Filter Photos, Not Ideas

We’ve become very comfortable with filtering our lives through the various platforms available today. With Instagram, we filter photos. Facebook helps us to literally pick and choose which events we want to share with the world. Most of us typically filter our actions and words when we speak with others, tailoring our personality to fit the intended audience. This blog is a filter of sorts for me as I get to dictate what I share with you the reader.

Filtering is a natural evolution. It’s natural for us to want to pick and choose the information we share. In doing so, we can literally shape opinions and build reputations.

It’s natural to care about your personal branding and image. We generally want others to have a positive attitude towards us, and to make sure that happens, we monitor our conversations and select certain parts of our lives to share. While this definitely has some benefits, it doesn’t come without downsides.

Filtering Dilutes Your Message

A few weeks back, my fiancée and I went to see the movie Steve Jobs. While the it didn’t exactly meet my expectations, it was interesting to get a glimpse of Steve’s character. While I’ve read the biography by Walter Isaacson (and would highly recommend it to anyone), it’s hard to recreate the events in your head through simply reading words on a page.

If there is one thing I took away from the book and the movie detailing Steve’s life, it was this: he was unapologetically honest about his mission, vision, and intention. He shared opinions that were sure to hurt others. He ostracized many friends through his actions and wasn’t afraid to call out employees that were underperforming. As mercurial as his personality could be, you always knew what was on his mind.

It’s hard to find that type of personality and charisma today. Instead, we’re more concerned with our public image. Speaking your mind might offend someone and come back to haunt you in the future.

Sure, public image is important, but diluting your thoughts to avoid to avoid hurting feelings is a terrible excuse at best.

There are two things that are certain about brutal honesty:

  1. You’re bound to hurt some feelings.
  2. Your opinions are sure to polarize your intended audience.

Strong opinions, while potentially hurtful, can help to identify and attract your audience (both intended and unintended). While they might be a bit timid to admit it, your readers have strong opinions. Sitting on the fence is a surefire way to bore the crowd. Picking a side and presenting your opinion forms a deeper, personal connection and sparks a digital relationship.

Most times, I use the analogy of “audience” or “readers” simply because that’s the arena that I focus on heavily. But, the message applies to more than just attracting individuals that read your content. Presenting your ideas in a brutally honest fashion can be just as polarizing (potentially even more so) in person than on paper. You’re sure to raise some eyebrows and push away potential friends, but you’re going to highlight and develop other relationships even further.

Aren’t 20 deep connections more meaningful than 200 surface ones?

Filtering is fantastic as it allows us to form and create or own unique image. But, don’t use it as a tool for dumbing down your message.

Filter photos, not ideas.

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