This past week in seminar, we talked about identity on the Internet. One thing that I found especially interesting was our discussion on how we portray ourselves online vs. how we are in real life. As teenagers we put so much time and thought into our online personas. We think hard before every snapchat we post, ever Facebook picture we add, and every tweet we send. Online our audience is everyone. When we post something online, it is usually not just seen by one person, or a group of people, but rather it is seen by everyone. Is what you put on your Facebook profile actually a representation of you? Or is it just how you want others to see you? As humans we act so different in so many different situations, as we adapt to each situation that we encounter. Yet, on Facebook, we have no time to adapt, for everything is visible to everyone. We try harder online to make sure that we look “cooler.” We always send the snapchats of our parties, but never send snapchats of us when we are crying because we have too much homework. So is the Internet an accurate representation of our identity?
This is also an issue when it comes snap judgements made from people when they are perusing online profiles. Although I pride myself in being a non-judgmental person, when I look at someones Facebook or Twitter profile, I immediately judge who they are. If their profile picture is of them playing basketball, instantly in my mind I make an assumption that they are a jock-type person. If their profile picture is them making a speech at a debate tournament, I immediately classify them as a nerdy-type person. Yet, that is often not the case. As much as an individual tries to portray their true self online, it is almost impossible that everyone viewing your profile will see you the same way. It is impossible to “please” everyone. With an audience larger than you even know, many assumption will be made about you, without you even knowing. For me, this makes online relationships shallow. Personally, I prefer talking in person, rather than online. I prefer meeting someone in person before I see their Facebook profile and make a quick snap judgment.
Lastly, people portray themselves differently on different social media sites. On Linked-In, I am not going to make my profile picture a picture of me partying with my friends. I will most likely make it a professional looking picture. In my profile, I will not harp on the fact that I am a diehard sports fan, and love the show Entourage. Although, those are two huge parts of who I am, they will be invisible to anyone who sees me on Linked-In. On Facebook, I may share dozens of posts about the Patriots, and many clips from funny/stupid TV shows. However, I would never post about my CS50 final project that I am so, so excited about working on. As you can see, I am a completely different person on different social media platforms. So how can one get an accurate representation of an individual online? In my opinion they can’t. What makes our generation so interesting and different is that we make so many judgments of people online before we meet them, and this affects how we become friends with them. The Internet is affecting our relationships more than we think, and to me that is a interesting thing to think about. Imagine going into college with no Facebook? Weird, huh?
That is all for this week! Stay tuned!