Be Real You. Can You?

We are living in the world where many of us start and finish a day by checking Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, and other blogs. It may sound like hyperbole, but some people seem like treating social media more important than money in their wallets. Why spending an hour on social media feels like a minute? Well, you all know, it’s quite fun to scroll down and cruise through various pages. You see one friend traveled to Bali to go surfing, another friend went to a new Italian restaurant in downtown with a lover, and another worked out to show off his abs and biceps with a hashtag #MotivationMonday. Everyone seems to be so happy to enjoy their daily life on social media.


“Low Battery: 10% of battery remaining” Running out of battery, you plug a phone to charge, and finally let yourself out of the social media world. While lying on a bed and staring at a ceiling, you start to think: Why am I in my bedroom on this beautiful sunny day when everyone is having fun out there? You suddenly become miserable and depressed. To deal with such melancholy, you take a selfie and put it on your Instagram with a hashtag #MundaneMonday. As you get a few likes, it feels like others care about you and pay attention to what you do on Monday. The world seems just beautiful again. However, none of them actually contacts you to come out. All they do is double tapping your selfie, showing the best form of love they can give you online. Even worse, you don’t know many of those gave you likes. They are followers whom never ever seen in your life. There comes only one person actually sending you DM, asking “Do you want to go out for a dinner?” It’s your friend who said she was surfing at Bali. You go back to her Instagram and find out a hashtag #MemoryMonday.


Social media in fact is a platform in which you can selectively reveal yourself to others. And, it is a medium that encourages you to choose the appearance that you want to show. We all want to show off our own presence, and we always control what we’re exposed to. Anyone can release their stories and glimpse the lives of others. Hence, the internet is a very attractive base for manipulation. This is because you can wrap yourself up with images and writing that are far more appealing than your own in the real world, leading to a lot of attention from others that are impossible in reality. With the anonymity of the internet and the ease of connecting with the masses, and the expressive methods that they provide, they can tailor the new self to their desires and promote it to the masses and acquaintances through social media platforms.


Have you heard of Essena O’Neill? Having over a million followers on YouTube and Instagram, an Australian teenager was real famous on the internet back in 2015 (I found about her while researching an example for this blog post). She suddenly deleted over 2,000 photos and videos that she has uploaded to send a clear message of how fake the popularity and communication via social media has been for her. She confessed that as the number of followers grew, she naturally craved more people’s attention every time they have a great number of clicks. Furthermore, the communication through social media was only because of the obsession with her figure and appearance and the compulsion to display what ‘she wanted to be’ rather than ‘real herself.’

Sometimes, not only the identity but also interactions are not genuine on social media. You can see the reaction that appears in seconds without distinguishing between night and day. With that, you are relieved of loneliness for a short time. You get that sense of comfort thanks to people whose faces have never been seen and voices have never been heard. To some extent, trust, happiness, and power do not come from myself on social media. It is rather determined by the friends who have a relationship with me. The number of “likes” is the happiness index of the day. As a result, if you provide ‘ like ‘ to someone, a kind of tacit trading relationship is formed. It is largely because human instinct constantly wants to be cared for by others who think about themselves. At the same time, human beings are not so rational, but they can sincerely grieve at the misery of others, but they are hard to rejoice in the happiness of others. The happiness of others is often the coming of my misery.

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What is your “identity” on social media? We all try to create an identity in our own ways without knowing it. You can also change your profile photos frequently, only with photos of the great places you have been to. You follow a variety of people that you don’t know in real life just to get a follow in return. To get a number of followers, you pretend to be the happiest person in the world while working hard to hid negative side of you. Perhaps, the desire for identity has created the rate of diffusion of social media at the moment is not exaggeration. If so, how can you create a true identity? Is there a recipe for creating online identity?


Remember, Essena said this.

“Our lives are beautiful enough that even without social media and followers, I don’t have to compare me with another.”



  1. Jobabes121 · ·

    Your point that social media is a forum where one can selectively reveal to others is very accurate. And the rationale behind is, indeed, what Essena and you bring up: the popularity contest. The mindset that people “crave” more likes pushes people to post only the attractive and happy moments of their lives (largely #throwback or #takemeback), which I am also influenced by. Humans by default want to grab others’ attention, and it’s great to see someone liking your post or comment even when we interact in this course.

    I saw an article where being “better” at social media necessitates one to delete friends from the large friends/follower list. I personally know quite a few friends who have a separate instagram account just for the sake of sharing their most genuine self with “no shame,” following their true friends exclusively. Although social media does not promote such behaviors, I hope more people are recognizing this insight and be more authentic both in the real world and social media. Having lower amount of so-called friends will prevent such empty, vague feeling that one gets from the low number of likes on a recent post. It may suffer the number of likes, but the direction should move towards authenticity rather than popularity for the betterment of the overall social media community.

