I’m sure I’m not alone when I say that these days it feels like there are two increasingly different versions of myself. There is the ‘me’ that my friends and family see in daily life, and there is the ‘me’ that I create piece by piece for people on social media – most of whom I will never actually meet in person. When I actually do meet someone they usually tell me, for example, that I am quieter – much quieter – than they were expecting.
However, these comparisons are unsurprising. I agree that the physical me and the digital me are very different, so different that you would be justified in assuming they’re not the same person at all. Yet somehow, I consider both my online and offline selves to be the ‘real’ me. I am that person who is simultaneously reserved and forthcoming, awkward and confident, unsure and yet so sure.
It is simply that, when online, it is easier to project an image of yourself not as you are but how you wish you were. For example, by posting instead, you can freely present your ideal version of yourself.
For those who are shyer in person, the apparent confidence enabled by online profiles can be pretty enticing. But where does the truth end and the ‘un-truth’ begin? Yes, personas can offer the chance to be someone else. However, by trying so hard to be who we think we should be, we can risk getting caught up in the constant competition of maintaining that image and placing too much importance on our virtual selves. Indeed, after all, if everyone can post what they want, then all you’ll ever see is what they want you to see – and not everything going on behind the scenes.
[Image Credit: TOPHEE MARQUEZ ]