Advance Essay #3: Social Media and the New Sense of Identity

My goal for this paper was to show people how social media, which now affects every aspect of our lives, changes how we perceive others identities and our own. I think I was able to accomplish this by talking about the different things people can face while they are on the internet as well as some people' choice to create a new person that they could live through. For me I think with the many things we can do with social media, people have taken advantage of that and changed how they present themselves to the world.

We are the generation of connecting, the generation of giving all of ourselves to the internet. One of those ways we connect is through social media, such as Youtube, Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook. With the increase of social media and the amount of things people are able to do on these platforms, there are a lot of people who incorporate it into their whole being. They post to show the world who they are and what they do. It’s as though they are not a person unless they post everything that happens in their life. It could also mean that there is no meaning to their life if they are not connected in some way to the apps on their phone. Simply Zesty’s article, Why social media is leading to a new era of identity, shows the relationship between social media and identity:

Social media has afforded us a unique opportunity to build a very visible, permanent record of ourselves, albeit through a digital medium. It is, in a way (though many may argue against it), re-inventing the notion of identity, with far-reaching consequences. Not only is it providing the very tools to (re)create our identities, but it is also speaking to an innate human fear. That we'll be forgotten by others and that our own memories will begin to fade, changing the person that we are.

Many people try to create a new self through social media. With apps like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram people try to create a facade of themselves. They do things they wouldn’t do in the real world, a new personality is formed to look like someone different. You then lose your trust of people on the internet; but for a person who’s lost, social media can be an outlet to let everything go anonymously. This is both a plus side and a downside to the rise of social media. There are people who are able to say whatever they want to the world without feeling too criticized. Some people use this anonymous power to attack other people. For the people who use it as a form of expression, it allows them to have the security of showing their interests without the feeling that they will be persecuted.

Since people recreate themselves and change every aspect of their real life, people have become distrustful of the internet. Questions start to raise of what is real and what is not; is there anyone out there that you can truly trust when the internet is so expansive and untruthful. If you were to go onto an online dating site, you will probably question everything that a person writes in their bio. You may even wonder if their pictures are actually them. To many people have been caught in a web of lies, the show Catfish as an example. On Catfish people have complete relationships with a person they have never met and only met through Facebook or something similar. Some of these relationships can last for years, all you know is the person writing the messages and the picture that is on a profile. This causes people to be afraid to believe what is put forth in front of them.

This distrust makes a person want to be a little untruthful themselves, if someone else is doing it why not me? As we create these elaborate profiles around ourselves, making our lives seem perfect, we lose our true selves. Changing identity between different social media accounts is discussed in Future Identities: Changing identities in the UK - the next 10 years.  Nicole Ellison writes:

For instance, one person can create multiple accounts on different sites, or even the same site, each of which reflect a different aspect or facet of their identity. As Nancy Baym (2010) writes, “In lean media, people have more ability to expand, manipulate, multiply, and distort the identities they present to others.”

We start to believe in the lies we make up and lose our sense of reality. If you continue with the same lie, eventually you yourself believe that it is true. When lies make up our true identity, then do we really have a Self and is there really anything more than what’s written on our social media bio?