positive every single day. And I highly doubt that all the beautiful viking girls on Instagram gear up every day to stroll through the woods. They do this stuff, but not every day 24/7/365.
The line I was talking about which was crossed with a bulldozer happened when somebody repeatedly tried to intertwine me and my business with his personal life, telling me he can’t tell his wife that he ordered stuff from me because she’d be jealous. He can’t tag me in an animation he took from a conversation with me because of his jealous wife.
People will try this. They will try to flatter you, they will try to compliment you. Not only influencers but also real-life people. Normal people without make up. Intending to take advantage of you, sometimes themselves meaning ill, sometimes not because they only act a bit instinctively without thinking too much. And they will of course tell you otherwise when you ask them to stop their behaviour.
-“Hey sexy! ❤ You lookin so hawt!”
– “Hey, could you please stop making these kinds of remarks? While I appreciate that you like my work it’s awkward that you’re acting so flirty and stuff. On a sidenote, I do have a partner.”
“Oh nononononooooo, I’m not flirting with you, I talk to everyone like this all. the. time.”
2 days later..
– “Ohmygosh I just realized you’re the perfect woman, I just love your face in your new pic, I wish my gurl/boy was more like you… :-*”
2 days later…
– “Just thought about your newest pics and the combination of your looks, your hobbies and your attitude is all I’d ever need to be the happiest person!”
– “Hey I just told you this flirting is awkward. This is a business profile and I actually have a partner, in case you forgot.”
– “Oh sorry, I really wasn’t flirting. Your partner’s so lucky! I wish I was him/her. If you and I were single I’d really have to pull myself together, you’d lead a risky life I tell ya… 😉 :-* ❤ ”
That’s flirting, although the person states otherwise. And some people insist on continueing this behaviour no matter how often you tell them to stop. And that’s another perfect example of the difference between what you say and what you do, and that these two don’t necessarily have to line up. As the wannabe-influencer I am I cannot cater to this stuff and also as a private person I’m careful af to not let people into my life who want to take advantage by saing the one thing and doing another.
Conclusion (aka tl;dr):
People out there will lie right into your face. They will act as if they were 10 feet big, they’ll try to seduce you, they’ll try to take advantage of you, try to snatch your stuff for cheap, try to make you susceptible to blackmailing, try to see you naked, try to come into your private life and create chaos just for the sake of it. They will be flirty, they will be menacing. Not only online. You have to be careful. But you shouldn’t forget that there’s a beauty in interacting with people, hearing their stories, getting genuine compliments, being regarded as trustworthy. The only things that can protect you are experience, advice and caution. Just like with everything in life. And in case something in my text ringed a bell to you … it’s probably because you experienced what I just said and simply didn’t connect the dots yet.
Anyway, that was a rather long article I had floating around on my mind for a few days. Hope you liked it and you maybe even found it to be useful 🙂
Have a nice weekend!