Individual identity within online communities

It’s human nature for people to seek and acquire relationships, and with that comes the compelling addictiveness and emergence of social media’s draw, it’s made communicating withFreedom-2 people in an informal way easier than ever before. Seeking and establishing social connections (Friends/Friends list) online, and joining an online community (game spaces, music clubs, book clubs). “Farmville is popular because in entangles users in a web of social obligations,” stated Patrick Liszkiewicz. I often feel the same obligations apply to all types of online communities, especially video games. Individuals want to also establish their own individuality to help further their relevance on social media and in their communities. This will hopefully lead to stronger social connections, possibly even new ones. People develop their own languages, and types of communication (slang) between the collective groups that typically wouldn’t make sense to anyone outside of the group. Online communities have a plethora of benefits and drawbacks. Some communities can literally be your best friend or completely mind fuck you. “Online, where anyone can go viral and be excoriated or beatified by the masses, we are less of an individual than ever. Others blast us as if we were not human — just look up the comments on any YouTube documentary about anorexia, and see how many people urge the mentally-ill subjects to kill themselves,” stated Anna Mussmann with the federalist. In my personal experience the latter tends to be the case more than ever before. Without a community that essentially backs whatever opinion you hold, it’s invalid. Or, if you disagree with the collective group you can’t earn respect, or your ideas are thrown out.

Photos, posts, comments and blogs can be used as tools to help enhance a user’s identity,” said tamlin. It’s believed that the individuals you see on social media are essentially PICthat person shown in a light that’s favorable to their personal liking in combination with what’s deemed socially acceptable, instead of their online persona being an accurate profile of who they actually are. It’s difficult to disagree with this because I feel, though we look for some type of individuality, it’s increasingly difficult to personally portray yourself in a light that would accurately depict who you are. Individual identity plays a huge role when applying oneself to social media sites, I think the real question is: how different is your individual identity on social media from reality? In many ways don’t individuals attempt to commit the same act of portraying the person they want to be in public as they do on their social media page? I think reading through the articles this week, the main focus was how individuals craft their individual identity to portray them in the most positive light possible, but I definitely feel like this act of disguising who you really are to the public is something people do on a daily basis regardless of social media. For example I don’t think I personally wear a particular shirt to school on Monday because I WANT to wear the shirt, it a combination of things that lead me to choosing said shirt. I think I take into account my tastes, level of comfort I want that day, and whatever I think might be socially acceptable at the time. I think people are always trying to portray the person they want to be, not 100% who they actually are (is that even possible in public?). Whether it’s who people want to be, or a combination of several things in my opinion, there’s no question that individual identity is something everyone is actively seeking.

 

Liszkiewicz Patrick. “Cultivated Play: Farmville” Berfrois. Pendant Publishing, 21 Oct 2010. 08 Feb 2015.

http://www.berfrois.com/2010/10/cultivated-play-farmville/

 

Mussmann Anna. “Facebook Mobs and the Death of Individuality” The federalist. Ben Domenech, 4 Nov 2014. 08 Feb 2015.

http://thefederalist.com/2013/11/04/facebook-mobs-death-individuality/

 

Tamlin. “Online Communities and Social Networks enable self-affirmation, personal validation and exploration of identity for users” WordPress (Network conference). 25 Apr 2011. 08 Feb 2015.

http://networkconference.netstudies.org/2011/04/internet-communities-identity-and-self-affirmations/

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35 thoughts on “Individual identity within online communities

  1. Brandon Coulter February 12, 2015 / 2:05 pm

    One of the greatest advantages of social media is the ability to freely and safely establish an online profile expressing who you are and trying to relate this to specific communities. This acts as a type of personal infrastructure of safety and understanding, placing oneself within a specific culture or even a counter-culture free from criticism or backlash. When individuals focus primarily on the subject of being liked, however, this completely goes against the positive points of social networking, forcing the individual more often than not to become something they would have never attributed their own personality to and polluting their own image with falsity. It’s amazing how many users of Facebook and Twitter can be seen actively going out of their way to invite other users in to “like” or “follow” them based on specific interests and similarities. It’s even more outstanding how many of them are creating false images of themselves in the process, showcasing a superficial mask just to gain a few artificial online friends in the process, most of which will never even remember their name let alone remember the fact that they “friended” them. Using the internet as a tool for developing useful connections based on true taste and similarity is an amazing thing for solidarity. Changing one’s own appearance to create a more universally-liked image can completely destroy their own self-esteem in the process as well as discard any true friendships or connections they previously had.

