I would want to start by asking a question … ‘Do we keep switching personalities online and offline? Or do we reflect the same behaviours on both?’
This is something we should think about!
The concept of Web 2.0, the second version of the internet has spread like a wildfire throughout the world. In the modern media industry, it is impossible to think of working without this extremely dynamic web experience which is much more than just ‘WWW’ (World Wide Web). While I write this blog, I also realise that this second-generation Web experience is now also being used primarily for education purposes! How cool is this!
Wasn’t I correct and utmost sure of the fact that using Social media to ‘Study’ Social media is exciting with this tweet back in July 2018? This one is to all my peers in ALC708! I am sure you’re going to agree with me!
The answer given by Hongladoram (2011, p 547) clearly proves that online personae are affected by external factors such as online community acceptance of the person’s opinion or having an audience due to which we switch personalities in the favour of an accepted opinion (Hongladoram 2011, p 547).
While we have dual personalities offline and online, we also switch behaviours on different Social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat and many more. Studies show that likes on Facebook gives more confidence to users leading to extroversion (Kosinski et al. 2014, 357–380). Similarly, it depends from platform to platform, the more followers or friends engaged, the more confidence to create content and be an extrovert, at least for me!
I conducted a small scale poll to get a first hand experience of the survey and its a tie!
Identity shown online is completely personal and the way the you wants to showcase yourself to your audience, followers or friends.
You also have a choice of creating a totally differently personality. After all it is an online platform and you can maintain an anonymity, if you’re shy. This culture is very common in Thailand (Hongladarom 2011, p. 535). However, this is not a worthwhile step to take if you’re planning to be a permanent and frequent user, somewhere down the line your behaviour, your personality will reflect over your opinions online and there will be a need for you to be recognised who you actually.
Since I am a millennial, I have seen Web 2.0 start, emerge and grow and have been an active user. Well, the first social media platform I actively started using was Facebook. Initially, I had privacy concerns of my profile picture and sharing life events, however after a couple of months, my friends, my neighbours, peers at school, everyone I knew started using the platform, which made the platform a safe place for me to use. This situation associates to the concept of word of mouth. Growing users gave a prospect for mass communication and a surety of having an audience.
As I write the blog and recollect the changes in the last 12 years of using Facebook, I noticed a pattern that I only change profile picture during a major event in my life or only when I have an extra ordinary picture of mine where I look good. I mean which girl doesn’t want to look beautiful in the pictures which the world is accessed to?
In another study by Turner and Hunt, 44% of the participants said that they choose to update a profile picture because of the person they are with (Like me!), in the picture, Eg. Friends or Family. (Turner and Hunt, 2014)
More than Facebook, now I use Instagram to share my pictures.
I believe, my ‘reel’ persona is very similar to my ‘real’ persona as I showcase only those pictures which I believe is worth sharing similar to my ‘real’ life where I only share the worth sharing events with my friends and family. This is exactly who I am, an ambivert! I do use Instagram to create entertaining videos with TikTok and and by collaborating with brands to influence my followers/audience.
At the same time, I have an anxiety when I do not get enough likes about not being accepted on a social media platform as compared to other users belonging to the same community. I didn’t know there was a recognised term for this feeling, called ‘Imposter Syndrome’ until one of my peers tagged me on Adam’s tweet (My Unit Chair at Uni)!
As Adam always mentions in his content that if there is no set of audience we always tend to not be a part of that social media platform, but now that I am studying a Unit, I do have a set of audience that are my classmates who would review my content/posts or media.
I honestly wish I grow on my audience by creating a lot of content on Twitter and my blog site even after the Study Unit is completed to maintain a ‘real’ online persona just like I have one on Instagram!
(Song by Neha Kakkar and Mika Singh from the Movie Simmba-Bollywood)
Hongladarom, S. 2011, ‘Personal Identity and the Self in the Online and Offline World’, Minds & Machines, 533-548, DOI 10.1007/s11023-011-9255-x
Kosinski, M., Bachrach, Y., Kohli, P., Stillwell, D. & Graepel, T. 2014, ‘Manifestations of user personality in website choice and behaviour on online social networks’, Machine Learning, vol. 95, no. 3, 357–380, retrieved 10 December 2018, <https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s10994-013-5415-y>