Does Our Social Media Presence Define Us?

5/24/2018

Twitter . Reddit . Instagram
Facebook . WhatsApp . KIK
Youtube . Pinterest . Chatrooms
Skype . Snapchat . Imgur
...And so many others...



Social media is a form of self expression. Whether you use your online profiles to catch up with loved ones, to promote your work, or to simply socialise, it's a way of opening ourselves up within a privacy barrier. Many "online trolls" use this as a way of being anonymous solely to spread hatred. That's why so many comment sections online can be filled with homophobia, racism, hate towards females, weight shaming, and so on. People take advantage of the ability to hide behind a screen. But doesn't that still reflect on their true selves? Of course. We judge the person behind the screen, whoever they may be, as they still wrote the words they're hiding behind. And if that's so, doesn't that mean that we all are the people we portray on social media -whether good or bad? The confidence we can give off on a status that we may not actually feel within ourselves, has it actually been inside of us the entire time?

Are we all using the Internet as a way of showing who we truly are, without having to put ourselves out there and face the scrutiny of real life people?

I'll admit that I'm a social media snooper. If I know you personally, it is very likely that I've had a good stalk on your profile and if on Twitter or Instagram, I have probably taken a glimpse at your following list. Call me crazy, but I find it interesting to know what people like to see on their own feeds. Heck, that's how I've had late conversations with Facebook friends after discovering that we both follow similar influencers. How else do we find mutual interests nowadays? (side-note: does it bother anyone else when you ask someone what they're up to and they say "watching Netflix"? It's like, tell me what you're watching! You aren't just watching the Netflix homescreen! Rant over.) But because of said snooping, I've had some disappointing outcomes.

I've had to unfriend so many family members on Facebook due to racist posts, all of which I very much doubt they'd have enough strength to say to anyone in real life. I followed one guy who is a father and has a loving wife, and all-in-all leads a normal family life, only to soon discover that he spent his free time liking images of girls no older than 16 in skimpy attire on Instagram. (It later came out that he had once cheated on his wife with a girl on a chatroom, but in his wife's words "at least he didn't do anything physically". To that I ask, isn't virtually cheating just the modern way now?) I unfollowed an older family member not too long ago who spent her free time telling people with chronic illnesses that they're likely making it up. There are so many other examples I can use, but alas, I'll get to the point.. Would they of shown that side of themselves outside of social media? Probably not. Yet they're willing to be that kind of person if hidden behind a phone or if they're able to just "like". Two peas, same pod.

In a similar sense, if you follow a lot of Youtubers or celebrities on social media you may notice a vast difference between their personalities on screen versa their social media presence on, say, Twitter or Instagram. How many Youtubers have had to put out a public apology for making an offhand written comment or a rude reply to a fan? Too many. And though they say they just didn't think - that it was an innocent mistake - is that really the case? Think about it, when we speak out loud to someone, our words can come out automatically and that's how idiotic things sometimes come out of our mouths. But writing it out on social media or in a message, at least for me, makes me rethink what I'm "saying". It takes more time to choose whether or not to click the go ahead to send something than it does to verbally reply to someone. How can a mistake be made online when we are actively choosing what we're doing the entire time? Is social media that easy to get sucked into?And if so, isn't our instant responses a glimpse into who we really are? As surely we're replying as our brains would - not thinking too deep into it.

The bottom line is, if you're a douchebag, perverted, cruel, or a bully online, guess what? That is very much reflected in your character offline. If you're known to be funny, kind, friendly or outgoing online but hate yourself once the phones go off, you need to realise that everyone likes you for you. You're still the person behind the words. They like YOU. We haven't got a switch in our brains that allow us to swap complete personalities when we untouch a keypad. If you're racist online, you're racist. If you're hilarious online, you're hilarious. We aren't boxed in by our social media bubbles and I really think we need to realise this. The personality you portray when behind your phone is the personality you have inside of yourself. You don't have to live vicariously through the Internet to make friends that you think only like you because you "aren't you" online. You're always you. Every single thing you do - online or offline - define you as a human. So choose carefully how you want to be seen. Nothing online is ever gone or forgotten, same as the real world.

So yes, I do believe that our social media presence defines the real us - good or bad. We all stalk each other and either discover how awesome someone truly is, or we get smacked in the stomach with a feeling of disappointment after finding out that someone we once admired is actually kind of an a-hole.

YOU ARE RESPONSIBLE FOR EVERYTHING YOU SHARE/POST/LIKE ONLINE AND EVERYTHING YOU DO IS A REFLECTION ON YOU.

What's your answer? Let me know in the comments, I'd love to hear your views!


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