If you are on social media, every Thursday, your feed likely fills up with posts of your Facebook friends from decades ago. This is for #tbt or #throwbackthursday. The trend has been around for at least a couple of years and involves people posting old pictures of themselves – usually with an explanation of the story behind the picture. Social media tends to be obsessed with the present and what’s happening right now, so I’ve always loved #tbt – it breaks the mold and gives you a better idea of the story behind your friends. Instead of just hearing about who they are, you get to learn more about how they got there. This, of course, can give you a much better understanding of people who are close with and care about – and this is one of the best uses of social media.
I’ve started seeing more and more elected officials using #tbt, and I think this is a great thing. There are some reasons not to participate as an elected official – the pictures can be so personal, ridiculous looking, or otherwise embarrassing. Obviously there are limits on just what you should be uploading – posting pictures of yourself at certain college parties, for example, is a terrible, terrible idea. That being said, within limits, participating in #tbt is a great thing. Here’s why:
- The best of social media: We can all think of a million examples of the worst of social media, the things that drive us nuts – people vaguely complaining about individuals close to them, people who overshare, the guy that won’t stop posting Candy Crush updates, etc. Social media can be a pain. But, at its core, social media contains a brilliant premise – it lets you get closer to people who you care about. #tbt is perfect for this. You get to see an intimate part of someone’s past and have a better understanding of how they got to where they are today. As a politician, you should be about sharing your story and telling people who you are. If they have a better idea of your past, of your personal history, that’s a great thing – as long as it is information you want to share!
- Personalizes who you are: Too many people know politicians by their press releases and media appearances, and in those, we tend to look like friendly, professional robots. Voters prefer to know that their politicians are “one of us” – real humans with a real past. #tbt gives elected officials a chance to prove just that – like every human ever, we looked silly when we were younger, we had fun, we were goofy, etc. Some believe that elected officials look better when their image is nice and polished. I disagree, and #tbt gives me an opportunity to show my constituents not only who I am, but who I was.
Agree or disagree? Let me know in the comments!