    Liked by 2 people

    • eakoonter February 14, 2015 / 2:40 pm

      Brandon, I couldn’t have said it any better myself. Social media is used as a “mask” by so many people. We add people we don’t know, we’re friends with people we hated in high school and yet we don’t think twice about it. This is our “free world” and this is where we express ourselves. I think of it as a safety net. People think that whatever happens on Facebook stays in Facebook. I wish that wasn’t true. If people woke up and actually paid attention to who they were friending and what they were writing a status about then Facebook would be completely different…maybe even nonexistent. All because it wouldn’t be our safety net. Everything out there is out there and honestly with all the filters people place on their photos…you don’t even know the real them anymore.

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    • eakoonter February 14, 2015 / 2:40 pm

      Brandon, I couldn’t have said it any better myself. Social media is used as a “mask” by so many people. We add people we don’t know, we’re friends with people we hated in high school and yet we don’t think twice about it. This is our “free world” and this is where we express ourselves. I think of it as a safety net. People think that whatever happens on Facebook stays in Facebook. I wish that wasn’t true. If people woke up and actually paid attention to who they were friending and what they were writing a status about then Facebook would be completely different…maybe even nonexistent. All because it wouldn’t be our safety net. Everything out there is out there and honestly with all the filters people place on their photos…you don’t even know the real them anymore.

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    • adrianhormsby February 14, 2015 / 3:16 pm

      Totally agree Brandon, have to keep it real to be of any value.

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    • cseejay February 15, 2015 / 9:27 am

      I think you bring up some good points on what social media can do to someone with questionable self – esteem. If one obsesses over being liked or followed so much to a degree that their self – esteem or personal life begins to become altered, then that’s a problem. Past using social media for social connections and a tool like you stated I think it has large negative impactions, short and long term. I think individuals mentality manifest to have the common issues listed.

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  2. ajmiros February 12, 2015 / 3:43 pm

    Great insight! Despite checking my Facebook notifications in the middle of your summary, I thought your take was thoughtful and well written. While reading I reflected on my social media activity and the perception I leave in my various media profiles. Your thoughts on how engaged we are to our online communities was very interesting. I reflected on the various “friends” I have on a wide range of platforms and somewhat real friendships I’ve created though online gaming. Realizing how important the relationships and friendships really are to me was somewhat jarring – I can no longer deny falling into the online trap! Great job.

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  3. Carly Hernandez February 12, 2015 / 6:49 pm

    Most people in online communities seek approval of their image, status, etc. based off of the pictures and content they upload. I’ve noticed that if some people don’t get enough likes on their picture they will take it down and feel as if it was good enough. It is also hard to accurately depict yourself in an online community because people put what information they want others to see up and hide the rest. This is definitely a negative aspect of these communities since we might also feel that who we are truly isn’t accepted by others. It all comes back to the way we portray ourselves and what others think of us. Cyberbullying and self-esteem issues are both effects of online communities. It’s hard to say if things will ever change for us to be in the cyber-world without needed the acceptance of others. Although you are free to speak your mind and upload practically anything you want to, it’s not really our true self that we are showing others. It is what we want others to see.

    I’ve also noticed, from talking with friends and observing others that people don’t think that they are allowed to wear the same outfit twice in pictures they upload. In this past week I was at the mall and overheard a conversation with a group of girls talking about how they were buying outfits just so they could take pictures over the weekend and not repeat themselves. This shows how the meaning of our online image connects into the real world. Buying outfits just to take pictures isn’t worth the time or money to do so.

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    • cseejay February 15, 2015 / 9:31 am

      That’s pretty crazy! I can’t say I’m totally surprised hearing something so ridiculous, but that was to some degree the point I was trying to make. I think getting a “Like” or a “thumb up” serve as self validation that whatever an individual is doing is the good or right thing to do. It’s addicting, I’ll be the first to admit that I’ve personally done and said some things just for a reaction from people I’m loosely a friend with. Though I don’t have the money or time to buy clothes to take Facebook photos, I’m not entirely sure how that’s be drastically different from me buying clothes that are trendy and fashion forward, with the intention of people noticing. From the social side of purchasing clothes, I don’t think theirs a huge difference, do you?

