Are We Ourselves?


How much do we self-edit in social media?

I’ve always assumed that everyone put their best foot forward when representing themselves on say, Facebook.

That’s why I was fascinated by Sarah Perez’ recent article at ReadWriteWeb, entitled, “On Facebook, You’re Really You.” From the article:

“Are people who they really say they are online? Conventional wisdom tells us that social networking sites, blogs and other social media outlets have allowed people to carefully craft online “personas” – essentially idealized versions of who they are in real life. Are you wittier online? More outgoing? More social? Friendlier? For those hiding behind the keyboard and computer screen, personality traits like these are easier to fake. Or are they?

According to a recent research study, maybe not. Psychologists found that “faking it” online is tougher than previously imagined. In fact, the results of the study show that people are much more likely to reveal their true personalities online and not the idealized image of who they want to be.”

The study is limited, in that it only focuses on one demographic: Students aged 17-22.

So I’m wondering:

  • Is it just young people who don’t self-edit?
  • Do students even place a value on self-editing?
  • What about us middle-aged folk: Is my Facebook profile a true reflection of my real self?
  • When I think about it, I do tend to experience my friends on Facebook in a similar manner to how I experience them in real life.
  • Are we unwittingly exposing ourselves, despite our best efforts?

What do you think?

To read Perez’ article in its entirety, click here.

To read the results of the research study, click here.

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