Are we really on facebook?

Or is it another self? The perfected self? Of course this is a concept that will be hard to ever know as we are often unconscious of the way our movements are interpreted in the online world. We simply do what we think is ‘right’ and secretly hope for more likes and comments 😉 That being said we are going to try and draw connections between certain actions we make online and the messages they give to the outside world.

*i’d like to mention that this piece is targeted towards the people who are frequent users and who have friends who are also frequent users.*

Profile pictures
Let’s begin with the trophy cabinet, the place to display a collection of our finest moments and closest friends. This is normally the first place people go to check out a new friend then they trawl through the tagged photo’s to see the more realistic ‘you’. Not only are our profile pictures our display cabinets but they actually reflect our values and focus’s in life. We do not just put any old photo up in our cabinet; we only put what we value in there. Here are a few commonly re-occurring themes. Which one are you?

Extreme/Adventure – Photo of us doing something others might not be able to do.
Beauty – Common among females, professional shot’s of us looking beautiful.
Crazy in love – Common for the love birds with a shared photo showing happy love to the world 😉
Rich n’ Famous – On a boat, next to an expensive car, in a big house, expensive clothing, next to a famous person etc.
Social Butterfly – Constantly surrounded by friends and others having fun.
Attention Shots – Soul purpose of creating and drawing attention.
Achievers – Our proudest, most enjoyable achievements on display.
Funny – Photo’s of us looking silly, funny or ridiculous.
Alternative/Different – Abstract shots of ourselves or things we represent.

We should be conscious of the message we place in our cabinets, as this is where the outside world gets their first impression. If there is too much of a singular theme people will get an impression that our characters are ‘flat’ and omni-directional. We should also watch out for the me-me-me syndrome, if all of our profile pic’s draw obvious attention to ourselves being great we can come across as self absorbed.

If we want to build ‘internet trust’ to new comers it’s advised to include a few ‘real life’ shots (pictures of us not necessarily looking our best). These don’t need to be as our currently set profile picture but it’s good to have them as they allow us to present as ‘more human’ to the outside world. If we look ‘too perfect, too beautiful, too rich’ in all of our photo’s we present as fake. Are our profile photo’s projecting the message we want to portray? Is it really the sort of person we are?

Wall Posts
How we use our Facebook wall is our freedom to decide but how others interpret our information is in the eye of the beholder. The line between public wall and bedroom wall has been seriously blurred in the online arena and consciousness of the difference is key. Are the things we post on our walls about us, what we do, what we like and what we think are important? Or are they about things we think our friends, families and acquaintances would find interesting? The more posts we post about ourselves, about what we do, what’s on our mind the more inwardly focused we present. The more posts we create for people to read and interact with the more outwardly we present. Finding an appropriate balance between the two will place us in an authentic, friendly and interesting position.

‘Friends’ Interaction
What we receive from our ‘friends’ on our wall’s and photo’s can be great social indicators. If we have frequent external activity we present as humans with real world social connections. The comments others leave are honest indications of how we are regarded as people. Only people who are interested in us personally will put their name behind our posts.

Tagged Pictures
People with large numbers of tagged photo’s create a form of Internet based ‘social respect’. Only friends who care enough in real life go to the effort of tagging us, as an effect the number of tagged photo’s is another indicator towards our level of social activity and regard. Of course we have the freedom to tag our own photo’s which slightly reduces the validity of this feature.

Number of ‘friends’
Doesn’t mean jack.

Online Persona
Much like fashion we use our online personas as a way of showing the world who we are and what we stand for. It’s an online trail for anyone to view so the words we leave on others photo’s and walls are going to be constructed in a way that reflect what we believe in and how we want others to remember us. Are we obnoxious with our comments? Are we rude? Are we deep? Are we funny? Are we intelligent? Is our online personality the same as who we are in real life? There is certainly a connection between the comments we make online and how we regard ourselves in life, it’s just that the online selves are normally a little more twisted as we have time to craft them as we like.

If we are confident enough to show our true selves online it creates trust and respect amongst the people offline. If we advertise ourselves as an intelligent witty guy online and we are not intelligent or witty in the real life we create inconsistencies. People’s expectations are not met and they are left feeling slightly baffled. Why is this person not confident enough to be herself in real life? Being ourselves offline and online helps create respect and trust amongst our peers. If we have duel identities, people are going to start wondering what other things we lie about.

Conclusion
Our facebook pages are viewed from the outside world as constantly evolving social resumes, it’s a space to express our beliefs, social status, accomplishments and selves publicly. People will make judgements based on what they see, wether it’s a truthful representation of who we really are is another question. Humans will naturally lean towards twisting their online presence to amplify attention. The degree of manipulation is a dangerous act as when people actually come into contact with us in life and we’re half as witty, beautiful, intelligent as we appeared there expectations will have been let down which instantly does more damage than the reputation we may have built in the online world. ‘Friends’ interactions are what act as real trust builders to the outside world. Profile photos represent our values, accomplishments and focus’s in life. Online personas are moving trails of who we are.

Combined we can gain insights about our friends and ourselves like when we analyse the way we decorate our rooms. We can understand a great deal about a persons values, focus’s in life and character via their facebook page and interactions. So before we post that next post, let’s try to remember who we really are and whom it’s really for 😉

Do you know any other social indicators we can pull from facebook activity?

How truthful are you being?

How truthful are you?

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