What is “Authentic” Content in Social Media?

Inspired by this week’s unit and the discussion by my classmates, I would like to talk about what does authenticity mean in the social media world.

There are different types of categories related to social media content. As a user, I personally post noncommercial content. I basically post comments, thoughts, opinions about my day, events, pop culture or whatever is happening in my life. Some posts/tweets are thoughtful, silly, fun, etc. Some are meant to be rants, or vent, or to just “get it out.” This is the “fun” of social media–to share this with people that I know. To network with them. It’s a way to talk about our days and things we like. This content gives us a chance to connect with each other.

One of my classmates pointed out a very interesting point in the discussion–how are ads considered authentic? Ads falls into the the commercial message category because the advertisement is trying to persuade the reader to change an attitude or behavior. Personally, I do not see ads as “authentic” content at all. Can ads be original? Can they be sincere? Some ads are certainly clever and do carry out some sort of message. In this day and age, you can’t escape ads, especially from social media. From Facebook you see ads everywhere. On Instagram, while scrolling down, you see sponsored pictures (from organizations and companies) on your feed. On Twitter, there are promoted ads and tweets, also by companies and organizations, as you scroll down your timeline. Some intentions of these ads could be to make you buy a company’s product, invest in something new their doing, or maybe even make you sign up/use something. The message makes you to change your attitude about it. Could the wording define these ads as being original content? Or could it be the picture? Or the meaning behind it?

As a user, my goal is just to engage with my followers/friends: to have conversations and discussions. Authenticity comes from the heart; from how you feel and think. Thus, the engagement and networking with users with this original content creates even MORE authentic content.

What makes content original and authentic–and their purpose of being read by the user–is definitely something to think about.

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