The virtual world is a platform that invites us to interact with other people by building one or more different role characters. Presentation and display on social media is our daily bread. This space is like a glass exhibition cabinet, which everyone decorates to their own liking to present their role, that is, the person they would like to become.
The opposite of the virtual is not reality, but the present. People are not materially present on the Internet. One way or another, everyone is free to hide or show only what they want. While this also happens face to face, it can’t go as far as online. In today’s social media, we can already present and act on almost anything.
This idea, which may initially seem imaginative and playful, easily grows into a problematic theme. This is happening, because it is not at all uncommon that by presenting a certain role on social media, we also build links and bonds based on this role character. After all, we end up feeling confused and soon begin to confuse the things that relate to our true identity.
You can show everything on social media
Virtuality has a feature that facilitates a certain kind of identity forgery. You can say anything to a person in the virtual world in real time. However, this person has no way of checking whether our message is true. The same goes for posts we publish on social media.
One thing is to show and present on social media and another very different thing is to do the same thing in the real world. Virtual reality does not allow access to the context in which the person himself is. Nor does it allow us to compare and observe the situation on the basis of what someone else is saying about their own reality.
Thus, the prevailing conditions allow playing with identities to move in a very flexible framework. Although we often don’t even notice, we end up staging a role figure representing our ideal self-image, which we only nurture and enrich.
Acceptance and admiration
The identity we build on social media and for social media has certain traits that we consider “best of all”. We receive feedback on every post we publish. Some posts get more likes and others go unnoticed by others. This gives us a lesson that will lead us to identify which things and themes receive the most acceptance and admiration in our “network of friends”.
Presentation and display on social media are also ways to compete with others in the “social market”. Those people who have already sunk too deep into this virtual world also feel like they are judges of others, sometimes showing astonishing severity in the situation at times. In this way, bonds are formed that are both hypocritical and fragile at the same time.
Acceptance and admiration on social media does not arise from genuine recognition and reward. It has more to do with the number of likes and the balance of followers. This, in turn, gives rise to many “influencers,” and they are best quoted in that personality market. All of these influencers are easily substitutable or acceptable.
Self-deception is the real problem
Social media was created to make a profit. That in itself is neither bad nor good. However, it is a fertile platform that increases the impact of peer pressure and also reinforces trends and trends that are not always constructive or enriching for us humans or society.
Social media also provides favorable spaces for the trivialization of important and significant things. We see every day how social media is more differentiating than connecting. It encourages a micro-dictatorship of opinion and for those people who do not feel confident or who have not formed an independent criterion in the face of reality, social media is the way to build false and even deceptive identities.
Social media also has a great power of conditioning. Presentation and display on social media can turn into an activity that places more expectations and emotions on it than it deserves. Ignoring it after a published post frustrates some. And while as contradictory as it may sound, it also isolates man both from himself and his real environment.
Commenting and sharing on these platforms is just one of the many ways we can connect with other people. If we allow social media to suck us in, we will eventually distort the image of who we are and give up the valuable opportunity to build deeper experiences of friendship, camaraderie, and expression of our being.