11 Dec

Mirror Mirror…On the Wall

27-year-old Tarun ensures he checks his appearance and the angle of his selfie several times before he decides which photograph serves him best. Then he uses the inbuilt image enhancing app in his phone to sharpen and accentuate the picture. He then ponders over a suitably catchy caption and after 15 minutes of oscillating between a Greyscale and Classic effect he eventually settles on the Greyscale and uploads the photo! Done! Phew! No not yet….now the wait begins. Who’s going to be the first one to like the photograph? First to comment? How many likes will I receive? How many friends will comment? How I wish I could see how many people have viewed my picture and have not liked or commented on it! This ladies and gentlemen is a brief description of the current state of our society’s obsession with Self Image.

Be it as it may, no harm done with being obsessed about one’s Image. If that’s the case, then let us figure out a way to get it right each time. The biggest challenge is creating an image that does not belie the actual core of the image that you are attempting to portray. Most issues arise when there is a significant disparity between what is portrayed and what is eventually perceived by the viewer. In their attempts to gain popularity or seek attention there are occasions when people have scored self-goals or unknowingly been ignominious to themselves. It is vital to be cognizant of the fact that we now have two personas’. One that people witness when they meet us in person whenever they do and the other, which they have 24/7 access to via social media and its kin. Hence the image we portray through the Facebooks, WhatsApp’s, Twitters, Instagrams of the world is going to go a long way in making or breaking the Image that we are working to build.

Indians by nature are simplistic and prone to focus on supposedly deeper causes such as academic excellence, technical knowledge or sales competency. Sophistication, image management were always rendered secondary for a parent raising a child. But in today’s world it is possibly primary in ensuring success or perhaps bringing about a garb of success. It is nice to look suave and do things in style. It allows you to endear yourself to a larger audience and you probably stand a greater chance to be a Global Citizen. Sophistication and style need not only accompany your image on social media but can be regular companions in any environment such as travelling, dining, shopping, socializing, hosting, working, talking on the phone, sending an email or message, calling out to someone, or playing a sport to name a few.

Companies, schools and academic institutions will be far better served if a larger part of their training budgets are attuned towards building softer, image enhancing skills of their staff and students. It is important for them to bring about a change in their mindset that Image Building or Soft-Skill trainings are not a good-to-have but a need-to-have.
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Incidences of staff members indulging in social media posts that are highly detrimental to the image that they are supposed to carry or even posts against the ethos of their organization, students posting bizarre and highly opiniated myopic views about issues they have partial knowledge about, do more damage than good. By the time they realise it, its too late. People have formed an opinion about you and your next post will be thumbed down if that was possible. Hence it remains vital to actually educate people on the advantages and pitfalls of building a robust online and offline image.

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