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  4. mvzang February 13, 2015 / 6:48 am

    Social media is a very powerful entity that has the power to hurt or build people up. I think there is a common core of acceptable values and images that people exude in order to be included into the “normal” category. I agree in with you in the fact that the common theme amongst all our readings was people’s desires to be accepted by others via their social media. Like the Farmville article said, why do people play it? It’s because others play it. I’ll be the first to admit that the reason I ever got a MySpace or Facebook account was because my friends had it. While myself, like most others do post favorable photos and profile updates, it’s because there is a strong need for it.

    Who hasn’t gone out and have a few too many drinks with buddies on the weekend from time to time, or has done something that has the potential to be extremely embarrassing to us if social media got a hold of it. These are all natural things that happen to people. Myself like many others have to be careful about what is put out there, not just because it can be damaging, but I think most people don’t need to know what I’m doing every second of every day (which 99% of the time is work or school). I don’t mind if people see bits of info about me, but I’ll be the first to say that I screen everything that is on my social media. There is nothing worse to hear than a buddy of mine who has posted all their party photos on their social media, and a prospective company looks at them as a liability now because they let loose on the weekend. Have to be careful out there!!

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  5. galaradi February 14, 2015 / 2:38 pm

    I agree with the blog posts and comments about users not showing every aspect of their personality. They have the ability to edit and erase the negative aspects or the parts they don’t want to show. Therefore, we get this somewhat distorted image of a person and their life. What people post on Instagram is probably filtered and edited, and it is essentially not as raw and real. People post what they look best in.

    However, just because users post the information they want, does not mean we can’t learn information about them. Yes, they choose to post their own statuses, tweets, pictures, etc. We can learn a lot from those too. We can learn their likes/dislikes, their favorite food or restaurant, their views on issues around the world. Online users can still learn a lot about someone they have never met before. How different is our identity online vs. reality? I don’t think it is as different as people make it out to be. That can also depend on the person. Some people purposefully portray themselves as someone they’re not, while others portray their everyday life in a more realistic sense.

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    • cseejay February 15, 2015 / 9:34 am

      I complete agree with your first point. Social media is great for that first spark, where you can hopefully start a conversation with someone you interested in, in whatever capacity. We definitely learn from what individuals post on their social media accounts, but to argue your second point a bit, I think social media and the online space has changed. So because of that, the daily time individuals spend on social media can be misleading when you’re looking at someone’s purposely-uploaded picture. Is there some point when we start to easily get and accurate representation of individuals online vs. reality? I think you can better gauge who someone is by surfing through his or her information.

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  6. adrianhormsby February 14, 2015 / 3:14 pm

    Charles question regarding how different we are on social media versus reality is important to address, as I believe it has important implications for how we interact at work, in social settings and most importantly in personal relationships. Identity formation is a key aspect of human development with it’s roots stemming from childhood in a family environment through to young adulthood being exposed to high-school, college and work environments, with all the peer interactions and pressures that entails. Dana Boyd writes an excellent article in this week’s readings making an important observation, that is, joining social media networks is not based on these traditional concepts of communication and relationship, but rather is due to a variety reasons associated with identity representation, seeking social affirmation and validation. Taken to it’s extreme, the anonymity afforded social media can create an entirely different persona as compared to reality. It is natural to put one’s best foot forward with regard to what we post online, but when one starts portraying and worse still, believing what is portrayed through a social media persona, it can become counterproductive leading to an illusion of personality. I am reminded of Josh Harris’ abnormal socialization from our Week 2 viewing, in which he watched endless 1950’s TV shows, alienating himself from his family and friends, internalizing the fictitious portrayal of Gilligan as his identity. The long term result going forward into adulthood was his almost total inability to appropriately interact with other human beings, particularly at a personal and intimate level. His social media image portrayed to a dedicated group of virtual followers (perhaps what we’d call FaceBook friends today) became an obsession, getting in the way of potentially healthy relationship social relationships. Let’s hope we are keeping our social media identity in perspective and balancing it with real face to face relationships, particularly family relationships, with all the beauty, value and joy that such healthy relationships can potentially bring into our lives.

