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Fake News! Don’t believe the hype

Fake News! Don’t believe the hype

We are hearing so much about ‘Fake news’ a term that 18 months ago was not really uttered! But here we are today with it as the word of the year 2017 and even an awards ceremony in its honour with the winners being announced by Donald Trump!

A higher proportion of adults are getting their news from social media than ever before, it’s likely that more and more of us are seeing – and believing – information that is not just inaccurate, but totally made up.

There are hundreds of fake news websites out there, from those which deliberately imitate real life newspapers, to government propaganda sites, and even those which tread the line between satire and plain misinformation but is fake news even closer to home than that?

How many of us have Facebook? Instagram? Snapchat? LinkedIn?  Twitter? and share our lives with those we are ‘connected’ with?

These connections could be family, friends, work colleagues, or even people whom are mere acquaintances or individuals we have never even met but who have sent us a ‘connection’ request that we have accepted. No matter whom is seeing or reading what we share, how close they are to us, or not, they will all be seeing the same thing. So what are you sharing?

I’ve recently stopped sharing much on Facebook after chatting over the phone with an ex-work colleague whom I hadn’t seen or spoken to for a while. We were friends on Facebook and she made a comment about how great everything looked in my life, wasn’t I lucky always going out, having a great time, didn’t I look great for my age etc etc etc. The truth was I wasn’t always out but everyone thought I was because every time I was everyone knew about it, I do look my age but it’s amazing what you can do with good make-up, the right lighting and a great photo filter and actually I wasn’t particularly happy but that’s the persona I had developed on social media. Nobody asked me if I was ok because there was no need, they could see I was fine and everything was going well for me. The social media me wasn’t really me it was the censored me, the one I wanted everyone to believe, I realised that by hiding behind the façade I wasn’t really dealing with the things I needed to address.

My job was causing me anxiety, my work-life balance was shot to pieces, I was lonely and I lacked direction and drive and I was partying too hard!

For far too long I had been spreading fake news about myself and it was time to start to tell the truth. I reached out to friends and colleagues and started to think about what I needed to do and set about doing it.

Social media is a fantastic tool but it can also be a very dangerous one.

How many of your family, friends, colleagues and employees are caught up in their fake ‘everything is rosy in the garden’ social media persona but underneath is desperate for someone to see the truth, to help and support them. As friends we may see more about what really goes on when the social spotlight is turned off but as employers, Managers and HR professionals do you know your people well enough to help and support them in the way they need you to? Or do you believe the hype they are spreading?

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