The Online Versus “Real” Persona

Social media is a carefully curated selection of content.

Anna Burgess Yang
3 min readAug 10, 2018


“A food blog displayed on the screen of a MacBook on a desk” by Igor Miske on Unsplash

I was perusing Instagram the other day and scrolled past a post from a woman that I know personally. She is an instructor at my yoga studio and also has a blog and following. Her post was along the lines of “There are no bad days. We put a category on our days. It’s up to us to keep it within the moment and not turn it into a bad day.”

I immediately thought “What utter nonsense.”

I sent it to a friend of mine who is a fellow loss mama. My daughter, Nelle, was stillborn at 21 weeks of pregnancy and my daughter Iris was lost at 16 weeks of pregnancy. My friend’s son was stillborn on his due date, and she is also a licensed therapist. She was equally infuriated and we assumed that the poster had never gone through anything difficult in her life. The post reeked of ignorance.

I have been through bad days, and I could not “happy think” my way out of that bad day. I have been through depression and anxiety, where the chemistry of my body had changed and there was nothing I could do to control the thoughts in my head. The implication of the post was that if we had bad days we were just not trying hard enough, and it was offensive.

Still seething, I mentioned the post to my husband. He said, “Maybe that’s just her online persona.” He mentioned that he had seen an interview with the lead singer of Metallica recently. The singer said that while a lot of the songs were dark and angry, it was just an image. He was actually a really happy person 98% of the time. And Metallica has been around since long before social media made our private lives so glaringly public.

I stopped and took a breath. Her post had been on her business profile, the one associated with her blog. She was targeting a specific audience and all of her posts about yoga are motivational and uplifting.

I do the same. In my own blog, I write about grief and loss. Those are not the only aspects of my life, but that is the target audience of my writing. I had to make room for the possibility, or perhaps probability, that the same was true for this yoga blog.

It is hard to separate what we see on social media versus real life, even for…



Anna Burgess Yang

Productivity geek + solopreneur with niche expertise. #5amwritersclub frequent flyer. •