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  7. asibo February 15, 2015 / 10:45 am

    I believe that, more so than simply putting users in the best possible light or serving the egotistical needs of the user, online personas allow for users to transcend the societal constraints of their real-life identities. The fact that most social networks ask users to list their A/S/L (Age/Sex/Location) shows how important these factors are when we meet or see someone in real-life, and how these factors shape are perceptions of people. Thus, in online communities where these factors can be manipulated or obfuscated by the user, users can be freed from sexism, age-discrimination, or location bias, and any other physical discrimination, as well as living in the shoes of someone who is outside of their own real-life identity, which can help to further empathy of others.

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  8. mstor763 February 15, 2015 / 10:59 am

    Some really great points were brought up in both the post and comments. Sites like Facebook and Instagram allow people to hide their flaws. Online dating is a great example of this. Pictures that someone posts on an online profile could be pictures from 10 years ago, or of someone else. Shows like Catfish show situations where 40 year old men are pretending to be 18 year old girls. The only way to truly get to know someone is in person.

    There is another side to all of the negatives of social media. The internet also allows some to be themselves, to find others who are like them, and to find support. People who suffer from issues like social anxiety disorder are able to have discussions without worry. Hiding behind the keyboard takes away the stereotypes that physical social interactions can cause.

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  9. Emily Rader February 15, 2015 / 4:01 pm

    I have to say I agree with you in the point you made about people trying to portray themselves a certain way both on social media and in real life. As much as many of us might not like to admit it, whenever we post something or even pick our outfits for the day there is a lot going into that thought process, including how we want others to see us. I would obviously not want to post something on social media that portrays me in a negative light, just like I wouldn’t choose an outfit that I think does the same. I do have to say, you can learn a lot about a person via their social media habits. You might not figure someone out down to their core, but you can usually learn a lot about them. When it comes to someone’s character and personality, a lot of that can even be revealed in the comments that they post to others. You can also usually find out what means a lot to them by what they post. If they post a lot of family photos, you can assume they hold their family in high esteem. If they post about concerts all the time, you know that music means a lot to them. i think this also factors into our dating habits today as well. Do I have a lot in common with this person? Well, before I waste my time figuring that out on a date gone wrong, I can do a quick scan of their social media to find out. It’s a very interesting topic to discuss, how our social lives and our personalities are displayed online and how they are effected by it.

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    • bjuhasz10 February 15, 2015 / 4:34 pm

      It’s funny how you mention that you wouldn’t “want to post something on social media that portrays me in a negative light”. I generally try not to worry about what other people think about me in public, but even I find myself being very careful on social media. I also agree that people’s personalities online can often be very similar to how they are everyday. I try to be funny and smart in real life, and I think my activity on things like Twitter and Facebook reflect that.

      However, as the original poster mentioned, sometimes I find myself portraying somebody I want to be on social media, instead of somebody I am. I am pretty shy in real life, especially when I first meet somebody, and having been born in a different country, I am always scared of saying something awkward or incorrect. However, online, I have the ability to read over what I am about to post, tweet, etc. and this seems to give me more confidence. Also, in job interviews, my head just starts racing and it is hard to answer questions thoughtfully and intelligently, but writing a paper or writing something online is really easy for me, because I can proofread and check myself. Ultimately, hopefully social media and online communities help me reach my goal of becoming the person I want to be.

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  10. sneff16 February 15, 2015 / 5:35 pm

    I think that people do try to portray themselves on social media in the best light possible. Many people we are friends with on social media aren’t that great of friends. The fear of sharing information about yourself that is negative and could portray you in a negative way is often the reason people don’t share those things. I don’t walk around sharing negative information about myself to casual acquaintances in real life and I don’t do it on social media either. Sure, my facebook is just a glossy positive version of my real life, but I don’t feel the need to share every aspect of my life to all my facebook “friends”.

