I have just watched the limited series Inventing Anna on Netflix. It is a true and fascinating account of Anna Sorokin, who pretended to be Anna Delvey, a German-Russian heiress to get into the VIP crowd amongst New York’s’ finest. In the trial episode, Anna’s lawyer said ‘We all lie a little. We elaborate our CV’s; we portray a different image on social media.’ It got me thinking. I have been Jasmine Storm since 2002. My reasons for inventing Jasmine Storm were nowhere near as elaborate as Anna’s, but nonetheless, I have a certain persona I wish to share although I don’t believe I am hiding anything. In the last few years, writing my online diary blog which is in essence my life and experiences have been written from the heart. But you may wonder why I decided to write under a pseudonym in the first place.
Firstly, it’s been easier to be honest and write from the heart as I feel a layer of protection by being able to write as Jasmine. But at the beginning I just wanted to keep my work and social life separate. At the time I worked for an advocacy organisation for adults with learning disabilities. Some did not understand boundaries and I would often get calls at 4am. So, you can understand why I wanted to keep my personal life separate. Once I started blogging, Jasmine Storm grew. It was always essentially me, I always used my own photos and talked about my own opinions but unlike Anna, I’ve never asked anyone for money. I am not defrauding anyone or doing anything illegal.
In 2016 I celebrated a milestone birthday. I got more birthday cards for Jasmine than my birth name. I consider Jasmine to be a part of me, an alter ego. She is the fun-loving cool person I always dreamt of being. The truth is I am not always cool, I do have the same worries and stresses as many of you and I have days with no make up and bad hair. Let’s be honest, no one is going to post a photo of themselves they consider bad. No one is going to want to share images that make them feel worse. We are all getting judged out there and sometimes we do share a good photo to help us feel a bit better. I am sure we can all admit to that. I am rubbish at photoshop but I have used the filters on Instagram. Does that make me guilty of portraying an image that isn’t true? It’s a difficult line to draw.
I am often accused of always being on my phone and yes that true. I do take photos of food for my Facebook, I do take photos of my walks for my insta and I do interact with millions on twitter while watching shows such as Great British Bake Off, The Apprentice and of course, Strictly. I love interactive TV. It is a revolution; you just have to be careful not to fall into the dark hole that can make you feel even more isolated and lonely. Social media means we are all only one tweet, photo or post away from the celebrities we love. In some ways, social media feels more intimate. It’s important to realise that actually, it’s just a medium for people to promote what they are doing. So, tell that band you loved their show, but don’t keep privately messaging them 100 times a day. Use the insta filter but make sure its photos of you and not stolen from someone else (I may have watched too many Catfish programmes). Make sure that even if you are sharing just a small part of you, its still you.
The fact is I am still me online. I am just trying to portray the best version of me. We all are doing exactly that. I believe it’s okay to enjoy social media, just as long as you are not pretending to be a wealthy German-Russian heiress.
Have a good week.