  2. Interesting post. There was a concept when I was coming through graduate school called “multiphrenia,” where people had different identities in different settings. That situation is only magnified now.

  3. kikinitwithraf · ·

    I really like the line about “selective identity.” At some point, everyone has created their brand and this post really articulates what happens on the “creators” side of things. Social media has trained us into a simple routine: reward, recognition, and repeat. And who doesn’t want to their posts to generate momentum? Its all about making that big “Splash!” However, I do see the benefits of having separate “brands” based on the social platform. Like @jobabes121 mentioned, theres Facebook and then there’s my personal IG for close friends. Its funny to see how we all get caught up in the world of social.

  4. jennypenafiel11 · ·

    One of the lines that really stood out to me was the one that said “the internet is a very attractive base for manipulation.” I feel like this is growing more impactful and the trends of fitness and beauty are contributing to it by promoting unrealistic ideals and standards. It is something that is often talked about but your post took a good approach tot his by focusing on what is really behind the illusions rather than focusing on what the fake perceptions can cause. However, one thing I have been seeing a lot of on Instagram lately is posts that try to promote the reality behind all the misconceptions. For example, some posts show people who work out in different poses and they caption the post about how the different poses show almost completely different appearances in their body but nonetheless, both of those pictures are their body. These posts attempt to promote body positivity and more self-love. I think this relates to your post given that some people seek affirmation from the likes as you mentioned and they try to make the pictures convey the “right” thing to get affirmation. These body positivity posts convey a message that there should be more self affirmation and realistic expectations. I think its an interesting trend. In my opinion, the motive makes sense but somehow even this has taken a spin into getting more likes… Its ironic but interesting to note!

  5. graceglambrecht · ·

    Can definitely relate to this. Social media is definitely a group of platforms where I tend to show the best parts of me and not those that are hard. I even have different personalities and different identities across different social media platforms. It is important to look at how those personalities online affect our real world social interactions and or relationship with the world in general. I have been trying to get off of social media recently for this exact reason. Worrying too heavily about my different images across platforms is tiresome and not at all worth the time of effort.
    A Black Mirror episode does a great job of showing how likes and comments and social media profiles affect our perceptions of others and ourselves.

  6. thebobbystroup · ·

    “Running out of battery, you plug a phone to charge, and finally let yourself out of the social media world.” – somebody clearly hasn’t invested in the 6-foot charging cable.

    I think your Instagram picture of the nips of alcohol is a funny yet pointed way to show the fakeness of social media. While I do think different social media platforms lend themselves to different types of personalities, it is interesting to see how one individual can differ from one to another. I think fake news can even be applied to those colleagues who are falsely putting on a front about how great their lives are by hiding the negative parts.

  7. NeroC1337 · ·

    “Social media is a business”, watching Essena O’Neill video just makes me thinking about people playing video games and streaming is the easiest job alive in this world. However, the pain that content creators go through is much more severe because of the competition. A traditional job you have a working schedule, you can have a work-life balance. For content creator, people say, “you can have the chance to work on your schedule, how wonderful is that.” But the truth is, your life becomes your work. Content creators have to think about putting out new content to track views, likes, publicity till the extent that they are most likely working 24/7.

    Now back to social media. One reason I think that people feel depressed because social media really brings people unnecessarily close till the extent that you almost live with your friends on social media 24/7. Well, the beauty of distance is that it keeps us sane and spending much more times with ourselves, thinking about our own life goals. But with social media bringing everyone too close together, you are paying attention to other people’s lives so much that you forgot what is your life and purpose.

  8. bc_eagle1 · ·

    Very good thought surrounding identity. I just had someone from linkedin call me to discuss my profile and give me some tips. It’s all part of showcasing who you are in a way that’s relatable. It’s not easy. As @neroc1337says content creation is a lot of work. The worst thing is creating content that nobody comments on or shares, because it means you are missing the mark. If your content starts hitting then you feel better. There is definitely a formula for creating an online identity-be authentic and write about what people care about. Think about if you are writing for yourself or the audience and make sure they can respond and “play” in your content.

  9. DingnanZhou · ·

    Very interesting post. I agree with the comment from @bceagle1. Online identity are weighing more and more as we are getting tied with technology. Can we be real online? Does Internet unveil more about someone? Personally I have friends who speak more online than reality. One would be shocked once making that comparison between him in reality and on Internet. I think the virtual world has become a double-edged sword. It is us who decide how to fully utilized it for good.

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