Advanced Essay #3: Hidden Identity


This is an essay I am proud of. For this paper, my biggest goal was to make sure I understood the project and developed something I knew was quality. There have been instances where I have written a piece, but realized later that I didn’t follow the directions at all and had to start over. An area for improvement though was the amount of editing I did, and how I didn’t end up changing a lot from my rough draft to final.


Each person has a hidden identity. No one is a completely open book; everyone will have their secrets. You see a lot of examples of hidden identity on social media, but you don’t notice it for what it is. If you look at somebody's facebook feed or Instagram page, you’ll see that they will only share what they want others to see. Everybody with a social media account wants to craft an identity for themselves online. However, it isn’t an accurate representation of who they are. Think about it. How would you feel if there was an accurate representation of your emotions and activities on the internet for all your friends to see? Would you want people to see the depths of your personal life online? People will only post about things in their life that they would want everybody else to see as well. Social media isn’t even just about sharing your life, it’s about bragging about it and crafting an ideal persona online.

Social media also changes the genuine expression of emotion from people. While Facebook is a place where people vent about their siblings and show their video game high scores, they also will tell all of their Facebook friends that somebody close to them passed. In my personal experience, I feel a certain level of guilt if I see a status update like that and I don’t like or comment. However, this does not feel genuine to me at all. If somebody close to me lost a loved one, I would make sure I am showing support in person, and not through a Facebook comment. I read a Time Magazine article on mourning on facebook. It introduced the idea of if Facebook is the right place for important issues such as loss, depression, death, etc. A quote from the article read,“There’s no ‘right’ way to mourn, but I question whether Facebook — which seems more and more like a junkyard of complaints and raw emotions — does justice to our feelings about meaningful things like death if we discuss them on the same platform as complaints about our cable company.” This quote raises a really good question on the topic of worth. Can somebody’s death really be dumbed down to a social media post? Death is a massive topic, that cannot be just summed up with a speech, a funeral, a gravestone, and especially not an Instagram post. If a funeral doesn’t give justice to somebody’s death, then how can a post on social media?

There was a relatively well known local musician named Brian Nowell, who recently passed because of a drug overdose. It was a very sad event, and I did see and feel the effect of it on people around me. But not in person, it was all expressed on Facebook or Instagram. I never actually heard anybody who involved themselves in sharing or posting about his death, speak about it in person. It was uncanny, to get texts, facebook messages, and more about this tragedy, which made it seem very sad. However, without anybody actually talking about it, made it seem very fake. This is because, without a real connection to the person, a person doesn’t feel as much remorse as somebody close to the tragedy. Somebody can feel sympathy, but won’t feel the same way as somebody who was close to Brian. Just from my perspective, it felt like many different people were putting this persona of themselves on social media to make the tragedy about themselves, and to show that they care, and not to actually show support to the ones truly hurt. Sharing and posting about a tragedy like this can help craft this ideal online persona, one that is not only busy, smart, and having fun, but is also caring and supportive.

People end up crafting different identities because they want to create a persona they find ideal for the public. There are different reasons for this, whether it’s to feel more important, seem caring and supportive, seem popular, and much more. People use different ways to craft ideal identities for the public. This can be done with social media, by sharing things that will make you seem like somebody more interesting or popular. People will also often utilize their hidden identities to seek attention, sympathy, or approval. This isn't something that can really be addressed, but it is an issue. Considering how important people's social lives have become to them, an online persona can influence your personality greatly, and change you for better or worse.


Zneimer, Lia. “Social Media: How to Mourn on Facebook After Someone Dies.” Time, Time, 6 May 2014,