Why I’m Authentic Online — And Why I Hate That You’re Not

Jon Tesser
2 min readOct 16, 2021

I got famous online by calling out the fake bullshit of students celebrating their New Jobs At Google, what I unaffectionately refer to as “Humbled And Honored” posts. They still disgust me. They scream of “look at me, I need approval, I’m amazing, and I’m better than you.” Yeah, that’s some virulence but so be it.

In response, or I should say rebellion, I’ve been my complete authentic self online. Most people applaud me for my bravery, which is cool, but the reasons for the authenticity will show you that I’m really no different than the Humbled and Honored people. I’m looking for approval, but in an entirely different way.

My whole life I never felt like I fit in. I didn’t have friends basically all through high school. I always thought I was weird or somehow defective Being Me. And my family didn’t help much in this regard, choosing to accept a sanitized version of The Good Child that doesn’t have much basis in reality.

This relationship with my family exists to this day. My dad prefers to hear a sanitized version of my reality without the inevitable ups and downs that we all go through. When I tell him about my life, he wants to hear the Humbled and Honored version without the shitty things. If I tell him the shitty things, he’ll have an anxiety attack, so it’s better for everyone if I just keep things happy positive and smiling.

But online! People love it when I’m vulnerable and say what I’m struggling with. They think I have some superpower. But really, I’m looking for approval that it’s OK to have shitty things happen, the same way the Humbled and Honored people are looking for approval for their fake bullshit accomplishments.

And if it were up to me, I’d share my entire truth with you. I have nothing to hide. But cancel culture won’t allow me to do this, so a post like this is as deep and vulnerable as you’re gonna get. And to be honest, no one really cares about my personal story unless they can somehow relate to it, so these blog posts are more about me getting out my thoughts into the world rather than getting any recognition.

So there ya go, the uncomfortable truth about why I’m so authentic online. Nope, I’m not different from all y’all in Looking for external sources for approval. But maybe I’m more honest about it, and less concerned of your negative judgments.

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Jon Tesser

I use data to understand people. I also help early career professionals find career happiness.