Image borrowed from en.wikipedia.org
I think hybrid identities can be more accurate sometimes but also less accurate sometimes. There is a basic human need to feel connected to others; some people might form their identity to fit into what they think others want to see. This type of alteration makes an online and offline identities less accurate but more accepted by society. Every time I think about posting something negative on Facebook, I think about the people who would like what I said, but I also think about the people that would not like what I said. Most of the time I do not post my thoughts because I fear negative repercussions or do not want to be seen as negative, even if I am. For example, one of my Facebook friends posted something negative about the Red Hot Chili Pepper’s Super Bowl performance. As an RHCP fan, I immediately thought of some very impolite things to say about her, but just because I thought those things didn’t mean I was going to post them on Facebook. I think that would make me just as bad as her by stating something I knew not everyone would agree with. I also felt I had better things to do than stand up for Flea, when I think that his reputation as a technically and spiritually accomplished musician spoke louder than anything I could have said. My boyfriend however heard me call her some not so nice names as I was more willing to self-disclose my true feelings to him because I knew it would be just between us. A week later I could barely remember why I got so angry and was glad I didn’t make a permanent record of my rage or start a dramatic feud, which I would not have time, energy, or passion for. I still think RHCP is amazing and deserve credit for their talent. So my online identity was saved for the time being, and I have kept my Facebook effectively a professional identity of me, until I go and say or do something I couldn’t judge quickly enough to prevent a problem. I have never online dated, but this is equivalent to a professional version of an online dating profile like in the Ellison, Heino, and Gibbs article; I cater the content to what I view as desirable by others. I think about Napoleon Dynamite when I reference online dating, and I’m not really looking for that kind of social interaction.
Image borrowed from manitu.deviantart.com
I also think about photos like in the Mendelson and Papacharissi article. I look at my profile pictures and I realize only a few of them have some sort of negative connotation, one of me wearing a white wig and dancing around, and another of me as a child dressed as E.T. for Halloween holding an E.T. statue, and one of my cat curled up in my chimenea. The rest of my pictures are “perfect” and show a side of me that I would be happy to put on a job application. I also had two older profile pictures of me and my boyfriend. I think that also shows a “perfect” idea of our relationship; smiling, kissing, or hugging… but does that mean there aren’t times when our hair is a mess; we’re having a fight, or being menaces to society? No. We’re human and we have the same issues as many other humans. I haven’t used a selfie since the Myspace days, and have seen a dramatic increase in the connotation of a selfie. In the Myspace days, it was a way to network, generate dating interest, and let people know how you look. Now a selfie gives a statement that is more like, “Look at me, I’m so wonderful and beautiful/handsome that I take pictures of myself and look at them all day long”. I think that’s true for some people but also not for others so someone’s identity could be judged as something it might not be. Since relationships are the main focus of the photos in the article, the relationship that I realized that I showed the most are my family, boyfriend, and best friends. These people do mean the most to me and make up most of my private life so it would make sense that they are the most prominent. However, my photos are not always in chronological order, especially with the invention of “throwback Thursdays” and other reminiscing photos. I do think we alter our profiles to save face, but as we get older there are less unprofessional photos and posts and hopefully we can save face by doing so.