The Power of Vulnerability Online


A few months ago I had a long car ride and posted on my facebook wall that I needed an audio book to listen to. As I received a whole slew of recommendations from my friends, nothing really seemed to pique my interest except a comment from a friend of a friend, a guy who plays drums in my friend’s band actually. He spoke SO highly of a series of lectures called The Power of Vulnerability and told me that it would be the best thing I’d ever listen to…. And he was right.

The lectures were by a researcher named Brené Brown--a lot of you have probably heard of her. She’s written multiple new york times best selling books and her TED talk on this very subject, vulnerability, has over 36 MILLION views.

In the book she talks about a lot of things, but it can basically all be summed up in this one quote:

In our culture, we associate vulnerability with emotions we want to avoid such as fear, shame, and uncertainty. Yet we too often lose sight of the fact that vulnerability is also the birthplace of joy, belonging, creativity, authenticity, and love.
— Brené Brown

Brené spends the lectures relating to her audience with stories from her own marriage, being a mother, and in her work. She tells incredibly embarrassing stories that have you rolling on the floor laughing and in the next moment, drops truth bombs that make you squirm.

I know this sounds awfully like a Brené Brown love letter and I mean, it kind of is, but I wanted to get her message across in a way that I think my audience will relate: The Power of Vulnerability Online.

I used to be scared to show all of the parts of me on social media—why would my followers care, what would they think, how would they react? But after a lot of experimentation I realized my most “liked” photos on instagram were the ones that I was being raw and authentic. I grew my Instagram following from 800 to over 4,000 simply by showing EXACTLY who I am behind the screen. Through this experience, I realized that people WANT vulnerability online. I’ve broken it down to 2 reasons:

  1. The world does not need another perfect beauty/fashion blogger.

    Friends, that market is saturated and in a sea of perfection, those of us with bad hair days, the occasional pimple and, yes I’ll say it, A-cup boobs, are the ones who stick out. But this is a GOOD thing for growing an audience of people that really care. Which leads me to…

  2. Vulnerability will convert your audience from followers to loyal fans.

    Let’s be honest, we all follow a lot of people here on the ‘gram, but there’s only a handful that we feel like we really know. Those are the people who are showing up as their true selves, being super relatable and raw with their followers. You feel like they’re your best friend, and the same will happen for you if you show the real, un-retouched parts of your life... the parts that make you the beautiful human you are.

So, is showing up on social media as 100% YOU scary? Absolutely. But are there amazing benefits to it? Countless.

Vulnerability lets your audience see you you really are. It deepens your relationships with those around you. Think about it—have you ever had a friendship or romantic relationship with someone and you felt like they weren’t being completely honest with how they felt? Like they were closed off to you? Didn’t it make you feel like you couldn’t get as close to them as you’d like? Or maybe you’ve been the person who puts walls up and doesn’t let anyone get too close? That is all due to a lack of vulnerability.

I know it’s scary to be yourself in person, let alone online. But I can give you a little piece of homework to do every time you go to hit the “share'“ button social media, that will help you in the vulnerability department BIG TIME. Ask yourself this:

Is this a post that shows who you really are? Or is it who you want your followers to THINK you are?