Me in Reality Vs in the Virtual World

When considering the topic: my identity on social media, the first thought that comes to mind is that there is no difference between my identity in the real world and that on social media. Social media is believed to be a mere tool of communication and therefore would have nothing to do with creating new identities. However, when taking a step back and going through my Instagram profile, it seems that my account only describes a part of me which in turn might present my identity differently to others who check my page.

I mainly use Instagram; I was never interested in all other media tools such as Facebook and Twitter. On Instagram I post pictures that I would like to share with people that follow me with little comments below. Almost every picture that I have uploaded goes back to a happy moment that I shared with friends or family. None of the shared moments goes back to a sad event that happened in my life such as the death of my aunt which I love so much and has happened earlier this year. Therefore, when looking at my account you see a young female who seems to know how to enjoy every second of her life. In other words, it looks like I am a careless young girl who only appreciates good times and fun in life. Although this is not the case I’ve been through some hard times in life like everyone else, but I never got the feeling that it is acceptable to share such moments on Instagram. This is due to the fact that everyone I follow does not seem to use this tool except to share pleasurable moments. Even when people are obliged to share unfortunate events like the recent death of the famous Lebanese singer Melhem Barakat, they seem to comment and share good memories about him and his glory, and not by uploading black pictures, with RIP comments.

It seems that my Instagram account is not only based on my preference, but also that of my followers which have aided in creating this image of a fun girl. Like every other social media tool the Instagram have increased the range of people that an individual is affected by from 20 maximum to 200 (Knibbs, 2013). True in the real world you might choose not to share sad events with those around you, but the look on your face can always uncover the true feelings that you are encountering at the moment, however online with the use of emoji and online language one can easily comment with happy, smiley emoji and LOL abbreviations to make it sound that nothing is wrong. In other words, online communication has helped in disconnecting people rather them getting them together since, it has helped in creating tools that aid in faking one’s own feelings. Although, the emoji world is evolving where new detailed emoji are being added to the platforms in order to help in describing one’s self better (Stark & Crawford, 2014), but it all depends on how people tend to use the,

It is safe to conclude that my use of Instagram is limited to the way that the people I have as friends use it. In other words, it is shaped by a certain logic that is based on the offers of the tool and those who I share my pictures with. Instagram at first only allowed users to post pictures and comments without having the ability to chat or post full albums. In other words, one had to speak his mind with that one picture that he shares. So when asked to summarize yourself or your life in one picture would you chose a sad one or a happy one? I guess this is the main factor that shaped how people use Instagram including me. This is evident since, the case differs on Facebook where people tend to post albums of pictures about any sad or happy event.  It all goes back to the way that the tool allows its users to present themselves. It is all based on the discourse given by the tool (Schultze, 2015).

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References:

Knibbs, K. (2013). Kthxbai! How Internet-speak is changing the way we talk IRL (in real

life). Digital Trends: Retrieved From: http://www.digitaltrends.com/social-media/how-the-internet-is-changing-the-way-we-talk/.

 

 

Sark, L. & Crawford, K. (2014). The Conservatism of Emoji. The New Inquiry. Retrieved

from http://thenewinquiry.com/essays/the-conservatism-of-emoji/

Schultze, U. (2015). How Social Media Shapes Identity. Retrieved from

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CSpyZor-Byk

 

 

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