Digital Self

Social networks have completely changed human interaction and the way that society communicates as a whole. This came with some cultural adjustments as the medium in which the real life situations were shifting to the online world. This created some privacy and security issues on how people used the system and the information that arrived with it.

Through our social media we give away so much information, that we are not even aware of, that endangers other aspects of our life. From our social media a lot of other medias can be figured out, our email information, phone number, addresses, even your whereabouts at that particular instant. With pictures, statuses, comments, Internet searches are only some of the information and trails we leave behind. We don’t only share information about ourselves online but of our family and friends, so through us, not only is our information in danger but everyone else’s as well. So this made it a little bit weird to take our romantic relationships online, but with time it has proven to have some potential behind it.

As you can’t see who’s on the other side of the Internet and on the other computer people can distort their digital self to the extent they want or even make up completely inexistent people through these social media accounts. This phenomenon became so common in today’s world that a term for finding out about fake or mischievous accounts was invented. “Catfished: Having a fake Facebook profile, images and avatar in order to lure people to have romantic feelings. They are then catfished when the victim realizes the person they have fallen for via Facebook is not who they APPEAR to be.

These are the most extreme cases of being deceived on the Internet but in general a lot of people do minor tweaks to how they portray themselves in the social networks compared to their actual self. Today we have the power to highlight our virtues and positive qualities while we omit or hide some negative traits or details.

The digital self differs from the physical self in that online, a person can be whomever he or she chooses to be. The digital self offers a level of anonymity that cannot be replicated in real life. This can be good or bad. There are many activist groups, such as Anonymous, that rely on Internet anonymity in order to accomplish their goals. However, many instances of cyber bullying occur because the online anonymity gives bullies a mask to hide behind. In addition, anonymity allows many people to get away with illegal activities that they otherwise would not have been able to carry out had their identity been more visible.

One of the biggest issues in people developing an online persona is that oftentimes they are not who they say they are. Although this level of deception can be carried out in person, it is much easier to do this online, where all it takes is a fake name and picture to assume a new identity. Although some people use online anonymity for a positive cause, others can use it with deceptive or malicious intent.

“Fact Sheet 35: Social Networking Privacy: How to Be Safe, Secure and Social.” Social Networking Privacy: How to Be Safe, Secure and Social. Web. Feb. 2015.


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