Our Visibility Online Deters Us From Becoming Our Truest Selves

August 22, 2016
Jasmine Kim La Canada High School 10th Grade

Jasmine Kim
La Canada High School 10th Grade

Social media is a place where people gather to share their personal life and opinions online. It is a place where people can be hypercritical. At times it’s where people make their first impression, which is why I can understand people’ s struggle to make themselves look perfect in every picture they post and write“profound” thoughts and cliche quotes to make themselves look smarter and thoughtful. People say that social media can help express yourself even further. However, my thoughts are the reverse- it deters us from becoming our truest selves.

Since social media really opens yourself to the public, so there’ s a lot of pressure to look presentable. “How will these people see me?” or “How will people react to this picture?” or“ Do I look fat in this?” are only a few questions that come up in people’ s head before posting something online. The way people portray themselves in social media is not a true portrayal, but how they want others to see them. In the story,

“Usl at the Stadium” by Rivka Galchen, when Usl’ s mother was asked about her son, Usl -who became famous after a video of him sleeping at a Yankee’ s game was posted -she said, “Many people thought that. You can’ t let them think that- it will affect your future employment. I explained that you drink only Diet Coke.” when she was standing up for Usl after a video of him sleeping was posted online. This was her instant reply when she wasn’ t even asked about his physical appearance in the video. She was clearly unsatisfied about her son’ s appearance on that video and didn’ t want people to think that he was some unemployed, lazy drunk. If social media was something that help us build our personal identi- ties, she would’ ve said something along the lines of,“Yes, Usl likes to eat pizza!” or maybe nothing at all.

Amanda Hess said, “We present ourselves differently on Twitter and Tumblr and Slack depending on the norms built into each space. On Facebook, I’ m posed by a professional photographer, waist contorted into a slimmed line, eye peering up out the window of a skyscraper.” in her “What Do Our Online Avatars Reveal About Us?” article. She explains that she is photoshopped and looks exceptionally good in her profile picture. Clearly, social media is just a place where we have to pretend, like we’ re perfect and do all things with reasons.

If social media was a place to better express ourselves, we would be posting pictures of us doing what we love and how we actually look. When Hess said,“Bad actors could sulk under the cover of the Web while they pasted reputation- killing content on a message board or terrifying threats on Twitter. Avatars became tools for stoking chaos instead of enforcing order.” she is implying to us that people can not be trusted online. People post things that they cannot really say in person online, because they want to intimidate and make others fear them. They use social media to be a person that they want to be in real life.

Social media can be a place where people are really ex- pressing and opening up their true selves to others. However, people think of social media as a different world. Rather than expressing themselves, they explore a new person that they can become. It isn’ t necessarily bad to be different online and truthfully, I don’ t think it can ever be an honest place. The only thing we can do is to hope that who we are in so- cial media does not take over who we are in the real world.

One Comment

  1. kelly

    November 26, 2017 at 3:56 PM

    yes..I like the basic concepts behind Second Life but it seems incredibly outdated and when I played it was intensely non-intuitive / user friendly to an extent that made EVE look like a game for toddlers. thanks from
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