Social media in this day and age has impacted youths both positively and negatively. In the positive regard, individuals use social media as a platform for displaying their work, interests, and talents; talents that include art, photography, writing, design, etc. In the negative regard, social media has been a medium through which people’s images are constantly altered and/or tarnished.
An individual’s alter ego can be seen as a distinct self, different from said person’s normal personality. Many people use social media as a channel to create their alter ego. It is a well-known secret that most people online are not who or what they claim to be in real life. Shows like Catfish have made us all aware of the dangers of being too trusting of the person online. You can never trust that the Tunde from Yankee you are talking to on Facebook is not the very mallam outside your gate. You cannot say with certainty that the Jennifer on twitter is a Jennifer…or even a woman for that matter. We create a whole new personality, a personality that may not correlate with the real us, or our everyday life. Our lives online never depict truth; they don’t show our trials and tribulations; they don’t reflect our everyday struggles.
I’ve met a Social Media celebrity who was nothing like she claimed to be through her numerous posts and messages. Her life online & offline were about as similar as an IPhone is to a Techno. When online, we go the extra mile to be something or someone who we are not, and unfortunately, this breeds mistrust between us all.
So why do we do all this?
Why do we go through the stress of stalking famous people on social media so we can assimilate their lives? Why do we spend our money and effort trying to buy followers and friends? Do we simply crave the external validation that comes with likes, retweets, views, and reposts? Do we bully people because of the anonymity the web provides? Do we formulate horrible, scathing stories to humiliate and downgrade people in order to gain retweets? Do we post inappropriate content that compromises our values and principles simply because that’s what “sells”? Why do we conform to the societal trends and in the process lose our identities and uniqueness?
My thoughts –
I believe we do all these to ourselves because of our low self-esteem. We start up alternate lives on social media to get the attention we feel we deserve. Sometimes, we just don’t get enough attention in our everyday lives. Sometimes we just feel lonely and unloved. We find recluse in living different lives, being someone new, having a fresh start. We feel like the life we are living isn’t the life we want and so we create our ideal utopias online.
I believe we should work towards living the lives we want both on and offline. If we are more excited by the prospects of a certain lifestyle, then we should work towards it. There must be a correlation between the real us, and the virtual us. We must be aboveboard in our networking. Show the loose and exuberant you online. Show the jovial and jolly you online. Show the morose and depressing you online. Show the profound and intellectual you online. When online, show whatever you really are offline and not what is trending atm. In everything always do you. The world is aching for the diversity only you can provide. There is only one you. Do not be a mediocre copy of someone else when you can be the high-end original of you.
We don’t become someone else online simply because we are cruel manipulative people bent on deceiving the world. We become someone else online because we all seek happiness; happiness we have not yet found in the person in the real world. But this happiness is fickle, and brief. We would always have to go offline and come back to reality. Our reality. This is what we go to bed with, and wake up too everyday.
What are your thoughts? Let’s start a discussion below.
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