Paige Luong | firstname.lastname@example.org | June 7, 2018
Take a moment to notice the kind of lives we live today. There is a phone in someone’s hand everywhere we look. Our generation has grown into a world that revolves around technology and digital media. As high schoolers, nearly all of us own a smartphone and probably use social media. It’s a convenient places to post pictures, share tweets, and acquire information. It’s inevitable that whether or not we do it consciously, we develop online identities on social media that may or may not be identical to our real-life personae.
A school-wide voluntary among d.tech students survey, conducted in November 2017 by junior Vladislav Iarmalenko, showed that about 70 percent of the 137 student sample use social media everyday. Of these online platforms, Snapchat and Instagram are the most popular which 63 percent and 59 percent of d.tech students use, respectively. These numbers show the prevalence of social media in our teen lives.
When establishing an identity online, there are many factors people consider to accurately represent what they want others to see. Because so many people have access to what you post, many want to appear happy and cool. Junior Portia Kwan says, “On my Instagram, I don’t like to show bad pictures of myself, but on my Snapchat, I couldn’t care less, because it disappears within 24 hours.” She says that she doesn’t like to post “very personal” things on Instagram, either. “Obviously, you want to look good and like you have your life together,” says Kwan.
Similarly, freshman Matthew Sydoruk shares that “I don’t really care [how I appear on social media], but I want to have nice, inviting aura.” For junior Elliot Boz, he thinks that “Online, you want to show your best side, so online I only post fun things I’m doing in life, the cool places I’ve been, and the cool pictures I’ve taken,” explains Boz. People aren’t sharing things about themselves that aren’t true or unlike them. Our society tends to think that people’s online identities differ from their in-person identity just because they don’t open the curtain to the backstage of their lives.
One’s online image may also be dependent on how they filter what’s appropriate or not to post. Like senior Alex Wu said, “[Posts are appropriate] as long as it’s not making somebody else feel bad with the post directly.” Most would want to ensure their audience likes what’s being put out. “If my mom is going see it, then I have to make sure it’s appropriate,” says sophomore Lexie Lane Crouch. There is still a factor of judgment or approval people keep in mind when posting on social media. This might be because they fear people’s opinions, but frequently, it seems that people just don’t want to hurt others’ feelings. Nonetheless, people don’t disclose that they’re not showing their true selves on social media, and continue to act like a completely different person offline.
While many only share what is likeable and representative of them, junior Courtney Sullivan Wu feels that she can display a side of herself online that she can’t as easily show in person: “[On social media, I feel that] I can post just really goofy pictures of myself sometimes.” For some people, it’s harder for them to express themselves in their daily life, but they find themselves more comfortable on social media Not everyone has the same stance on what online and offline identities are reasonable and moral.
The majority of d.tech students probably feel similar to Sydoruk in that “my social media personality is dictated entirely by real personality.” However, in our society today, we can easily get caught up in the trends and likes. Everyone wants to be accepted. Maybe in this world of digital media, we might not ever really know who’s “real” or “fake” online.