Online identities

Identity. Online we’re charismatic, charming, quick and witty. But in real life with a Donald Trump of our friends. I’m here to point out to you in multiple ways that your identity changes on different social media types, for example, you cannot be the same person on Twitter as you can on Instagram because I don’t look like my Instagram Brad Pit does, or maybe it is Brad Pit’s pictures with a great comment underneath. Whatever. The fact of the matter is You can’t be yourself on social media.

Personality types on social media

Alice Hall has a theory that there are three traits that people have social media.
Extraversion: sociability.
Neuroticism: fearful avoidance
Psychoticism: hostility and aggression
On this spectrum of traits, and where you fall on, it decides what social media you enjoy more. For example, someone that enjoys sociability might take more to Facebook as there are more people to socialise there with.

So what do we get from using these social media’s, well the answer is clear: Socialisation. Research has found that heavy users of social media sit higher on the scale of extraversion. Of course, less interaction with social media, the lower you are on that scale.

Online self-presentation and virtual Identity

Online self-presentation is a representation of yourself contained online. For not having an online self as we are, we have to display ourselves through the act for avatars or display pictures. Sometimes these quirky pictures of ours call attention from our fellow friends, and they comment on our interactive, personal persona of a display picture. This then puts us into our virtual identity where we respond with something like ‘Lol, I need a new hairdresser’. What we reply then creates spores for a whole new online personality to form. For example, if I put up a picture of me holding my master’s certificate, then I would be seen as sophisticated and intellectual. It’s still me but that lousy hair day picture looks a lot less convincing that I write about social issues. I will also make my online self up of a name, an email address, online history and status within an online setting.

Building on this, it is not just my social status on my network that propels me, but the connectivity that comes with social media. To get frank with you and skip this if you’re one for the basics. You’re actually what they call a node, and when we interact with each other online, we create media multiplexing. This social orgy makes you want to be connected and online.

Although we can get very creative online, we’re still blocked by the copyright laws of the terms and conditions or the constricting construct of the social media it’s self. Although would you want to sit there and create your very own website, so you’re not restricted?

Multiple identities on online social networks

Our online social network experience increasingly fragments us; 52% of us have two or more online profile. Managing these social media identities is called impression management. This is where you, online control what you are seen as being, you’re managing your identity online. That Instagram post of you eating that cake with your face makes up part of the impression you leave online. It’s control over what you want to be seen as and what you are. But before you freak out and hit all those delete buttons on your social media’s. Findings have found that multimedia helps mitigate first impression biases, for example, a person might find someone’s Facebook profile and have an impression that they are not a lovely person, but when shown the persons Instagram’s, have a different understanding of that person.

If you don’t believe that you even have this problem and that your immune to this fostering of multiple identities, then, for example, Instagram is a visual image and video sharing social media. In contrast, Twitter is a text or microblogging social network. These two networks differ from each other and content uploaded to Instagram, cannot and is not shown in the same way as it is on Twitter. This allows the user to be multifaceted and show off more unique parts of their offline identities, although this may lead to manipulation of the truth.

Always on (The Martini Effect)

Shelly Turkle believes that even though this connected life that we live on online social networks is pleasing to us, we will go to great extents to keep ourselves connected. She talks about people known as ‘cyborgs’ these are people that have connected themselves to the internet through mechanic devices that after a time cut the skin and eventually scar just to be connected to their favourite site. Whereas Bryant and Oliver found that people that had heavy usage of online social media networks, were more likely to feel socially isolated, lonely, and emotionally depressed.

The Negative Consequences

Social comparison is when a person compares themselves to another, commonly related to envy, and is very subjective to the person experiencing it. We’ve all done it, Kylie Jenner’s new lips or Donald trump’s fabulous hairdo, we’ve all had a case of the green-eyed monster on social media. With online social networks, this comparison of persons, is only a click away, meaning that social envy and feelings of inadequateness are propelled on social media. Researchers found that the worst culprits for this were people engaging in ‘passive usage’. Passive usage is when you’re following and watching but not actively taking part in online activity. One area where this has been studied a lot is body image. Research has shown that men and women compare themselves more often to peers than to models or celebrities.

People engage in social comparisons, and this has proven to be influential between exposure to the thin ideal people in the media and women’s body dissatisfaction. Women have a higher probability of social comparison than men, but men are becoming more dissatisfied with their bodies because of online social networks too. Unlike women who are motivated to be thin, men are more likely to strive to attractiveness with increased muscle definition. Gay men have reported more dissatisfaction than heterosexual men. This is like women’s experience of body dissatisfaction. Appearances on Instagram of the users’ social group might not be realistic at all. Studies investigated whether their peer group idealises manipulated images on Instagram. ‘Exposure to manipulated Instagram photos leads to lower body satisfaction than exposure to original photos’.

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