Sense of Self in Social Media. Who are you really?

Let me say it right now. Social media has poisoned society. How? It has allowed people to create false personalities, “The Perfect Self” if you will. You see it gives people the chance to mask themselves, hiding any remnants of who they truly may be. With the advances in technology, there are so many different platforms within social media to which this behavior thrives. All these different avenues have allowed people to create versions of themselves that they think are more receptive to society. Just look at Instagram, scroll for a minute or two.

Why do people put the things they do out there? What message are you trying to get out? Think about facebook which houses over one billion profiles, making it the largest platform right now. Scroll the timeline there and the many posts from your “friends”. Why do they share all of their personal business? Better question, do you even care?
If we don’t care what that person posts, are we even their friend? And why do we send a friend request to someone we know we are never going to contact? Over the years I get requests from people from high school that I had very limited if any conversation with. Many of them sit in request purgatory. I probably won’t care what they post or even talk to them. So why accept? Are we lonely bored or so into ourselves that these “friends” and their acceptance validate us somehow?

The value that many create and the selves they portray on social media often don’t live up to expectations when they finally are in public. I’ve seen firsthand people who come off as ultra extroverts on Facebook and Twitter but can’t talk their way out of a paper bag in public.If you post pictures and memes of beautiful women but you won’t say anything to a woman in public. This is for you. Why is this? You can’t live your whole life in another realm, this isn’t the Matrix, Keanu. The question you have to ask yourself is “is this really me?” With social media, we are able to curate the full body of ourselves, an idea which is amazing at first thought. We are able to mold who we are in this space, as it allows us to be what we want to be. Do you want to be seen as funny? Go ahead and post funny articles, or jokes or tweets. You can even use recycled material. Want to show off? Go ahead and post pictures of your possessions. Want to come off as a lothario but in real life fumble around when a girl asks what your name is? You can do that too! That is where the danger comes in. You are able to go about and portray that image, no matter if it is true or not. There was once a vividly written article on this site about social media parents. The basis of that article was that a parent who wasn’t even in the child’s life that much could put up the front that they were heavily involved by constant posts. Since we see it on social media, we are lead to believe this is true. I mean why would someone lie on social media? There seems to be strong personal investments with our social media accounts so why risk it on a lie?

Who are you?

Realy?

Who are you?

Can you answer that?

What defines you?

Do you consider yourself an individual?

Another question to ask is, “Am I investing too much?”

Part of this idea can be attributed to self-consciousness, are we worried that much about what others may see? It seems the likes and retweets have become reassurance for our psyches.

How do we decide what to make public to everyone? Scroll on any timeline and you are bound to see someone pouring emotions and private lives out to everyone. EVERYONE. The transparency is commonplace. So much is shared in the daily lives of the people that we often question someone when their accounts are private. To think a private account, a private life is out of the norm for us.

There is a narcissistic ideology behind social media. We seem to believe that everyone wants to know what we are doing, what is on our mind, our opinions at every moment. The idea that people would care to know the basic routine or private sector of one’s life is the reason for this. But it reaches much further in that pictures then are shared with our experiences, relationships, family. Why?

Have you ever seen someone post something personal and then someone else comments, “Don’t put this on Facebook.” some of the most private moments in life have become basic public knowledge now. The idea of a personal life is lost amongst many, we expect to know everything. We celebrate when a celebrity gets a twitter. Literally, there are articles about a celebrity joining social media. We often obsess over these posts. We even do that with our own posts.

Have you ever thought about the why when you post something? What is the goal for the status, tweet, snap or Instagram post? Is it that we want to portray ourselves a certain way, seem more marketable to society? You build a personal portfolio with your posts, one that is supposed to be a reflection of who you, not who you want to be or what you think everyone would like.

Maybe we as a society aren’t thinking of it in a different aspect.  If you think about yourself as a product it changes your mindset. You are a product and you determine your worth with your social media involvement. You then create worth through these posts that you share. The value that is put on display and people can invest in their relationships with you. So yes, in this sense you want to have the most value, you want to attract others. So an embellishment here or there doesn’t hurt, right?

Wrong.

A lot of you look in the mirror and don’t even know who you are. You’re cat fishing yourselves.

There are way too many followers out there as is. You see something or someone you like and try to emulate it. You start to get insecure and find your flaws. So then you perform social cosmetic surgery to change yourselves. So many of you want to be what you see on the media and lose who you really are. What is your end game?

But it’s easy to understand because look at the media most of you consume. Materialism and sensationalism run prevalent these days. Everything and everyone is transparent. We know it’s not really you. As a kid I loved playing the Sims, you could create a person and make them however you wanted, give them the look, the personality and career you wanted. It was like you create a version of yourself that you want to be. It seems people moved on from that and now use Instagram, facebook, twitter and etc to do it. The message here is to be original, think for yourself. Be you. If you ever think, “What would ____ think of me if I post this?” You’ve already been tainted. If you like taking pictures of trees then dammit do it. If you don’t drink don’t go out and force yourself just to fit in. DON’T POST BIBLE VERSES IF YOU CANNOT EXPLAIN THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN SAUL AND PAUL. The saddest thing is to see someone put on a “performance” but not be able to live up to it in real life. Eventually, what you do will catch up to you. It is why you see people get let go from their jobs because of something on social media. You don’t have to put it all out there. You can’t be loud and outgoing on social media and then be a quiet recluse in person. What will happen is, people will expect that person who is always posting funny videos, and they’ll think you’re outgoing. It’s easy to get caught up in the rat race of society but if you don’t have the training or stamina you’ll get exposed.

Be yourself, speak your mind. Your thoughts. If you don’t have it don’t pretend you do.Please, please, please don’t steal or use others content to pass yourself off as something else. If you aren’t funny, it is fine. Let the funny people do that. Not everyone is funny and that’s ok. The only thing you need to be in this life is you. It is always best to stay low and build.

I am not speaking as someone who thinks of social media as the cause of the rapture, there are good things that do come out of it. It is a way to share information on a large volume. It is amazing in that companies and people can reach a large audience and not even have to spend any money. It is often used as a platform to start debates, state opinions and express oneself.

The issue, however, is it can become much darker than that. Every so often in the news, you hear a story of someone who killed someone over a social media dispute. We have allowed social media to take over our lives so much that we invest our lives in it. It has become habit forming and we constantly are on it or check in on it.

I have found myself seeing the live feature on facebook and have asked: “why do people go live?” Do they honestly believe that someone is so invested in their life that they have to check in on what they are doing?

In conclusion, my challenge is simple, log out. Step away from social media for a week. See if you can do it. Find value in the everyday things in life. So you don’t post a snap for a week, no political post on facebook, no clever tweet. No one will know that you had the best steak ever or that you are listening to your favorite song while on your morning commute. Instead of Facebook, read a real book. Don’t take a picture of you reading it either. It’s ok to take a break, you really aren’t missing anything.

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