A persona is defined as “the public image you present to the world.” However, social media allows us to become the gatekeepers of our own life deciding what makes the cut and what doesn’t, and therefore alters our ‘online persona’ in comparison to our ‘real-life persona.’
And as Erin Pierce states in her article Picture Perfect: How Social Media Skews Our Perception Of Reality
“A picture is worth a thousand words… or is it?”
She questions if we really think about what we post online before we post it. For example, take an Instagram post from your summer break such as a photo on a road trip with a friend. Were they as accurate and fun as you filtered them out to your followers? (Engage in the comments or on twitter at @katee_scott) and don’t worry if you have, I’m guilty of this too, but this represents just how easy it is to alter your persona online.
Take the instance of 18 year old Australian teenager Essena O’Neill who with over half a million followers on Instagram quit the platform as she described it as
“contrived perfection made to get attention.”
By making an income through marketing products on this platform, Essena took to the Instagram by manipulating photos and captions to represent how individuals strive to be ‘popular’ online to validate themselves. It illustrates how individuals feel ‘happy’ and ‘idolised’ by there followers when in reality none of that truly matters, and therefore reflects on how her online persona became too fake and she was no longer her true self online.
Frohlich, T 2015, Social Media: Reality vs. Perception, OdysseyOnline, viewed 10 May 2016, <http://odyssey.antiochsb.edu/slideshows/social-media-reality-vs-perception/>.
Hunt, E 2015, Essena O’Neill quits Instagram claiming social media ‘is not real life’, The Guardian, viewed 10 May 2016, <http://www.theguardian.com/media/2015/nov/03/instagram-star-essena-oneill-quits-2d-life-to-reveal-true-story-behind-images>.
Pierce, E 2015, ‘Picture Perfect: How Social Media Skews Our Perception Of Reality’, Read UnWritten, viewed 10 May 2016, <http://www.readunwritten.com/2015/08/11/social-media-skews-reality/>.