Flipping channels on Saturday night with my husband we came across a reality show called, “If You Really Knew Me” on MTV.” I was immediately interested and somewhat saddened by a group of high school students from Anthony Wayne High School. They shared information about themselves; details that you just wouldn’t know or even understand if you saw them interacting with their friends in public.
The woman instructing the teens asked them to form groups and to move close together so that their knees were touching in a circle. Before she walked away she said, “If you really knew me you’d know that my young daughter struggles between two parents that are separated. She has two different lives and it’s so hard for me to watch this….”
One group of teens began the discussion with a young girl who began by saying, “If you really knew me….” She started talking about how even though she’s a cheerleader, it doesn’t stop her from always worrying about the way she looks (and, if you only knew how insecure she really is). The teen also admitted that she just does things to “fit in” with her friends. Tears streamed down her face as she explained to the other teens what she really felt on the inside. A young man began his discussion the same way, “If you really knew me,” and then talked about being teased about his weight….
For me, it’s one of those shows that I can’t watch without a box of tissues nearby. What I found especially interesting is that before the groups convened, the instructor talked to the teens, offering what I thought was a clear message in the form of a hand drawn diagram. She sketched on a large piece of paper an iceberg with a line drawn through it to represent how the ocean water covers the iceberg. The instructor explained when you approach an iceberg on the high seas you only see a portion of what’s really there. What’s underneath the water is the bulk of the iceberg and we don’t even know what it really looks like or how big it is.
It’s the same thing with people. Her comparison then revealed that we show an image on the surface and it’s approximately 10% of what we show the world, as opposed to who we really are. Can you imagine…only 10%? It’s that other 90% that we keep fairly hidden because the 10% is, as she explained, “the fake part.” Now, I ask you to think about PR 2.0 and social media. Do you think that social media allows us to give away more than 10%, to expose more of our personal brands or our company brands, so that people really know what’s beneath the surface? Do you think it’s 20%, 30%, 50% more or is it the entire iceberg? And, is the percentage we show still considered fake? Is it just an image? Or, is what you see what you get?
I believe that social media exposes more of what’s underneath the ocean water. It levels the playing field and shows a human side to those who connect and share. Passion comes out in conversations, whether they are in blog posts, on a Facebook wall, or tweets on Twitter. I can actually tell the mood of my own family just by looking at their Facebook statuses. What do you think, is social media exposing the iceberg and do you think that anyone or any company will ever expose a much higher percentage? I don’t have the answer because everyone is different and so is every organization, but it’s a good question. What do you think?