Virtual media versus real life! Do you ever put this into your thought of how you are behaving on social media and how you are presenting yourself? Are you presenting yourself as you are or you are presenting someone else?
Yes, On the internet you can be whoever you want to be! However, it turns out that faking it may be causing problems in our real life as well as in our personality. A group of students from the University of Tasmania have found that when your self-presentation deviates too much from who you really are it can lead to situations like stress and feelings of social disconnection.
Understanding our online behaviour is important to people like developers, advertisers and they try to keep a record of our online activities (not passwords) from cookies. But, it is often confusing how our real-life identity maps to the version of ourselves we present on social networks. Most of the time we tailor our online communications to hide aspects of our personality we don’t like – or don’t want to share with others. Also, we try to visualize that we are always happy by hiding our emotions which lead us to a situation of dealing with stress. Simply, trying to be someone you’re not carrying an emotional and mental toll.
On the other hand, there are some studies that reported that Facebook behaviours are an accurate reflection of our personality. For instance, constant updates about our gym habits reveal a genuine narcissistic streak. Social media should be considered as just another layer of the offline social world – it shouldn’t change us or our interactions in any fundamental way.
In another study, it was found that employees are more likely to leave a company after getting a pay rise if they have low self-esteem because it conflicted with their view of the world. In general, studies have shown that we tend to be more productive when those around us reflect how we see ourselves, even if some of those characters are not positive.
To be honest, it may be even harder to be someone you’re not when you’re online. In our offline interactions, there are more social embarrassments. Besides, happier and less stressed people are not curating themselves, they have curated their social network, perhaps to shape a less diverse audience.