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  11. kevinpayton1 February 15, 2015 / 5:40 pm

    From my brief experience in social media, I have seen that most people do portray themselves differently in their social media profiles than how they behave in reality. After reading some previous post it appears that most of my classmates feel the same way. Brandon Coulter made some great points that I totally agree with such as users altering their profiles and pictures to gain friends that are superficial. Online communities have given users the ability to create and grow identities that they have manufactured and designed to benefit themselves. The problem that arises from presenting themselves in such a manner is that those who chose to allow them into their community or befriend them are doing so based on the misguided and exaggerated profile that the user has created. The results for the person who has chosen to take this route is possibly a membership into a community that they could not readily join in reality but get to be apart of daily while siting behind a computer or attached to a mobile device. The irony in the benefits received as a member of a online exclusive community; is that when a person must exit the created personality to function in everyday life, they realize that they have actually lowered their self esteem and therefore find it difficult to function in everyday life.

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  12. lewenzel93 February 15, 2015 / 6:35 pm

    You brought up some very good points, and your blog post was intriguing to read. I don’t think my identity on social media is significantly different when compared to reality, though. I mean, sure, I’m not spilling all my thoughts in a Facebook status update like a stream of consciousness, but I try to keep my internet identity as authentic to how I would be in real life. I agree you can’t trust everyone you meet or anything you read on the internet 100%, but I’d have to say that’s the same way it goes for anything offline, too.

    In my experience, I’ve met someone in real life after meeting them first online, and they were totally different, but I don’t attribute that to him portraying himself differently. I attribute it to the complication that is the human connection. I do feel everything he said to me was honest and truthful and he came across in the way he wanted, which is positively. However, the potential for friendship wasn’t as deep as I’d first thought after meeting.

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  13. seananthony3 February 15, 2015 / 6:37 pm

    I’m probably not alone here, but I find it much easier to like, or even hate, someone’s online identity than an actual self in person. By posting a simple funny picture, I already feel like they are “on my side” and I may even add them to my friends list. However, the drawback to this is that there have been some people I’ve met in person, gotten along with them, but as soon as I add them on Facebook, they post a lot of opinions I disagree with and I end up blocking them. I also have a friend whom I consider one of my best in person, but I hate talking to him online. He is a kind person, but online he does not think before he posts and his comments completely throw my feed off track without any research of the topic he’s talking about. This research is what separates a lot of the hateful comments on sensitive topics too, I feel. And even if you have a degree in what you’re talking about, a hive mind may even doubt your own identity.

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  14. jaemillz411 February 15, 2015 / 7:30 pm

    I agree completely that there are both drawbacks and benefits when using online communities. But my identity is pretty similar to the one I created online. It is more positive then I am in real life because I believe everything that happens in our real or private lives should not be plastered on sites for the world to see. I think that our online self and our real life self should differ because they are two different arenas. Too many people (especially teenagers) want to share every little insignificant detail about their life online because that is the world we live it. But no matter how many posts people make, it will never amount to their real personality. An identity is vast and there are parts of it that we ourselves are not aware yet. So I think that to a certain degree our online profiles will always be different from whom we are in person. More often then not we tend to promote the best parts of ourselves these online communities are public spheres and when we are in public spheres we like to put our best foot forward. Usually when we live our house to start the day we put on certain cloths, brush our hair, and hide certain aspects of ourselves that we do not want others to see. It is normal for human beings to be a little deceptive.

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  15. Emily Rader February 15, 2015 / 7:47 pm

    Brandon,
    I certainly agree with you about what we can use the internet for and what that becomes. On one hand, there is the capability to connect with all kinds of people on a national and even international scale thanks to the internet. The thing of it is, as you mentioned, that many people hide behind a facade or mask of sorts online. When this happens, instead of developing ties to people based on genuine similarities, many are focused on how many followers or likes they can get on any given site instead of individual expression of who they truly are. Hopefully this is just a phase on the web because the use of social media is still a fairly new thing… Maybe in time the luster of “likes” on a selfie and things like that will fade but I guess only time will tell.

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  16. Ms.McCollum February 15, 2015 / 8:21 pm

    Although I agree that we try to portray ourselves in a positive light in both real and virtual communities I do not believe it is in the same way. Although “Virtual Communities expand on real communities allowing users to explore elements of their identity” I don’t believe we all behave the same in both environments. I have to make sure to filter myself on social media or I could be looked at negatively by a prospective employer. I do have public platforms, but if they weren’t that wouldn’t stop an interviewer form asking to be a friend or follower. If I deny, well, chances are slim that I’d get the job. I can’t speak for the community of video games, but I imagine it’s a much different ‘you’ from real life.

