The One Sock Method: How to Be Authentic on Social Media

Are you finding social media to feel kinda…gross and exhausting lately? I can’t quite pinpoint *when* this happened for me, but it feels like it’s becoming increasingly so lately. In an effort to become likeable, personable, I don’t even KNOW what, I see business owners going to all sorts of lengths to “BE REAL AND AUTHENTIC” in ways that fall short and the rest of us are as uncomfortable as going to an amateur stand-up night. It’s like the uncanny valley of social media - you can’t always put your finger on what’s wrong, but every cell in your brain is letting out a Tina-Belcher “errrhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh…”

tina uhhhh.gif

The big question is: are you contributing to the ick?

Let’s be honest and cut to the chase: you probably are. Mostly because oversharing on social media is super easy to do. That phone is always in our pocket, the app is calling our name, why don’t I just hop on and spill my guts about this thing I’ve never mentioned before but it’s personal to me so that’s totally what my audience wants to hear from me.

It might look a little like:

  • Every other post starting with the words “omg truth time;”

  • Flooding your stories with your brother’s wedding… when the rest of us didn’t even know you had a brother…? (Also, why?)

  • Resharing that one inspirational quote in that same hand-lettering and captioning it with how “the struggle is real” then a slightly random to the rest of us story about your breakup last week;

Guilty? Yeah, I’ve been there too. In this glut of ‘authenticity’ shared by so many social media accounts, there’s a disturbing trend of folks not knowing how to be authentic, how to be vulnerable, or how to share uncomfortable things on their business social without making it wildly uncomfortable for the rest of us—including *your* target market. Your target market is feeling the same ick and exhaustion you are when they see stuff like this—even if they can’t pinpoint it—and it’s keeping them from connecting with you in the way you really want them to (and from investing in your services while they’re at it). 

When you’re crushing it with your authenticity online, your target market feels drawn to you, connected to you, and like they just *have* to know more. In other words, it does wonders for your know, like, trust factor that leads them to buy.

This happens not because being authentic is bad, but because most attempts at authenticity fall into one of two camps —and a lot of the people we see online are choosing the wrong kind. Didn’t know there was more than one? You can read more about them here. But in a nutshell, they’re called Performative and Authentic (yes, authentic’s an eye roll and a mouthful all in one). And they illustrate the difference between being authentic because you know you have an audience that will applaud you regardless and being authentic because there’s something you want to share that you think can be of service to others. It’s easy to see where the oversharing and ick comes in, yes?

The easy way to shift from performative to, let’s call it “true” authenticity, is by following a method called the One Sock Method.

But beware! This sucker has been known to be so powerful that after just one post, potential clients could be sticking to you like glue and following you everywhere on the internet. #sorrynotsorry

First things first—in order to be real on social media my golden rule is, do not air ALL your dirty laundry.
Choose *1* dirty sock.
That’s it. (get it?? ONE sock method? ha!)

Can you change your socks?
Should you change the dirty sock you’re sharing every hour on the hour?
If you want to keep your sanity, probably not.

So how do you choose which sock out of the plethora of socks you own that you want to use? I’m so glad you asked. The method is as follows:

  1. Throw out the not-yet-healed socks first. Social media is NOT therapy and not a place to share open wounds/issues. When you share, it’s about bringing light and insight to your audience, not trying to shed light on your own issues.

  2. Sort the dirty laundry that’s left into 3 piles. As with most things in life, before choosing your sock, sort your laundry into 3 piles: the things you’re never going to share, the things you’d like to share and are unsure of, and the things you’re already regularly sharing. Being a human just comes with a lot of dirty laundry, and in order to maintain your humanity online, it’s important to acknowledge this laundry AND that there is a distinct difference between acknowledging your dirty laundry and air out every last thong. Acknowledge, don’t air.

  3. Select the sock that is personal and emotes real passion for you. For vulnerability and authenticity to read via social media, you (the author of this vulnerability and authenticity) must have a big personal stake in the issue at hand. In order to BE AUTHENTIC, in order to BE REAL on social media, you must feel passionately about the topic at hand.

  4. Hang it on the line in the front yard and fly it with pride. We want to see you shift between sharing the ‘real talk’ and the fun shiz, which leaves us feeling like we’re chatting with a human behind the account and not just a stylized social media personality.

And voila! It’s that simple. Notice I said simple and not easy. I’d love to say easy-peasy-lemon-squeezy, but in reality it’s probably closer to difficult-difficult-lemon-difficult. Being ‘yourself’ on social media is not easy and takes work. It will be uncomfortable at first. You’ll contemplate deleting your post 10 seconds after you put it out there more times than you can count. As counter-intuitive as it may sound, it can be a lot of work to figure out how to be yourself. 

But in a saturated playground like the online business world, the ones who show up with that “true” authenticity and show up as naturally themselves online instead of performative and the ones who succeed. They’re the ones who constantly hone their skills, do the hard thing, and do it consistently—because they’re in it for the long run. And I know this is you! It’s just going to take some time and a single dirty sock.