Which me is the real me?

The fast-paced evolution and progress of the internet and the development of the technology to ease the access to it has transformed the current society. Yet for better or for worse?

What I always found fascinating is the possibility to absolutely reinvent yourself on the web. The anonymity, although somewhat limited, which the internet offers, allows a person to be at least two different people at the same time, say, calm and reserved in real life, and charming and humorous online. Yet which self is the true self? Did we actually manage to shift our lives online, turning back to reality just to complete the tasks which we must do?

According to Baym (2013), most people feel that they can express their true self better on the web.  This gets you thinking: why are we so afraid to be ourselves in reality within our small social circle, yet we can be our truest selves when engaging with a wide multinational network of complete strangers. Is it the aforementioned anonymity? And yet, can the online persona of ours be considered a real self, if it’s merely a simulation?

As of now, approx. 2.13 billion people are on social media (Statista, 2016). These numbers are not too surprising having in mind the ubiquity of the internet and the fast development of means of access to it. And, apparently, the comfort we find in expressing ourselves, making connections and taking part in this multinational phenomenon which is the web.

What do you think? Which self is the true self?

 

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7 Comments

  1. I loved reading this, as it’s something that happens to all of us yet not something you’d actively really think about while doing it!
    A similar thing that comes to mind is how the other way of “expressing ourselves” online varies greatly depending on the situation, for example when texting friends on Whatsapp or writing an email to a lecturer!

    While you mainly put emphasis on the different versions of oneself that can be presented online (which as described is both questionable and an advantage), I thought of the possibility of being scammed or catfished online upon questioning “the real self”. You might reinvent yourself but also make up a complete new persona with all details changed, given the anonymity and freedom of the web, which can be very harmful rather than liberating.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Your point is very true as well as interesting. Although almost everybody is on social platforms by now, the effect that it does to the personality is still fascinating. We can say that a person is often fake or, at least ‘made up’ on the online profile; on the other hand, however, it’s also true that, nowadays, you can’t really say to know someone until you’ve had a browse on his social networks. The web has become a sort of “complimentary” aspect of our inner self, and observing the attitude online can spot aspects of our personality that, without the web, wouldn’t maybe be visible.

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  3. I really enjoyed reading your article and it made me think about how many people actually ‘pretend’ to be someone else online. Many people only reveal what they want people to see online and depending on the social networking site they are using. This might be because they have people of higher authority following them on one site and their friends on another. Therefore, I think that the person we really are can not be represented online because we only show what we want to be seen. Great blog post!

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  4. I completely agree that it is indeed a fascinating and central point to examine when we learn the internet in depth. I believe that for good or bad, mostly for both, the internet today is the central stage for our self-expression. While it might change our character- it can also build and develop it. Still, most people without the web wouldn’t have a stage at all. The support, the argument, and the flow of ideas that the internet allows us to lead- is also a precious opportunity. However, I am thankful that I was born long enough before the real development of the internet, as I got the opportunity to know a world and communication without the web. The healthy challenges of the “old school” are something that is hard to replace for today’s younger generations.

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  5. I find your outlook and the debate you have raised a very interesting one. I agree that perhaps people feel more confident to express themselves and their views online. Perhaps this is through fear of persecution and the fear of being ‘different’ – which could be a fear generated through the media which seems to create a mainstream which is generally more accepted. On the other hand, some people decide online is a place where they can express views to persecute other people. They hide behind their keyboard with the belief that their online presence is not a real one and perhaps that the people that they may be trolling on Twitter for example too are not real people. Personally, I think ‘identity’ is an interesting concept. I do not think that anyone has a ‘true self’, but they act or portray themselves differently dependant on the situation and who they are surrounded by. For example, in a professional environment someone will act differently to when they are with one particular friend or with their granddad. As well, someone may seem to be portraying themselves differently with a message that they send online. Perhaps this is because they have had more time to think about the way they write a message or because they feel more confident than when speaking in front of someone. Overall, I think that the internet does not necessarily change someone but provides the opportunity to express themselves in a different way.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I really like your point of view, and your writing is interesting! Personally speaking, I’m not a big fan of today’s online world. Cause I think stranger could get to know who you really are from your personal web pages in terms of your hobby, daily life, and even what you have eaten for lunch, thus, in my opinion, both are true self, people just get another platform to express themselves with less judgment. Its just like the difference between typing and handwriting, both are showing your thought, however, from typing, reader would not know how bad your handwriting is.

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  7. I strongly agree with your argument as to how the online personality can differ from your true self. Interestingly, these online personalities we create also differ depending on the platforms we use. There is for instance Linkedin – a platform where we are promoting ourselves, sharing our professional achievements; Twitter – a mixture between professionalism and offering insight to our social lives.
    Engaging with your question, I would argue that the only true self of us will not be found online. We choose what we want to disclose and what we keep for ourselves. We present ourselves online as to how we want to be viewed.

    Liked by 1 person

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