    I wouldn’t say that this is bad thing tough; we need to have outlets to express every side of us. It seems that others would agree, since “social-media users are having more conversations with people — online and off!” It may be true that “Social Networking Sites can be considered egocentric based networks where users are at the center of their own self-created virtual universe,” but that is also the beauty of it. In a society that is apt to judge everything you do why shouldn’t you hold yourself a little higher for being for creating a place of belonging?

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  17. bubbastinx February 15, 2015 / 8:47 pm

    I’d like to think that my social identity is the same as it is in person. I don’t keep a lot of friends if I don’t know you.

    I also enjoy meeting people who have similar interest, and I usually engaged them for their wealth of knowledge about any specific industry. I value and cherish people like this.

    Unfortunately, I often find my Facebook feed smeared with people taking selfies, and what they had for breakfast.

    Who really cares about that stuff except narcissist?

    Which brings me to an episode of “Keeping of with the Kardashians” that I stumbled upon. It showed Khloe talking to a criminal psychologist about the correlation of narcissism and serial Killers, and how it applied to Scott.

    I wonder if all of these narcissistic teenagers would be our next Manson?

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  18. thegradytrain February 15, 2015 / 9:16 pm

    As much social media should mirror our real lives, I feel like it doesn’t work out for anyone if 100% transparency exists on our social media profiles. I am not saying your online profiles should be masks that you wear in different networks, but rather each profile should be tailored to conform with your expected audience. I take full advantage of Facebook’s groups system to help organize posts so that specific content is only available for certain people to see. It’s not that I don’t want the excluded to see that content, I just feel like things would be better for everyone if they did not get some of inside jokes spammed on their feeds or something that makes them feel excluded. I tend to be relatively unprofessional on my Facebook than other social medias, only because I can be and not have to worry about criticisms from the public or acquaintances. If potential employer’s or my professional audience wants to see a more professional version of me, that compliments what they want from me, that is what networks like LinkedIn are for. I do not prefer to filter myself, but more rather filter audiences to and for myself. This way I can post selected media to selected groups, whether they be public or more private groups.

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  19. rmpaulk February 15, 2015 / 9:33 pm

    I can definitely see where you are going with this, and I agree. I always try to be aware of what I am putting out to the world both in person and online. I even try to make my fiancé aware of what he is broadcasting, because he too is a reflection on me. I am always trying to show the best face possible when I am online, because nobody wants to be that person who loses a career opportunity due to something the employer saw on social media. I think there are very few adults online who just put it all on social media without thinking and caring what it is showing about them. People are always trying to put their best foot forward. In terms of individuality, I think it is a very hard struggle. I have a personal book reviewing blog and I find myself trying to do what the other big name blogs are doing. I want to be as popular as them, so I study what they are doing and apply it to my blog with my own twist to it. The problem with that, though, is people aren’t looking for another blog that is just the same as their current favorite. They already read that blog. They want something different. Another problem I have come across is deciding whether or not I should just state my opinion on a review, or try not to cause a controversy. There was a book I was sent for review that brought up some controversial topics. I found the book to be good and didn’t share the opinion that it was controversial. This brought the dilemma of should I post my honest opinion, or ignore the topic altogether?

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  20. doniecew February 15, 2015 / 10:29 pm

    I do believe that people create online identities that’s separate from the real person that they are, in an effort to get accepted online. We’re at a point in society where our Instagram followers and Facebook friends means more than real life friends.

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  21. akuelbs February 15, 2015 / 10:36 pm

    People having the ability to remain anonymous and try to be and act like the person they wish or want to be is what can draw a lot of people into certain communities on the internet. Within gaming there are games that are RPG or Role Playing Games in which someone creates a character and sets out on an adventure and quest to level up their character how they want them to be, These games have a lot of customization with the characters can be whomever they want and it is as if they have a second being in these online environments. These games draw people in because it allows for the creativity and access of free thinking and free thoughts for their characters. The big thing in these communities is that some people try to go too far into these other realities and get to the point of cyber bullying which can turn other people away from the game. People come to these games to enjoy a new reality and to just do what they want, but if cyber bullying finds its way to them in this reality, then it is like they arent in a new reality. I know i have said cyber bullying a lot in my post, but some people dont realize that it does exist, and at times it can be even more severe than actual bullying because of the endless limits someone has on the internet.

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  22. mwiedmeyer February 15, 2015 / 10:52 pm

    I’ve read articles discussing the types of things people post on Facebook casting them in a positive light, and it’s definitely true. The difference is in how people accomplish this. They can be successful, popular, good-looking, the victim, the list goes on. Though I see the constant barrage of perfect selfies and engagement announcements on Facebook, the victim role is particularly prevalent. Rather than the positive posts seen so frequently, they post about terrible things happening to them, begging the internet for sympathy. This sort of behavior is why I think the type of positive role you cast yourself in through your post choice is still pretty indicative of your personality. Whether or not you make an effort to disguise yourself online, it’s always a self-portrait.
    As for positive or negative communities on the internet, there are always two sides to a coin. The user has to choose to seek out the positive parts of the internet rather than wasting their time reading the pointless arguments in a YouTube comment section. It’s incredibly easy to find something uplifting online, so avoid those cesspools of negativity and spend your time looking at stuff you like.

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  23. blcarr February 15, 2015 / 11:02 pm

    Using social media can do 1 of 2 things. Either boost your self esteem and destroy it depending on the person. You have those that overly obsessed with having liked comments and post. They actually believe that these followers are real friends. In social media, we add people we don’t know anything about, we link up with people we hated in some point in life without blinking an eye. From your average joe to the most popular celebrity, everyone uses some format of social media to express our opinions and emotions. We all post things that eventually haunt us in the future. Be it twerk videos, uncensored videos, showing off money, fashion, ect. Painting a picture for the public to judge

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  24. hessaj February 15, 2015 / 11:20 pm

    I absolutely love to express myself through social media apps. I like that it affects my real self too, to the things I buy/collect, the way it influences my fashion, the way I act/behave. Even our behavior can be entirely influenced by being involved with others online. Some people I know get great satisfaction from the amount of likes they get on a photo or status they post. I can see why too, if it’s something you’re proud of, to see so much interaction on it, it’s really satisfying. Now on the other hand, it can also being truly devastating. Usually with an online community, people are understanding, and are open to almost everything, but it you post to the wrong community, even to your own facebook friends, or post the wrong kind of content in general, you would probably get shit on. I’ve witnessed a few on facebook for how much I actually check it. Just be humble throughout everything and online communities can actually be a blast and very helpful.

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    • cseejay February 16, 2015 / 12:42 am

      You last point is spot on. I’m constantly checking what I say and how I say it on various social media sites I use, because I feel like I might get ridiculed if say the wrong thing. It’s interesting that despite this, most people don’t seem to share my worries and typically speak freely. Instead of carefully crafting what you want to say, people generally use social media to display their worst attributes to people they’re loosely connected to. I think the people that are usually understanding are the ones that know you on a personal level.

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  25. smkiraco February 15, 2015 / 11:53 pm

    Ah, identity. Something I struggle so hard with. I know what I am, I know that I dislike it, and I know what I want to be. Online communities are just another tool I am using to build a bridge that I will burn once I cross it. I am definitely looking to frame myself in a positive light but also refine who I am as a person instead of being a diamond in the rough so others can see how colorful I really am. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder and I think I am hideous. I do not have much value in how others look at me. I am looking for my own ideal image. The light I am focusing is my own.

    Certain online communities, in my opinion, are a great controlled environment of which to experiment with this ideal image I am aiming for. I am not that much different online than I am in the real world at the moment: shy, reclusive, and quiet. But I am developing much faster there and it is subtlety helping me personally.

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  26. bubbastinx March 4, 2015 / 7:38 pm

    var _giphy = _giphy || []; _giphy.push({id: “hCi6SFrcExHcQ”,w: 400, h: 307});var g = document.createElement(“script”); g.type = “text/javascript”; g.async = true;g.src = (“https:” == document.location.protocol ? “https://” : “http://”) + “giphy.com/static/js/widgets/embed.js”;var s = document.getElementsByTagName(“script”)[0]; s.parentNode.insertBefore(g, s);

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